The median price of an existing home in California in November increased 23.1 percent from a year ago and sales increased 4 percent during the same period to a record high, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

“Sales hit an all-time high in November as consumers snapped up single-family homes at a record pace,” said C.A.R. President Jim Hamilton. “The median price of a home in California continued its upward march, increasing by double-digits for the 36th month in a row to $473,260.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 652,340 in November at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local Realtor associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 4 percent from the 627,190 sales pace recorded in November 2003.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2004 would be if sales maintained the November pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California during November 2004 was $473,260, a 23.1 percent increase over the revised $384,470 median for November 2003, C.A.R. reported. The November 2004 median price increased 2.9 percent compared with a revised $459,800 median price in October.

“While the inventory of homes for sale has increased to more than a three-months’ supply, consumer demand and the low mortgage interest rate environment are still driving the market,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.’s vice president and chief economist. “Time on the market has trended up to 40 days, an indication that buyers are taking more time prior to making the purchase decision compared with the frenzied pace we witnessed most of this year.”

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 40 days in November 2004, compared with 27 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during November 2004 were: Los Altos, $1,400,000; Malibu, $1,387,500; Saratoga, $1,300,000; Burlingame, $1,300,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,267,000; Calabasas, $1,175,000; Newport Beach, $1,050,000; Palos Verdes Estates, $980,000; Hermosa Beach, $972,000; and La Jolla, $947,500.

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in November 2004 compared with the same period a year ago were: Adelanto, 84.5 percent; Calabasas, 59.5 percent; Santa Barbara, 58.7 percent; San Bernardino, 55.6 percent; Cathedral City, 54.3 percent; Inglewood, 53 percent; Pomona, 51.3 percent; West Sacramento, 49.8 percent; Barstow, 49.7 percent; and Beaumont, 49.6 percent.

Los Angeles-based C.A.R. is a state trade organization with more than 155,000 members.

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