California home sales down, prices up 

California home sales decreased 12.6 percent in January vs. January 2006, while the median price of an existing home increased 1.9 percent, the California Association of Realtors trade group said in its report.

"After holding steady in the range of 450,000 units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis since July of last year, home sales activity was slightly lower in January," association President Colleen Badagliacco said. "On a regional basis, sales fell an average of 13 percent, while median prices declined in all areas except Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Riverside/San Bernardino."

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California in January 2007 was $559,640, a 1.9 percent increase from the revised $549,460 median for January 2006. The statewide January 2007 median price decreased 1.7 percent compared with December’s revised $569,560 median price.

"The unsold inventory of existing homes jumped to 9.1 months in January, after hovering around the long-run average of seven months since mid-2006," state Realtors’ VP and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said. "There was a slight increase in statewide listings last month, which is characteristic of the start of the year. However, listings remained near the long-run average. As such, the increase in the unsold inventory index — the ratio of listings to sales — was driven primarily by the sales decline."

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 437,580 in January at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 12.6 percent.

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