The median price of single-family detached resale homes in California dropped 32 percent while home sales rose 2.5 percent year-over-year in April, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

The median price dropped from $594,110 in April 2007 to $403,870 in April 2008, the association reported, while sales rose from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 357,640 in April 2007 to 366,720 in April 2008. This sales rate is a projection of a monthly sales total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

In April 2007 homes for sale under $500,000 accounted for 40 percent of all sales and homes priced from $500,000 to $1 million accounted for 45 percent of all sales. That shifted in April 2008, with homes under $500,000 accounting for 64 percent of all sales and homes from $500,000 to $1 million accounting for 26 percent of all sales, the association reported.

The association’s Unsold Inventory Index, which gauges the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes for sale at the current sales rate, was 9.2 months in April, compared with 11.3 months in April 2007.

It took a median 52.1 days to sell a single-family home in April 2008, compared with 53.1 days in April 2007.

In separate data generated by the association and data company DataQuick Information Systems, based on county records for all types of home sales in the state, only seven of 334 cities and communities tracked reported a year-over-year increase in the median home price. And all 31 counties tracked in that report experienced price declines.

The median price of new and resale single-family homes and condos dropped 40.8 percent in Merced County — from $314,000 in April 2007 to $186,000 in April 2008, according to that report.

Prices dropped 38.2 percent in San Joaquin County, 38 percent in Santa Barbara County, 35.7 percent in Stanislaus County and 35.5 percent in Monterey County year-over-year in April.

San Francisco had the slightest countywide price drop, at 2.9 percent, followed by Nevada County at 9.5 percent. All other counties had double-digit-percentage declines in median price from April 2007 to April 2008, the report states.

Laguna Hills, in Orange County, topped the list of cities and city areas with the steepest year-over-year median-price drop in April, at 53.1 percent.

Los Banos was next with a 47.6 percent drop, followed by Pittsburg and Richmond, down 47.3 percent; North Highlands, down 44.5 percent; Stockton, down 43.5 percent; Merced, down 42.3 percent; Sacramento, down 41.1 percent; Merced County, down 40.8 percent; and Antioch, down 40.6 percent.

Westside, an area in Los Angeles, led the list of California cities and city areas with a 40.8 percent rise in median price, rising from $870,000 in April 2007 to $1.23 million in April 2008.

The median price was up 11.3 percent in Los Gatos, 8.3 percent in Trabuco Canyon, 6.6 percent in Yorba Linda, 3.6 percent in Carlsbad, 2.5 percent in Beach Cities and 2.1 percent in Cupertino.

The report notes that 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," and that the price data "may be exaggerated due to compositional changes in housing demand."

Saratoga had the highest median home price in the state in April, at $1.48 million. Next on the list was Manhattan Beach, at $1.37 million; Los Gatos, at $1.34 million; Santa Barbara, $1.07 million; Cupertino, $918,500; San Carlos, $885,500; Danville, $829,000; Redwood City, $817,500; San Clemente, $809,500; and Santa Monica, $780,000.

North Highlands had the lowest median home price in the state in April, at $122,000, followed by Twentynine Palms, at $140,000; California City, $154,000; Yucca Valley, $155,000; Barstow, $157,500; Ridgecrest, $165,000; Porterville, $172,000; Merced, $172,500; Tulare, $173,000; and Adelanto, at $175,000.

And regional information provided by multiple listing services on sales of single-family detached resale homes found that prices were down by 13 percent or more in every reported region of the state.

The median price dropped 47.4 percent in the Monterey County region; fell 36.2 percent in the Monterey region; dropped 36 percent in the Santa Barbara County region; dropped 34.8 percent in the Sacramento region; and dropped 33.6 percent in the High Desert region, according to the MLS data.

The median price drops were lowest in the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County regions, down 13 percent; down 13.1 percent in the Northern California region; down 17.9 percent in the San Francisco Bay region; and down 19.5 percent in the Palm Springs-Lower Desert region, the association reported.

Sales of resale single-family detached homes fell 26 percent in the Santa Clara region, 19.3 percent in the Santa Cruz County region, 15.4 percent in the Santa Barbara South Coast region, 12.1 percent in the San Francisco Bay region and were flat in the Santa Barbara County region from April 2007 to April 2008. Sales rose 68.5 percent in the Sacramento region, 65.3 percent in the Monterey County region, 33.7 percent in the High Desert region, 32.7 percent in the Riverside-San Bernardino region and 19.7 percent in the North Santa Barbara County region.


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