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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Market Update

For release:Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Median price of a home in California at $561,350 in March, up 13 percent from year ago; sales decrease 15.1 percent

LOS ANGELES (April 25) – The median price of an existing home in California increased 13 percent in March and sales decreased 15.1 percent compared with the same period a year ago, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.
“March is the month in which we typically see the market gear up for peak season activity, and this year is no exception,” said C.A.R. President Vince Malta. “Seasonally adjusted statewide sales increased 4.9 percent compared with February and the statewide median rose 4.8 percent compared with the prior month. This is very similar to March 2005, when sales rose 4.4 percent month-to-month and the median price registered a 5.5 percent increase.
“The level of sales activity remained below the record-setting levels that occurred over the last two years, but the pace of sales appears to be picking up,” he said. ”Many buyers who had adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ approach with respect to interest rates earlier this year realize that while rates are higher than they were six months or a year ago, they still remain just above historically low levels.”
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 539,170 in March at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Statewide home resale activity decreased 15.1 percent from the 634,700 sales pace recorded in March 2005.
The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2006 would be if sales maintained the March 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 March 2006 was $561,350, a 13 percent increase over the revised $496,890 median for March 2005, C.A.R. reported. The March 2006 median price increased 4.8 percent compared with February’s revised $535,480 median price.
“The inventory of homes for sale fell from a 6.6 month supply in February to 4.8 months in March,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Unsold inventory climbed significantly in the first two months of this year as listings increased and sales declined. Although the supply of homes for sale increased again in March, this was more than offset by a seasonal increase in sales, prompting a decrease in the unsold inventory index. We expect the supply of homes relative to sales to decline gradually over the next few months, although inventory levels will likely remain higher than those of the last two years.”
Highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing figures for March 2006:
. C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in March 2006 was 4.8 months, compared with 2.2 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 6.32 percent during March 2006, compared with 5.93 percent in March 2005, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 5.42 percent in March 2006 compared with 4.23 percent in March 2005.
. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 44 days in March 2006, compared with 30 days (revised) for the same period a year ago.
Regional MLS sales and price information is contained in the tables that accompany this press release. Regional sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors that can influence home sales. The MLS median price and sales data for detached homes are generated from a survey of more than 90 associations of REALTORS throughout the state. MLS median price and sales data for condominiums are based on a survey of more than 60 associations. The median price for both detached homes and condominiums represents closed escrow sales.
In a separate report covering more localized statistics generated by C.A.R. and DataQuick Information Systems, 89.8% percent or 369 of 411 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. (The top 10 lists are generated for incorporated cities with a minimum of 30 recorded sales in the month.)
Note: 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 DataQuick tables listing median home prices in California cities and counties are accessible through C.A.R. Online at http://www.car.org/index.php?id=MzYwNTQ=.
. Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home prices in California during March 2006 were: Laguna Beach, $1,827,000; Burlingame, $1,720,000; Beverly Hills, $1,665,000; Los Altos, $1,626,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,625,000; Newport Beach, $1,520,000; Coronado, $1,463,750; Saratoga, $1,391,000; Los Gatos, $1,300,000; Calabasas, $1,259,500.
. Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home price increases in March 2006 compared with the same period a year ago were: Reedley, 58.9 percent; Atwater, 52 percent; Twentynine Palms, 48.8 percent; Barstow, 45.7 percent; Beaumont, 45.6 percent; Taft, 44 percent; California City, 43.1 percent; Burlingame, 40.4 percent; Porterville, 40.3 percent; Highland, 36.8 percent.
Leading the Way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the California Association of REALTORS® (http://www.car.org/) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.Leading the Way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the California Association of REALTORS® (http://www.car.org/) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
March 2006 Regional Sales and Price Activity*Regional and Condo Sales Data Not Seasonally Adjusted

Median Price
Percent Change in Price from Prior Month
Percent Change in Price from Prior Year
Percent Change in Sales from Prior Month
Percent Change in Sales from Prior Year

Mar-06
Feb-06
Mar-05
Feb-06
Mar-05
Statewide





Calif. (sf)
$561,350
4.8%
13.0%
4.9%
-15.1%
Calif. (condo)
$431,560
-0.4%
8.7%
48.8%
-23.0%






