California House Prices Now Back to 2008 Levels

The latest data from the California Association of Realtors shows average prices in the state at the highest level since May 2008, driven by continually high sales levels combined with shrinking availability after years of weak construction...

The latest data from the California Association of Realtors shows average prices in the state at the highest level since May 2008, driven by continually high sales levels combined with shrinking availability after years of weak construction.

The data shows a 13.7 percent increase in the median price of single-family homes, taking the new median to $378,960 in March, up from $333,380 in February. This represents a the highest growth recorded by C.A.R and is a turnaround from the past two months when the median price fell.

The March median also grew strongly on the year, with a 28.2 percent increase on the $295,630 median price recorded in March 2012. This is now the 13th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Higher sales in the coastal areas of Marin, Orange, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo helped push up the median price, C.A.R. vice president and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young said in a release.

"Sales of homes priced $500,000 and higher are up more than 34 percent from last year, and have been on a rising trend since early 2012," Mr. Appleton-Young added.

It is now several months since massive and rising sales turned to falling in California, caused not by a lack of demand but by the fact that buyers had soaked up most of the available inventory left after years of next-to-zero construction - a problem that is hitting most regions in the US.

Statewide inventory dropped 36 percent from last March and was below three months for the second time in the past few months, CAR reports. "Supply conditions are particularly tight in the lower-priced segment of the market, as inventory for homes priced below $300,000 plunged more than 50 percent from the previous year," C.A.R. president Don Faught said in a release.

Homes continued to sell faster in March. A house typically stayed on the market 29.4 days in March before selling, down from 34.2 days in February and below the revised 52.2 days for the same period a year ago.

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- Thursday 18 April 2013

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