State’s Home Prices, Sales Top the U.S. Rate


California’s housing market continued to outpace the nation’s in October, with sales of existing homes and median home prices posting gains over the same period a year ago, according to a real estate trade group.

Sales of existing homes in California rose 7.8% over the same period last year to an annualized rate of 674,940 last month, according to the California Assn. of Realtors and Transamerica Intellitech, a real estate information service.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate measures how many homes would sell all year if homes kept selling at the October rate.

Similarly, the median price of an existing single-family detached home in the state rose 11.9% to $218,160, from $194,960 a year ago, according to CAR.


“California homeowners are benefiting from the largest year-to-year median price appreciation in more than 10 years,” CAR President Richard F. Gaylord said.

But the picture was different nationwide, where sales of existing homes fell 3% to an annualized rate of 4.79 million units, from 4.94 million units sold in October 1998, according to the National Assn. of Realtors. The group said the national median home sale price rose 3.9% to $133,100 in October, from $128,100 recorded in October 1998.

Despite the lower level of October home sales, NAR said it still predicts a record pace of 5.2 million existing-home sales in 1999, a 4.6% increase over last year’s record of 4.97 million units.

In California, median home prices in October rose 2.5% in Los Angeles County to $195,060 from $190,300 a year ago; in Orange County prices jumped 7.1% to $284,130, from $265,210 a year ago; Riverside and San Bernardino counties posted a 5.6% gain to $130,950 last month, from $124,050 a year ago; Ventura County saw a 14.4% jump to $264,700 from $231,290 last October.


Higher home prices dampened sales in these counties last month, except for Los Angeles County, which saw a slight gain in regional sales activity in October.