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California home sales drop, but prices climb in March

April 16, 2012|By Hugo Martin

While the pace of California home sales declined in March, the median home price in the state increased for the first time in 16 months.

Sales of existing, single-family detached homes, seasonally adjusted, was 505,360 in March, a 4.5% drop from February and a 2.3% drop from the same month in 2011, according to a survey by the California Assn. of Realtors.

Meanwhile, the statewide median price for an existing, single-family detached home reached $291,080 in March, a 9.2% increase from the February median price of $266,660, according to the association. The March median price was also 1.6% above the price for March 2011.

Real estate officials say the median price increased statewide thanks to a significant jump in most regions, including the San Francisco Bay Area, where prices surged 9.1% in March, over the previous month. The prices rose even higher in the San Mateo and Contra-Costa regions, the report said.

In the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, the median price increased 4.5% in March, compared with February, and 1.3% over March 2011.

"Tight inventory and robust home sales, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, fueled the substantial increase in the March median home price," said association president LeFrancis Arnold.

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