The rate of existing-home sales decreased 31.7 percent in September compared to September 2005, the California Association of Realtors trade group reported today, while the statewide median price for an existing single-family detached home increased 1.8 percent to $553,050.

The September 2006 median price declined 4 percent since August.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 444,780 in September at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected from about 90 local Realtor associations. The rate projects the monthly sales total for a 12-month period, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations that typically affect home sales.

C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in September 2006 was seven months, compared with 3.2 months (revised) for the same period a year ago, the association noted.

The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. A supply of six months is indicative of a market that is roughly balanced, while a supply greater than six months can be considered a buyer’s market.

Thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 6.4 percent during September 2006, compared with 5.77 percent in September 2005, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 5.56 percent in September 2006 compared with 4.51 percent in September 2005, the association reported.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 54 days in September 2006, compared with 30 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.

In a report covering localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and real estate data company DataQuick Information Systems, 59.6 percent — or 227 out of 381 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.

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during September 2006 were: Los Altos, $1.55 million; Manhattan Beach, $1.47 million; Newport Beach, $1.35 million; Burlingame, $1.33 million; Los Gatos, $1.21 million; Rancho Palos Verdes, $1.15 million; Danville, $1.01 million; Cupertino, $968,750; San Clemente, $940,000; and Santa Barbara, $917,500.

Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home-price increases in September 2006 compared with the same period a year ago were: Los Gatos, 38.6 percent; Delano, 31.7 percent; Paramount, 26.9 percent; Inglewood, 24.5 percent; Colton, 23.8 percent; Barstow, 22.4 percent; San Juan Capistrano, 21.8 percent; Irvine, 19.1 percent; Lake Forest, 15.4 percent; and Compton, 14.9 percent.

“We expected a fairly steep decline in sales last month compared with a year ago, when sales were near their all-time record,” said Vince Malta, C.A.R. president, in a statement. “Unsold inventory is holding steady, and is close to the long-term historic average typical of a more ‘normal’ market.”

“Overall, year-to-date sales were down 24 percent, in line with our 2006 projection. Regional trends in sales and prices were consistent with recent months,” stated Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R. vice president, in a statement. “Areas that experienced a lot of home building in recent years or second-home activity have experienced larger declines in sales and weaker prices than the state as a whole. These include Northern California, the Northern Wine Country, the Central Valley, San Diego County, and the Lower Desert in Southern California.”

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Hear from Realogy, Pacaso, SERHANT., Spotify, Redfin, Douglas Elliman, and 100+ more leaders at ICNY.Register now×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription