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CALIFORNIA

Home Sales, Prices Still Rising

May 13, 1999|JULIE TAMAKI

California's housing market extended its powerful recovery during the first quarter, with healthy increases in sales volume and prices of existing homes and condos, a real estate trade group said Wednesday.

"The California economy has come roaring into 1999," said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist with the California Assn. of Realtors. "It's mirroring rising consumer confidence, strong job growth and robust housing demand which continues to exceed expectations."

Sales of existing single-family homes in California rose to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 652,430--an 8.7% increase from 600,320 sales pace in the first quarter of 1998, the realty group said.

The state's median resale price for a single-family home climbed to $206,220 during the first quarter, up 8.8% from $189,540 a year ago.

Broken down by region, the median rose 8.9% to $192,160 in Los Angeles; 12.2% to $272,830 in Orange County, 2.2% to $120,910 in Riverside/San Bernardino; 12.6% to $216,610 in San Diego and 9.3% to $245,930 in Ventura.

Sales of existing condos in the state jumped 19.8% and the median price rose 8.4%.

Nationwide, existing home prices rose 4.6% in the first quarter to $131,600, according to the National Assn. of Realtors.

The West reported the strongest regional gains with a median resale price of $174,600, up 6.8% from the first quarter of 1998.

San Francisco recorded the second highest price increase in the nation, with a 13.2% jump, which brought its median resale price to $331,100.

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