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California Home Prices Hit Record Levels

May 11, 2000

Tight inventories and a steady supply of buyers in the state sent median home prices to their highest level on record during the first quarter of this year, according to the California Assn. of Realtors and Transamerica Intellitech. In the first quarter, the median price of an existing single-family home rose to $232,620, a 14.5% gain over the $203,180 for the same period a year ago, the survey showed. The gain was the largest year-over-year increase since the second quarter of 1989, when median home prices jumped 21.6%. "In terms of new construction, we're at half the levels that we were in the mid-1980s," said Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist of the Realtors group. "There's not enough supply coming on line to keep price appreciation at more manageable levels." About 86% of California communities reported an increase in median home prices in the first quarter over a year ago. Many regions, including San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Santa Barbara, posted double-digit increases. Home sales in the quarter also hit record highs. Sales of existing single-family homes in the first quarter were 533,150, up 1.6% from 524,940 in the same period last year and the third-highest quarter on record.

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