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State Sees Continued Drop in Number of Home Sales

The run-up in home prices and higher interest rates put downward pressure on housing affordability and led to the fourth straight month of sales declines.

The run-up in home prices coupled with higher interest rates put downward pressure on housing affordability and led to the fourth straight month of sales declines in November, the California Association of Realtors reported today.

"Improving home prices are a double-edged sword for the housing market. While welcomed news for homeowners and prospective sellers, diminished affordability is squeezing out many buyers and dampening their enthusiasm for home purchasing," said 2014 CAR President Kevin Brown. "Buyers are playing the waiting game and putting their home search on hold until prices stabilize and more inventory becomes available in the market."

Closed escrow sales of existing single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 387,520 units in November, according to information collected by CAR from more than 90 local Realtor associations and listing services statewide.

Sales in November were down 3.4 percent from a revised 401,000 in October and down 12 percent from a revised 440,250 in November 2012. The November 2013 figure was the lowest since July 2010. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2013 if sales maintained the November pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

The statewide median price of an existing single-family detached home slipped 1.2 percent from October's median price of $427,290 to $422,210 in November. November's price was 22.2 percent higher than the revised $345,560 recorded in November 2012, marking the 17th straight month of double-digit annual gains.

In Los Angeles County, "home sales for October 2013 were down 24 percent compared with the previous month, and down 28 percent compared with a year ago," according to RealtyTrac.com. "The median sales price of a non-distressed home was $520,000. The median sales price of a foreclosure home was $300,000, or 42 percent lower than non-distressed home sales."

The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values.

-- City News Service

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