Home sales decreased 29.9 percent in July in California compared to the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home increased 5.1 percent, according to a report released today.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 453,980 in July at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, the California Association of Realtors reported. That was down from the 647,910 sales pace recorded in July 2005.

The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2006 would be if sales maintained the July 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 July 2006 was $567,360, a 5.1 percent increase over the revised $539,840 median for July 2005, C.A.R. reported. The July 2006 median price decreased 1.5 percent compared with June’s $575,800 median price.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 49 days in July 2006, compared with 29 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.

“Today’s market is slowing as sellers maintain often unrealistic pricing expectations and buyers have more properties to choose from,” said C.A.R. President Vince Malta. “In addition, unlike the slowdown we experienced in the 1990s, homeowners today are not under duress to sell due to job losses. The urgency that characterized the market for the last few years is now gone for all but well-priced properties.”

With a 7.5-month supply of homes for sale in July, the state is “far below the peak of February 1991, when there was an 18-month supply on the market,” Malta said.

Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.’s chief economist, said that many California markets are mirroring other major markets across the nation with a return to more sustainable and balanced conditions.

“We’ve known that double-digit appreciation would eventually change when the underlying fundamentals change, which has been the case with expanded supply and rising interest rates. Affordability concerns prompted by higher prices and interest-rate increases also are constraining sales. The monthly home payment has increased by 20 percent for many households in the state compared with last year,” Appleton-Young said.

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