Median Price of a Home in California Increases 22 Percent in March, Sales Up 4 Percent, C.A.R. Reports

Apr 27, 2004, 01:00 ET from California Association of REALTORS

    LOS ANGELES, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The median price of an existing home
 in California in March increased 22 percent and sales increased 4 percent
 compared to the same period a year ago, the California Association of
 REALTORS(R) (C.A.R.) reported today.
     "The median price of a home continued its run of double-digit price
 increases last month as buyers scrambled to purchase homes amid concerns of
 rising mortgage interest rates," said C.A.R. President Ann Pettijohn.  "This
 unprecedented demand helped push the median price of a home in many regions in
 the state to record highs in March.  And at $428,280, the median price for the
 state also hit a record high in March compared to $351,130 just one year ago."
     The median price of a home in the Central Valley, High Desert, Monterey,
 Monterey County, Northern California, Northern Wine, Orange County,
 Riverside/San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz,
 North Santa Barbara County and Santa Barbara South Coast regions posted record
 highs in March, according to C.A.R.
     Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in
 California totaled 590,220 in March at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate,
 according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local
 REALTOR(R) associations statewide.  Statewide home resale activity increased
 4 percent from the 567,610 sales pace recorded in March 2003.
     The statewide sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold
 during 2004 would be if sales maintained the March pace throughout the year.
 It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home
     The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California
 during March 2004 was $428,280, a 22 percent increase over the revised
 $351,130 median for March 2003, C.A.R. reported.  The March 2004 median price
 increased 8.4 percent compared to a revised $395,060 median price in February.
     "Year-to-date sales are up 4.4 percent compared to the same period last
 year," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.'s vice president and chief
 economist.  "Along with the median price of a home, the inventory of homes for
 sale reached an all-time historic low of 1.6 months in March, while time on
 the market stood at a record low of 26 days."
     Highlights of C.A.R.'s resale housing figures for March 2004:
      *  C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached
         homes in March 2004 was 1.6 months, compared to 2.7 months 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 5.45 percent during
         March 2004, down from 5.75 percent in March 2003, according to Freddie
         Mac.  Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 3.41 percent in
         March 2003 compared to 3.76 percent in March 2003.
      *  The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was
         26 days in March 2004, compared to 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 is not adjusted to account
 for seasonal factors that can influence home sales.  The MLS median price and
 sales data for detached homes is generated from a survey of more than
 90 associations of REALTORS(R) throughout the state.  MLS median price and
 sales data for condominiums is 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, 97.4 percent or 376 of 386 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.
     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.  Tables listing
 median home prices in California cities and counties are accessible through
 C.A.R. Online at  (The top 10 lists
 are generated for incorporated cities with a minimum of 30 recorded sales in
 the month.)
      *  Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the highest median home
         prices in California during March 2004 were: Beverly Hills,
         $1,500,000; Manhattan Beach, $1,404,250; Los Altos, $1,300,000;
         Calabasas, $1,120,000; Palos Verdes Estates, $1,100,000; Laguna Beach,
         $1,087,500; Saratoga, $1,038,000; Malibu, $1,005,250; Los Gatos,
         $1,003,000; Newport Beach, $975,000.
      *  Statewide, the 10 cities and communities with the greatest median home
         price increases in March 2004 compared to the same period a year ago
         were: Beverly Hills, 74.9 percent; Culver City, 62.8 percent;
         Calabasas, 60.2 percent; Los Gatos, 56.2 percent; Perris, 55.3
         percent; Beaumont, 52.5 percent; Palm Springs, 51.0 percent;
         Claremont, 50.1 percent; Manhattan Beach, 49.8 percent; Lake Forest,
         49.6 percent.
     The California Association of REALTORS(R) ( is one of
 the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than
 135,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real
 estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
                 March 2004 REGIONAL SALES AND PRICE ACTIVITY*
             Regional and Condo Sales Data Not Seasonally Adjusted
                               Median   Percent   Percent   Percent   Percent
                               Price    Change    Change    Change    Change
                                        in Price  in Price  in Sales in Sales
                                          from      from      from      from
                                         Prior     Prior     Prior     Prior
                                         Month     Year     Month     Year
                               Mar-04    Feb-04    Mar-03    Feb-04   Mar-03
      Calif. (sf)             $428,280    8.4%     22.0%      0.2%     4.0%
      Calif. (condo)          $333,620    3.1%     25.8%     41.3%    20.1%
      C.A.R. REGION
      Central Valley          $253,470    3.0%     20.6%     40.5%    27.9%
      High Desert             $192,270    5.0%     34.7%     39.3%    28.6%
      Los Angeles             $385,090   -1.3%     25.4%     43.1%     0.3%
      Monterey Region         $575,550   11.6%     25.9%     45.4%    22.5%
      Monterey County         $509,000    8.0%     25.7%     27.7%     9.3%
      Santa Cruz County       $606,250    8.3%     16.0%     74.0%    40.7%
      Northern California     $325,560    7.1%     23.6%     82.7%    33.2%
      Northern Wine Country   $472,530    4.9%     20.0%     63.7%    17.7%
      Orange County           $605,560    6.3%     34.8%     45.6%    -0.5%
      Palm Springs/
       Lower Desert                 na      na        na        na       na
       San Bernardino         $274,660    7.9%     38.9%     12.9%    14.6%
      Sacramento              $287,180    3.6%     23.0%     44.6%    18.2%
      San Diego               $494,020    3.0%     25.2%     38.1%    17.3%
      San Francisco Bay             na      na        na        na       na
      San Luis Obispo         $387,120  -12.8%      8.3%     85.3%    19.4%
      Santa Barbara County    $475,000   14.3%      8.0%     47.4%    37.7%
      Santa Barbara South
       Coast                  $999,000    5.7%     17.5%     33.7%    32.1%
      North Santa Barbara
       County                 $352,270    1.4%     23.7%     34.3%    43.9%
      Santa Clara             $625,000   10.4%     14.7%     62.5%    49.1%
      Ventura                       na      na        na        na       na
      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
             Median Prices By Region -- Current Month vs. Year Ago
                                     Mar-04         Feb-04         Mar-03
      Calif. (sf)                   $428,280        $395,060r     $351,130r
      Calif. (condo)                $333,620        $323,530r     $265,220r
      C.A.R. REGION
      Central Valley                $253,470        $245,990r     $210,250r
      High Desert                   $192,270        $183,200      $142,710
      Los Angeles                   $385,090        $390,100r     $307,210r
      Monterey Region               $575,550        $515,780      $457,140
      Monterey County               $509,000        $471,500      $405,000
      Santa Cruz County             $606,250        $560,000      $522,500
      Northern California           $325,560        $303,900r     $263,500
      Northern Wine Country         $472,530        $450,360      $393,690
      Orange County                 $605,560        $569,760      $449,100
      Palm Springs/Lower Desert           na              na      $271,350
      Riverside/San Bernardino      $274,660        $254,570r     $197,690
      Sacramento                    $287,180        $277,300r     $233,450r
      San Diego                     $494,020        $479,540      $394,490
      San Francisco Bay                   na              na      $536,260
      San Luis Obispo               $387,120        $444,190      $357,380
      Santa Barbara County          $475,000        $415,620r     $440,000r
      Santa Barbara South Coast     $999,000        $945,000      $850,000r
      North Santa Barbara County    $352,270        $347,320r     $284,690
      Santa Clara                   $625,000        $566,200      $545,000
      Ventura                             na        $528,650      $412,000r
      na -- not available
      r -- revised

SOURCE California Association of REALTORS