October 22, 2010 11:11 ET

California Home Sales Post Second Consecutive Monthly Gain in September; Median Price Down From August, C.A.R. Reports

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 22, 2010) -  California home sales posted their second consecutive monthly gain in September, but were down from the same period a year ago, according to data from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

"We've seen a gradual improvement in the market over the past few months as we moved away from the influence of the tax credits, which pulled sales forward to the first part of the year," said C.A.R. President Steve Goddard. "Additionally, the current mortgage moratoria, which weren't announced until the end of September, wouldn't have affected September sales."

Statewide home resale activity rose 3.8 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 466,580, up from August's revised pace of 449,290, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. The September pace was down 12.2 percent from the revised 531,180 sales pace recorded in September 2009.

The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2010 if sales maintained the September 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 sold in California during September was $309,900, down 2.7 percent from August's $318,660 median price. However, September's median price was up 4.5 percent from the $296,610 median price recorded for the same period a year ago, marking 11 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains.

"The inventory of homes priced under $500,000 continues to be lean, which is driving moderate or significant price appreciation in this price category," said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Conversely, the inventory of homes priced $1 million and higher is more than double the inventory of the under-$500,000 range, which is contributing to weaker prices at the high end," she said.

Here are other highlights of C.A.R.'s resale housing report for September 2010:

  • Contrary to the national picture, the housing supply in California has been below normal throughout 2010. C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes remained relatively unchanged in September at 6.2 months but was up from the 4.5 months recorded in September 2009. The index was 6.1 months in August. 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 4.35 percent during September 2010, compared with 5.06 percent in September 2009, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.46 percent in September 2010, compared with 4.59 percent in September 2009.

  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 52.5 days in September 2010 compared with 33.5 days for the same period a year ago.

Regional MLS sales and price information are 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, 175 of the 341 cities and communities reporting 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 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 for September 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

  • Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during September 2010 were: Los Altos, $1,567,500; Saratoga, $1,550,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,200,000; Laguna Beach, $1,112,500; Los Gatos, $1,059,000; Newport Beach, $965,000; Cupertino, $925,000; Rancho Palos Verdes, $886,000; Danville, $835,000; and Santa Barbara, $834,750.

  • Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in September 2010 compared with the same period a year ago were: San Bernardino, 37 percent; Ridgecrest, 35 percent; Fairfield, 30 percent; Salinas, 30 percent; Lodi, 29 percent; Sonoma, 27 percent; Pomona, 27 percent; Escondido, 26 percent; Placentia, 24 percent; and Compton, 21 percent.


To view sales and price tables, please visit

Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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