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California home sales and prices fell in April

A weak home shopping season leaves sales in California down 6.1% and the median price down 2.4% from April 2010.

May 17, 2011|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times

California housing sales and prices dipped in April as a weak spring home shopping season took hold in Southern California and the Bay Area.

Typically, sales rise during the spring as many families try to move during the summer school recess. But this year, continued high unemployment and the absence of last year's federal tax credit for buyers are dampening demand.

Sales fell statewide to 35,202 in April, a 3.3% decrease from March and 6.1% drop from April 2010, according to real estate research firm DataQuick of San Diego.

"What's clear now is that 2011 is off to a slow start," DataQuick President John Walsh said in a news release. "But it's a little soon to write off the rest of the year."

The median home price statewide was $249,000 last month, the same as March and down 2.4% from a year earlier. The median is the point at which half of the homes sold for more and half for less.

So-called distressed property — foreclosures and short sales — made up more than half the sales of previously owned homes last month.

Foreclosures amounted to 36.6% of the resale market, down from 39.1% in March and 38.1% in April 2010. Short sales, in which a lender allows a home to be sold for less than the outstanding debt on the property, consisted of 17.6% of the market, up from 17.2% in March but down from 17.7% in a year earlier.

Home sales in Southern California fell 5.5% to 18,344 units in April from a month earlier and 9.2% from April 2010. The median price paid for a home in the region fell 0.2% from March and 1.8% from a year earlier to $280,000.

In the Bay Area, sales fell 3.7% from March and 3.1% from April 2010 to 6,789 homes. The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos in the Bay Area last month was $360,000, the same as in March and a 2.7% drop from a year earlier.

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