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More homes listed, prices climb higher in April

More homes listed, prices climb higher in April

By Ron Trujillo / ron@calhomenews.com

Spring helped thaw a rather frozen housing market, as the number of available homes increased for the first time in almost three years — and ended two years of double-digit declines in listings.

April homes sales were mixed, with 416,790 homes changing hands, a 1.7% decline from March and 2.2% increase compared to a year ago, according to the California Association of Realtors. The statewide annualized figure represents the total number of homes sold if April sales were maintained throughout the year.

“After nearly three years of decline in active listings, we’re finally seeing  an improvement in the availability of homes for sale, which is encouraging for prospective buyers as we enter the very busy spring home-buying season,” says CAR president Steve White. “However, entry-level buyers may continue to experience the housing shortage as homes priced under $300,000 continue to bear the brunt of inventory issues.”

Of course, good luck finding a home in the $300,000 price range in the Bay Area and Southern California, and many other places in the state.

The statewide median-home price — meaning half the homes sold for more, the other half for less — increased 3.5% to $564,460 in April, and up 8.6% from a year ago. The Bay Area accounted for much of the gain in April, with double-digit increases in six of the counties in the region.

In addition, four of the county’s boast prices of $1.385 million or higher, with San Mateo and San Francisco counties leading the way at $1.77 million and $1.65 million, respectively. Santa Clara County, the center of Silicon Valley, had the largest increase in the region at 22.8% from a year ago. Lassen County is the most affordable housing market in the state at $155,500.

Leslie Appleton-Young

“After increasing year-over-year by more than 8% over the past three months, the California median home price is close to striking distance of the pre-recession peak price of $594,350, which was recorded in May 2007,” says Leslie Appleton-Young, senior vice president and chief economist for CAR. “With a continued imbalance of supply and demand, we’ll likely break previous price records, which many areas have already done, before the summer is over.”

Home prices vs. year ago

San Francisco

$1.65 million, up 17.6%

San Diego

$635,000, up 7.6%

San Luis Obispo

$597,505, up 4.4%

Los Angeles

$528,550, up 10.1%

Sacramento

$369,000, up 13.2%

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