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LINGERING WET WEATHER CONDITIONS AND SLIPPING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE RESTRAIN CALIFORNIA HOME SALES DURING MARCH

 LOS ANGELES, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Lingering wet weather conditions throughout California in February and slipping consumer confidence restrained the state's closed-escrow, existing home sales during March, the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported.
 "While every region of California posted sales gains in March from February, the seasonally adjusted statewide sales figure declined because the pace of home sales was not as strong as during a typical March," said C.A.R. President Walt McDonald. "Lingering wet weather in February and a slow economy prevented a significant jump in seasonally adjusted, completed home sales during March, but we continue to expect some improvement in sales during the next few months," said McDonald, a Riverside REALTOR.
 Among elements of C.A.R.'s March resale housing report:
 -- Statewide, 384,220 existing, single-family detached homes closed escrow during March on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis -- down 7.9 percent from a revised annualized rate of 416,950 homes sold in February.
 -- The March sales pace was down 13.3 percent from the revised March 1992 annualized rate, when 443,130 homes were sold.
 The annualized figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 1993 if sales occurred at the March pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors which influence home sales.
 -- The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold during March was $191,520, up 1.7 percent from a revised $188,320 in February.
 -- The March median price was down 4.8 percent from March 1992, when the median-priced home sold for a revised $201,260.
 "Consumer optimism has slipped in recent weeks, following rising spirits during the last few months of 1992," said Leslie Appleton- Young, C.A.R.'s vice president of research and economics. "This is delaying an economic recovery as well as an improvement in the housing market. However, we are still looking forward to a solid Spring homebuying season," Appleton-Young said.
 A jump in non-seasonally adjusted detached home sales lowered C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index during March. The Index measures the number of months it would take to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.
 -- The statewide Unsold Inventory Index was 12.9 months in March, down from 17.3 months in February but up from 11.8 months in March 1992.
 -- Statewide, closed escrow sales of condominiums rose 25.3 percent from February on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Existing condo sales were down 32.0 percent from March 1992.
 -- The median price of a resale condominium was $137,300 in March, up 0.4 percent from $136,810 in February and down 5.6 percent from $145,480 in March 1992.
 -- As with the detached housing market, the unsold inventory of condominiums was reduced during March. The condo Unsold Inventory Index fell from 18.9 months in February to 15.9 months in March. The condo inventory figure was up from the 12.1 months recorded in March 1992.
 -- According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 7.50 percent in March, down from 7.68 percent in February. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 4.78 percent in March, down from 4.98 percent in February.
 Regional sales and price information are contained in the following charts. (Regional sales data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors which influence home sales.)
 C.A.R.'s median price and sales data for detached homes are based on reports from 84 Boards of REALTORS around the state. Median condominium price and sales data are based on a survey of 32 Boards. The median price for both detached homes and condominiums is based on closed escrow sales. Sales revisions reflect the re-seasonalization of monthly sales data using seasonal factors calculated with the 1979-1992 sales.
 The California Association of REALTORS is a statewide trade association with 115,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
 March 1993 REGIONAL SALES AND PRICE ACTIVITY(a)
 Regional and Condo Sales Data Not Seasonally Adjusted
 Percent Percent Percent Percent
 Change Change Change Change
 in in in Sales in Sales
 Price Price Activity Activity
 Median from from from from
 Price Feb. 93 March 92 Feb. 93 March 92
 Calif. (sf) $191,520 1.7 pct -4.8 pct -7.9 pct -13.3 pct
 Calif. (condo) $137,300 0.4 pct -5.6 pct 25.3 pct -32.0 pct
 Region
 Central Vly. $114,070 -1.9 pct -6.2 pct 38.9 pct -23.7 pct
 High Desert(b) $113,960 4.3 pct 0.0 pct 20.5 pct 15.5 pct
 Los Angeles $201,280p 0.8 pctp-9.6 pctp40.9 pctp -7.2 pctp
 Monterey $227,890 -2.0 pct -4.3 pct 28.0 pct -20.7 pct
 Nor. Calif. $138,420 6.9 pct -0.4 pct 53.4 pct -4.8 pct
 Nor. Wine Co. $185,430 -1.7 pct -6.1 pct 25.8 pct -4.6 pct
 Orange Co. $218,690 -2.3 pct -8.2 pct 39.7 pct -4.5 pct
 Palm Springs/
 Lower Desert n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
 Riverside/S.B. $137,080 1.5 pct 0.2 pct 21.7 pct -13.2 pct
 Sacramento(c) $130,000 3.9 pct -1.9 pct 39.1 pct -28.7 pct
 San Diego $174,600 -1.4 pct -6.2 pct 36.5 pct -8.8 pct
 S.F. Bay $250,060 2.8 pct -1.3 pct 41.3 pct -17.2 pct
 Sta. Barbara(b)$197,270 -12.8 pct-11.5 pct 53.8 pct 5.2 pct
 Sta. Clara $243,510 0.5 pct -3.4 pct 38.5 pct -15.5 pct
 Ventura $215,290 6.2 pct -3.2 pct 41.6 pct 12.7 pct
 (a) Based on closed escrow sales of single-family, detached homes only (no condos). Reported month-to-month changes in sales activity may overstate actual changes because of the small size of individual regional samples. Movements in sales prices should not be interpreted as measuring changes in the cost of a standard home. Prices are influenced by changes in cost and changes in the characteristics and size of homes actually sold.
 (b) Because of the small sample size in these areas, prices and activity changes may be overemphasized.
 (c) Source: Sacramento Association of REALTORS.
 p = March 1993 Los Angeles figures are preliminary because of insufficient data from some Boards of REALTORS in the region.
 sf = single-family, detached home
 Source: California Association of REALTORS.
 A comparison of median home prices by region for March 1993 and March 1992.
 March March
 1993 1992
 California (sf) $191,520 $201,260
 California (condo) $137,300 $145,480
 Region
 Central Valley $114,070 $121,680
 High Desert $113,960 $113,930
 Los Angeles $201,280p $222,650
 Monterey $227,890 $238,000
 Nor. California $138,420 $138,910
 Nor. Wine Country $185,430 $197,500
 Orange County $218,690 $238,160
 Palm Springs/Lwr. Desert n.a. $124,500
 Riverside/San Bernardino $137,080 $136,810
 Sacramento $130,000 $132,500
 San Diego $174,600 $186,140
 San Francisco Bay $250,060 $253,420
 Santa Barbara $197,270 $223,000
 Santa Clara $243,510 $252,020
 Ventura $215,290 $222,340
 p = March 1993 Los Angeles figure is preliminary because of insufficient data from some Boards of REALTORS in the region.
 Source: California Association of REALTORS.
 -0- 4/26/93
 /CONTACT: Lotus Lou or Jeff Hershberger of the California Association of REALTORS, 213-739-8304/


CO: California Association of REALTORS ST: California IN: FIN SU:

LS-JL -- LA012 -- 0608 04/26/93 11:02 EDT
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