The sales pace for previously owned single-family homes in California soared 83 percent year-over-year in February while the median price plunged 40.8 percent, the California Association of Realtors reported this week.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales dipped 0.8 percent and the median price fell 2.3 percent in February compared to the previous month. The sales rate is a projection of a monthly total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for typical seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

Regionally, the statewide Realtor group reported that sales climbed 203.1 percent year-over-year in February in the High Desert region — the highest among the 19 regions tracked. The Santa Barbara South Coast region was the only region with a sales-rate decline (-9.4 percent) during that period.

The median single-family resale home price dropped most in the Monterey region (-61.1 percent) and least in the Northern California region (-22.3 percent) year-over-year in February.

The statewide median single-family resale home price was $247,590 in February 2009, down from $418,260 in February 2008. And in February the state was on a pace for 620,410 annual single-family home sales.

The Realtor group’s Unsold Inventory Index for resale homes was 6.5 months in February, compared with 15.3 months in February 2008 — this index indicates the amount of time it would take to deplete the supply of for-sale homes at that month’s sales pace.

It took a median 51.5 days to sell a single-family resale home in February, compared with 69.3 days in the same month last year

A separate statewide report — that tracks median price changes for new and resale condos and single-family homes in more than 300 California cities, city areas and counties in California — found that the largest year-over-year decline in February was in Richmond (-77.5 percent), followed by Tarzana (-67.6 percent) and Desert Hot Springs (-66 percent). …CONTINUED

Other communities with major price declines included: San Pablo (-65.3 percent), San Juan Capistrano (-64.2 percent), Atwater (-64.1 percent), San Bernardino (-60.5 percent), Monterey County (-58.2 percent), Adelanto (-57.3 percent), and Vallejo (-57 percent).

Ladera Ranch, in Orange County, was the lone community reporting a median-price increase (up 17.4 percent) from February 2008 to February 2009.

And the communities with the slightest year-over-year declines included: Folsom (-0.1 percent), Fountain Valley (-0.5 percent), San Gabriel (-0.7 percent), Huntington Beach (-1.1 percent), Cypress (-1.7 percent), Agoura Hills (-3.5 percent), Redondo Beach (-4.5 percent), Valley Village (-6.2 percent), and Irvine (-6.3 percent).

North Highlands had the lowest median home price in February 2009 ($82,500), followed by California City and San Bernardino ($83,000), Desert Hot Springs ($84,000), Atwater ($85,000), Adelanto ($85,500), Banning and Richmond ($90,000), Yucca Valley ($105,000) and Merced County ($107,000).

The cities and city areas with the highest median price in February: Santa Barbara ($897,500), Beach Cities ($850,000), West Los Angeles ($646,500), San Francisco ($640,000), Arcadia ($635,000), Redondo Beach, San Mateo and San Clemente ($630,000), Ladera Ranch ($604,500), and Huntington Beach ($592,500).

The National Association of Realtors reported (see Inman News) that the sales pace of resale homes rose 5.1 percent from January to February and fell 4.6 percent compared to February 2008. Meanwhile, the U.S. median price dropped 15.5 percent from February 2008 to February 2009.

And the Census Bureau reported this week (see Inman News) that sales of new single-family homes jumped 4.7 percent from January to February but were down 41 percent from February 2008. The California Building Industry Association reported (see Inman News) that single-family permits in California dropped 50 percent from February 2008 to February 2009.


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