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California Continues to Gain Steam

By Megan Hopkins

The California housing market continued to gain steam in April, with both home sales and prices experiencing strong increases due to high demand and tight inventory.

According to the latest data from the California Association of Realtors, the median price surpassed the $400,000-mark for the first time in five years.

CAR President Don Faught said California’s housing market maintained its momentum in April, getting the spring home-buying season off to a good start.

"Southern California regions such as Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego led the way in both month-to-month and year-over-year sales increases, while sales in the Bay Area region as a whole posted a healthy monthly gain but dipped slightly from last year," said Faught.

California sales rose 1.3% from a revised 417,880 in March to 423,150 in April, according to CAR. Statewide, the median price of an existing home rose 6.3% from March’s revised median price of $378,960 to $402,760 in April.

Year-over-year, the median sales price jumped 28.9% from a revised $312,500, marking 14 consecutive months of annual price gains and the 10th straight month of double-digit annual gains.

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, writes CAR.

"The upsurge in the median price continues to be driven by an increase in sales in the upper-price range, where low inventory is less of an issue," said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.

She added, "Over the past year, home sales in the $500,000-and-higher market segment posted a year-over-year gain of 35% on average, which contributed to an increase in the statewide median price of nearly 30% from the previous year."

The available supply of homes for sale remained nearly unchanged from March, but dropped significantly from one-year prior. In April, the existing, single-family detached home supply was 2.8 months compared to 4.2 months in April 2012.

Additionally, increased competition within the market has pushed down the time on market year-over-year from 48 days to 27.9 days in April.

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