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State Realtors see '07 sales down 14%

June 08, 2007|From the Associated Press

Sales of single-family homes in California will decline 14% this year, while the median home price will rise slightly, a trade group said Thursday.

Statewide sales of existing homes will total 410,000 for the year, compared to 477,460 in 2006, according to the California Assn. of Realtors' midyear forecast.

The trade group expects the median price of an existing home to increase 1.8% to $566,500. Existing homes account for about 85% of sales.

Last year, the statewide median home price was $556,640, according to the group.

The pace of sales in California has been slowing for more than a year amid a national housing slump that followed the real estate market boom in the first half of the decade.

Although sales have slowed statewide, they have been weakest in areas that saw heavy building of houses and condos, including Sacramento, the Central Valley and the Inland Empire.

Prices have also slipped the most in those areas, said Leslie Appleton-Young, the association's vice president and chief economist.

"This pattern is likely to continue throughout the rest of the year, particularly in areas that were popular among first-time home buyers, which experienced the greatest run-up in prices," Appleton-Young said at the trade group's annual convention, held this year in Sacramento.

The Central Valley has seen the biggest decline in sales and median price among regions in California, the group said.

In contrast, sales and prices have been more stable in higher-end coastal areas in Southern California and around San Francisco Bay, the association said.

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