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CALIFORNIA EXISTING HOME SALES INCREASE FROM PRIOR MONTH, YEAR AGO; OCTOBER HOME SALES RISE IN MANY REGIONS; UNSOLD INVENTORY REDUCED

 LOS ANGELES, Nov. 24 ~PRNewswire~ -- California existing home sales climbed sharply during October, posting the first concurrent monthly and annual sales increases since February, the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported.
 "It's encouraging that home sales rose statewide and in virtually every major region of California during October, including Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area," said 1993 C.A.R. President Walt McDonald. "There are indications that consumer confidence has been on the mend since the election, and when the outlook improves further, we expect additional potential homebuyers waiting on the sidelines to enter the housing market in force," said McDonald, a Riverside REALTOR.
 "Today's homebuyers continue to find extremely low mortgage interest rates, favorable prices and a wide selection of available properties," McDonald added.
 Among elements of C.A.R.'s October resale housing report:
 -- Statewide, 417,190 existing, single-family detached homes closed escrow during October on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis -- up 10.9 percent from a revised annualized rate of 376,140 homes sold in September.
 -- The October sales pace also was up 7.6 percent from the revised October 1991 annualized rate, when 387,610 homes were sold. This marked the first year-over-year increase in sales since March.
 The annualized figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 1992 if sales occurred at the October 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 October was $194,790, down 0.7 percent from a revised $196,100 in September.
 -- The October median price was down 0.6 percent from October 1991, when the median-priced home sold for a revised $196,020.
 The increase in sales and a drop in listings during October combined to lower the level of unsold detached homes, as measured by C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index. The Index indicates the number of months it would take to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.
 -- The Unsold Inventory Index was 13.2 months in October, down from 14.7 months in September, but up from 12.6 months in October 1991.
 "Mortgage interest rates fluctuated within a 25-basis-point-band between August and September -- the months when most of the October transactions were opened," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.'s vice president of research and economics. "While interest rates are not expected to rise significantly during the next year, any slight upticks in mortgage rates typically prompt more buyers to move into the housing market to beat further rate increases," said Appleton- Young.
 -- Average fixed mortgage interest rates edged up during October but remain favorable. According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 8.13 percent in October, up from 7.92 percent in September. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 5.07 percent in October, down slightly from 5.09 percent in September.
 -- Statewide, closed escrow sales of existing condominiums rose 8.8 percent during October on a non-seasonally adjusted basis but were down 18.3 percent from October 1991.
 -- The median price of a resale condominium rose 3.8 percent from $140,770 in September to $146,160 in October. Last month's median condo price also edged up 0.4 percent from $145,610 in October 1991.
 -- The condo Unsold Inventory Index dropped from 18.4 months in September to 16.6 months in October, but was up from 13.4 months in October 1991.
 Regional sales and price data 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 1979-1991 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.
 OCTOBER 1992 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 Sept. 92 Oct. 91 Sept. 92 Oct. 91
 Calif. (sf) $194,790 -0.7 -0.6 10.9 7.6
 Calif. (condo) $146,160 3.8 0.4 8.8 -18.4
 Region
 Central Vly. $117,400 -2.6 -0.3 6.0 -0.5
 High Desert(b) $111,200 -1.9 3.3 -7.9 -7.5
 Los Angeles $205,530 -0.5 -5.2 -2.5 -2.8
 Monterey $231,060 -0.2 5.0 23.0 9.3
 Nor. Calif. $138,930 2.4 2.6 -5.8 41.5
 Nor. Wine Co. $195,770 2.1 5.0 -13.9 -4.3
 Orange Co. $232,640 0.1 -1.3 2.3 14.3
 Palm Springs~
 Lower Desert(b)$128,750 -2.3 18.1 12.7 -7.6
 Riverside~S.B. $135,940 1.6 -2.0 0.4 -2.6
 Sacramento(c) $130,000 -0.9 -3.7 4.4 -8.6
 San Diego $182,240 -1.8 -0.8 3.2 4.5
 S.F. Bay $249,380 -2.1 -1.0 3.8 5.2
 Sta. Barbara(b) $225,000 -0.8 4.3 28.9 13.7
 Sta. Clara $243,530 -0.5 -2.6 0.7 2.4
 Ventura $216,730 -2.9 -7.2 4.5 0.4
 (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
 sf: single-family detached home
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 A comparison of median home prices by region for October 1992 and October 1991.
 October October
 1992 1991
 California (sf) $194,790 $196,020
 California (condo) $146,160 $145,610
 Region
 Central Valley $117,400 $117,720
 High Desert $111,200 $107,620
 Los Angeles $205,530 $216,830
 Monterey $231,060 $220,090
 No. California $138,930 $135,360
 No. Wine Country $195,770 $186,520
 Orange County $232,640 $235,790
 Palm Springs~Lwr. Desert $128,750 $109,000
 Riverside~San Bernardino $135,940 $138,660
 Sacramento $130,000 $135,000
 San Diego $182,240 $183,650
 San Francisco Bay $249,380 $252,000
 Santa Barbara $225,000 $215,740
 Santa Clara $243,530 $250,000
 Ventura $216,730 $233,540
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 -0- 11~24~92
 ~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:

JB-JL -- LA014 -- 0996 11~24~92 11:03 EST
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