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Bargain hunting boosts June sales

August 03, 2008|Annette Haddad

The California Assn. of Realtors reports that sales of existing homes were up 17.5% statewide in June from a year earlier: 420,550 single-family homes were sold through June at a seasonally adjusted rate, versus 357,890 in June 2007.

A big reason for the increase: bargain hunting at the lower end of the price range.

"Sales were driven in part by large shares of deeply discounted distressed sales in many parts of the state," said William E. Brown, the association's president.

The counties showing the best sales strength were, not surprisingly, those hardest hit by foreclosures. Sales in Sacramento County nearly doubled, according to the association's seasonally unadjusted data; in Riverside County, sales jumped 75%.

This is more or less in keeping with data released the week before by research firm DataQuick Information Systems. For the month of June, DataQuick reported, sales were in positive territory in the Inland Empire.

Still, by any measure, prices continue to decline. According to the Realtors, the statewide median home price in June plunged 37.7% to $368,250 -- no doubt because resurgent buyers are driving hard bargains.

-- Annette Haddad

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