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Price of Average Home Barely Rises in March

Times Staff Writer

Orange County home prices rose less than 1% in March to an average of $225,335, according to TRW Real Estate Market Information.

The figure includes new and used houses and condominiums. Last month the average price was $224,057. A year ago the average was $178,451, 26% lower than now.

According to TRW, home prices actually fell between February and March of 1988, a year that set a record for home sales and pushed local housing prices to among the highest in the nation.

But housing experts say it is unlikely that last year’s buying frenzy can be repeated this year, although sales should remain strong. For instance, the number of houses and condos sold in March dropped well below the number sold a year ago, TRW said. Last year 4,975 were sold in March, this year only 4,583--an 8% decline.

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New home sales were down even further this year, by 20%, as only 806 were sold in March compared to 1,014 a year ago. That may reflect simply the smaller numbers of new homes and condos being built early in 1989.

TRW, however, said it noted a large number of new construction loans toward the end of 1988 and said that might betoken a string of new subdivision openings this month or the next.


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