Region





Central Valley
$350,930
0.0%
8.1%
51.8%
-24.0%
High Desert
$326,710
-0.6%
23.6%
44.8%
-4.4%
Los Angeles
$556,750
-1.6%
19.5%
49.0%
-16.4%
Monterey Region
$710,860
1.5%
6.2%
48.4%
-21.8%
Monterey County
$685,000
-2.1%
11.9%
45.2%
-25.4%
Santa Cruz County
$740,000
3.9%
2.1%
53.3%
-15.9%
Northern California
$434,410
2.6%
8.2%
62.0%
-19.8%
Northern Wine Country
$623,380
5.7%
4.4%
58.8%
-11.9%
Orange County
$717,320
-0.5%
7.5%
63.7%
-27.5%
Palm Sprgs/Lwr Desert
$391,020
7.4%
na
56.0%
na
Riverside/S. Bernardino
$403,000
2.7%
16.1%
50.0%
-16.3%
Sacramento
$376,010
-0.9%
5.2%
52.2%
-27.2%
San Diego
$607,370
-0.2%
3.2%
54.8%
-10.4%
San Francisco Bay
$729,360
1.4%
3.6%
64.9%
-11.4%
San Luis Obispo
$586,270
-3.0%
18.8%
35.1%
-18.8%
Santa Barbara County
$750,000
-4.8%
22.4%
62.5%
-2.7%
S. Barbara S. Coast
$1,190,000
2.6%
3.5%
61.4%
19.5%
No. S. Barbara County
$461,700
-3.8%
1.6%
60.7%
-18.2%
Santa Clara
$760,000
-0.7%
3.7%
62.9%
-13.7%
Ventura
$678,850
-0.8%
7.9%
60.8%
-18.1%na – not available
*Based on closed escrow sales of single family, detached homes only (no condos). Reported month to month changes in sales activity may overstate actual changes because of the small size of individual regional samples. Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as measuring changes in the cost of a standard home. Prices are influenced by changes in cost and changes in the characteristics and size of homes actually sold.
sf = single family, detached home
Source: California Association of REALTORS®
Median Prices By Region - Current Month vs. Year Ago

Mar-06
Feb-06

Mar-05

Statewide





Calif. (sf)
$561,350
$535,480
r
$496,890
r
Calif. (condo)
$431,560
$433,140

$397,040
r






Region





Central Valley
$350,930
$350,830

$324,640

High Desert
$326,710
$328,690

$264,320

Los Angeles
$556,750
$565,600

$465,780
r
Monterey Region
$710,860
$700,560

$669,350

Monterey County
$685,000
$700,000

$612,000

Santa Cruz County
$740,000
$712,000

$725,000

Northern California
$434,410
$423,360

$401,480

Northern Wine Country
$623,380
$589,550

$596,970

Orange County
$717,320
$721,190

$667,200

Palm Sprgs/Lwr Desert
$391,020
$363,960

na

Riverside/S. Bernardino
$403,000
$392,520

$347,200

Sacramento
$376,010
$379,240

$357,360

San Diego
$607,370
$608,770

$588,800

San Francisco Bay
$729,360
$719,220

$704,260

San Luis Obispo
$586,270
$604,170

$493,400

Santa Barbara County
$750,000
$787,500

$612,500
r
S. Barbara S. Coast
$1,190,000
$1,160,000

$1,150,000
r
No. S. Barbara County
$461,700
$480,000

$454,540

Santa Clara
$760,000
$765,000

$733,000

Ventura
$678,850
$684,070

$629,130


Mar-06
Feb-06

Mar-05

Statewide





Calif. (sf)
$561,350
$535,480
r
$496,890
r
Calif. (condo)
$431,560
$433,140

$397,040
r






Region





Central Valley
$350,930
$350,830

$324,640

High Desert
$326,710
$328,690

$264,320

Los Angeles
$556,750
$565,600

$465,780
r
Monterey Region
$710,860
$700,560

$669,350

Monterey County
$685,000
$700,000

$612,000

Santa Cruz County
$740,000
$712,000

$725,000

Northern California
$434,410
$423,360

$401,480

Northern Wine Country
$623,380
$589,550

$596,970

Orange County
$717,320
$721,190

$667,200

Palm Sprgs/Lwr Desert
$391,020
$363,960

na

Riverside/S. Bernardino
$403,000
$392,520

$347,200

Sacramento
$376,010
$379,240

$357,360

San Diego
$607,370
$608,770

$588,800

San Francisco Bay
$729,360
$719,220

$704,260

San Luis Obispo
$586,270
$604,170

$493,400

Santa Barbara County
$750,000
$787,500

$612,500
r
S. Barbara S. Coast
$1,190,000
$1,160,000

$1,150,000
r
No. S. Barbara County
$461,700
$480,000

$454,540

Santa Clara
$760,000
$765,000

$733,000

Ventura
$678,850
$684,070

$629,130
na - not availabler - revisedSource: California Association of REALTORS

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