The median price of an existing home in California in June increased 16 percent and sales increased 3.6 percent compared to the same period a year ago, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

“Fixed mortgage interest rates have fallen compared with a year ago, and remain below 6 percent,” said Jim Hamilton, association president. “This continues to propel both sales and the median price of a home as consumers gauge current market conditions against future interest rate increases.”

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 656,310 in June at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected from more than 90 local Realtor associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity increased 3.6 percent from the 633,660 sales pace recorded in June 2004, the association reported.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2005 would be if sales maintained the June 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 June 2005 was $542,720, a 16 percent increase over the revised $468,050 median for June 2004, the association reported. The June 2005 median price increased 3.8 percent compared with May’s revised $522,900 median price.

“Inventory levels in recent months were nearly double that of a year ago,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, association vice president and chief economist. “This has contributed to the increased pace of home sales in the presence of continued strong demand for housing in California.”

Highlights of the association’s resale housing figures for June 2005:

  • The association’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in June 2005 was 2.7 months, compared with 1.7 months (revised) for the same period a year ago. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

  • Thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 5.58 percent during June 2005, compared with 6.29 percent in June 2004, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 4.24 percent in June 2005 compared with 4.1 percent in June 2004.

  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 27 days in June 2005, compared with 23 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.

In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by association and DataQuick Information Systems, 97.5 percent – or 396 of 406 cities and communities – showed an increase in their respective median home prices from a year ago. DataQuick statistics are based on county records data rather than MLS information. DataQuick Information Systems is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates.

Large changes in local median home prices typically indicate both local home price appreciation, and often, large shifts in the composition of housing market activity. Some of the variations in median home prices may be exaggerated due to compositional changes in housing demand, the association noted. The DataQuick tables listing median home prices in California cities and counties are accessible at http://www.car.org/index.php?id=MzUyMjM.

  • Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during June 2005 were: Manhattan Beach, $1,570,000; Malibu, $1,550,000; Laguna Beach, $1,537,500; Los Altos, $1,424,000; La Canada Flintridge, $1,395,000; Palos Verdes Estates, $1,360,000; Saratoga, $1,350,000; Newport Beach, $1,300,000; Coronado, $1,275,000; and Hermosa Beach, $1,249,500.

  • Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in June 2005 compared with the same period a year ago were: Twentynine Palms, 81.2 percent; Sanger, 72.5 percent; Reedley, 66.1 percent; La Canada Flintridge, 61.3 percent; Desert Hot Springs, 57.6 percent; Barstow, 53.8 percent; Selma, 53.3 percent; Visalia, 49.4 percent; Norco, 48.5 percent; and Benicia, 48.3 percent.

  • Regionally, the Santa Cruz County area had the greatest increase in median home price, up 32.3 percent from June 2004 to June 2005. The High Desert had the second highest gain in median home prices from June 2004 to June 2005 (29 percent), followed by the Northern Wine Country (28 percent), San Luis Obispo area (27.8 percent), and Northern California (27.3 percent).

  • The appreciation of median home prices was slowest in the following regions: San Diego (5.8 percent), Orange County area (6.8 percent), Ventura area (9.7 percent), San Francisco Bay Area (12 percent) and Palm Springs-Lower Desert region (13.5 percent).

  • Home sales from June 2004 to 2005 jumped highest in the following regions: San Luis Obispo (23.5 percent), Santa Barbara County (22.7 percent), High Desert (20.9 percent), North Santa Barbara County (20.7 percent), and Los Angeles (12.9 percent).

  • Meanwhile, home sales dropped the most from June 2004 to June 2005 in the following regions: Santa Cruz County area (19.8 percent), Santa Clara area (14 percent), San Francisco Bay Area (11.1 percent), Northern California (10.1 percent) and Monterey area (9 percent).

The California Association of Realtors, one of the largest state trade organizations in the nation, has about 165,000 members.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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