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ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS HAMPER CALIFORNIA HOME SALES IN FEBRUARY

 LOS ANGELES, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Inclement weather conditions throughout California in December and January hampered closed-escrow home sales during February, the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported.
 "February's decline in home sales was expected, given the severe weather conditions experienced in many areas of the state during December and January -- the months when February's sales were initiated," said C.A.R. President Walt McDonald. "However, the arrival of improved weather and today's excellent housing affordability conditions should set the stage for a busy spring homebuying season," said McDonald, a Riverside, Calif., REALTOR.
 Among elements of C.A.R.'s February resale housing report:
 -- Statewide, 416,840 existing, single-family detached homes closed escrow during February on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis -- down 4.4 percent from a revised annualized rate of 435,820 homes sold in January.
 -- The February sales pace was down 8.1 percent from the revised February 1992 annualized rate, when 453,400 homes were sold. The year-over-year decline in sales can be attributed primarily to the unusually strong sales pace recorded in February 1992.
 The annualized figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 1993 if sales occurred at the February 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 February was $190,000, down 1.1 percent from a revised $192,110 in January.
 -- The February median price was down 4.2 percent from February 1992, when the median-priced home sold for a revised $198,290.
 An increase in listings coupled with a decline in non-seasonally adjusted detached home sales expanded C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index during February. 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 16.7 months in February, up from 13.9 months in January but down from 17.0 months in February 1992.
 The increase in the index is typical during this time of year, as many consumers list their homes for sale in preparation for the spring homebuying season.
 -- Statewide, closed escrow sales of condominiums dipped 2.1 percent from January on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Existing condo sales were down 12.0 percent from February 1992.
 -- The median price of a resale condominium was $136,500 in February, down 0.9 percent from $137,810 in January and down 1.1 percent from $137,980 in February 1992.
 -- The condo Unsold Inventory Index rose from 16.3 months in January to 17.2 months in February. February's condo inventory figure was up from the 16.5 months recorded in February 1992.
 "Although mortgage interest rates edged up in mid-March they still are expected to remain favorable throughout the year," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.'s vice president of research and economics. "Moreover, each time we experience slight upticks in interest rates, it typically prompts many homebuyers to move into the housing market to beat further increases," Appleton-Young said.
 -- According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 7.68 percent in February, down from 7.99 percent in January. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 4.98 percent in February, down from 5.18 percent in January.
 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 126,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
 FEBRUARY 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 Jan. 93 Feb. 92 Jan. 93 Feb. 92
 Calif. (sf) $190,000 -1.1 -4.2 -8.1 -4.4
 Calif. (condo) $136,500 -0.9 -1.1 -2.1 -12.0
 Region
 Central Vly. $116,130 -0.8 -4.6 -10.7 -11.6
 High Desert(b) $109,680 -0.7 -1.2 10.1 10.1
 Los Angeles n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
 Monterey $232,890 2.6 11.7 -16.0 -10.3
 Nor. Calif. $129,430 -9.4 -5.3 -9.8 -2.5
 Nor. Wine Co. $188,720 -0.4 -2.4 -8.9 14.6
 Orange Co. $223,640 -0.7 -3.2 -34.2 -8.8
 Palm Springs/
 Lower Desert $115,560 8.0 n.a. -12.5 n.a.
 Riverside/S.B. $135,030 1.1 -3.1 3.6 10.0
 Sacramento(c) $126,000 -2.3 -6.7 -6.7 -14.3
 San Diego $177,130 0.6 -0.2 -9.3 6.2
 S.F. Bay $243,740 -0.6 -0.2 1.1 -20.6
 Sta. Barbara(b)$223,530 6.0 3.7 -29.3 -13.8
 Sta. Clara $242,240 -1.5 -0.5 15.0 -32.0
 Ventura $202,980 -0.4 -9.1 -6.5 20.7
 (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.
 NOTE: Los Angeles figures are unavailable because of incomplete data from the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Rancho-Los Cerritos and Santa Monica Boards and Associations of REALTORS.
 sf: single-family, detached home
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 A comparison of median home prices by region for February 1993 and February 1992.
 February February
 1993 1992
 California (sf) $190,000 $198,290
 California (condo) $136,500 $137,980
 Region
 Central Valley $116,130 $121,680
 High Desert $109,680 $111,060
 Los Angeles n.a. n.a.
 Monterey $232,890 $208,550
 Nor. California $129,430 $136,670
 Nor. Wine Country $188,720 $193,330
 Orange County $223,640 $230,930
 Palm Springs/Lwr. Desert $115,560 n.a.
 Riverside/San Bernardino $135,030 $139,340
 Sacramento $126,000 $135,000
 San Diego $177,130 $177,570
 San Francisco Bay $243,740 $244,100
 Santa Barbara $223,530 $215,480
 Santa Clara $242,240 $243,370
 Ventura $202,980 $223,260
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 -0- 3/25/93
 /CONTACT: Lotus Lou or Jeff Hershberger of C.A.R., 213-739-8304/


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

LS-JL -- LA010 -- 9518 03/25/93 11:01 EST
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