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INCLEMENT WEATHER DAMPENS CALIFORNIA HOUSING MARKET DURING JANUARY

 LOS ANGELES, March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Harsh weather conditions throughout California in December dampened the state's existing, closed-escrow home sales during January, the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported.
 "January's decline in home sales followed the unusually strong pace registered during December, when completed sales activity rose sharply in nearly every region," said C.A.R. President Walt McDonald. "Closed sales for February and March are also likely to be affected by the inclement weather that many areas of the state continued to experience in January and February," said McDonald, a Riverside REALTOR. "January sales edged up from a year ago, and the outlook for the spring homebuying season looks bright as recent drops in interest rates take effect," McDonald added.
 Among highlights of C.A.R.'s January resale housing report:
 -- Statewide, 435,180 existing, single-family detached homes closed escrow during January on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis -- down 12.0 percent from a revised annualized rate of 494,300 homes sold in December.
 -- The January sales pace was up 1.8 percent from the revised January 1992 annualized rate, when 427,530 homes were sold.
 The annualized figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 1993 if sales occurred at the January 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 January was $192,110, down 0.5 percent from a revised $193,160 in December.
 -- The January median price was down 2.0 percent from January 1992, when the median-priced home sold for a revised $196,080.
 A decline in non-seasonally adjusted detached home sales raised C.A.R.'s Unsold Inventory Index during January. 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 13.9 months in January, up from 10.0 months in December, but down from 15.9 months in January 1992.
 -- Statewide, closed escrow sales of condominiums dropped 35.1 percent from December on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Existing condo sales were down 30.5 percent from January 1992.
 -- The median price of a resale condominium was $137,810 in January, down 2.0 percent from $140,670 in December and down 4.8 percent from $144,790 in January 1992.
 -- As with the detached housing market, the level of unsold condominiums increased during January. The condo Unsold Inventory Index rose from 12.6 months in December to 16.3 months in January. January's condo inventory figure was up slightly from the 15.8 months recorded in January 1992.
 -- The average for fixed mortgage interest rates fell during January. According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 7.99 percent in January, down from 8.21 percent in December. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 5.18 percent in January, down from 5.43 percent in December.
 "Many potential homebuyers are expected to take advantage of 20-year-low mortgage interest rates and favorable prices in the next few weeks, fueling the upcoming spring homebuying season," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.'s vice president of research and economics. "Record high numbers of first-time homebuyers will be entering the state's housing market this year, and they likely will account for more than half of all California homebuyers in 1993," Appleton-Young said.
 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.
 JANUARY 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 Dec. 92 Jan. 92 Dec. 92 Jan. 92
 Calif. (sf) $192,110 -0.5 pct -2.0 pct -12.0 pct 1.8 pct
 Calif. (condo) $137,810 -2.0 pct -4.8 pct -35.1 pct -30.5 pct
 Region
 Central Vly. $118,050 0.7 pct 0.3 pct -39.3 pct -5.0 pct
 High Desert(b) $110,410 -2.7 pct -0.3 pct -31.8 pct 0.5 pct
 Los Angeles $203,430p -3.8 pctp -4.9 pctp -29.4 pctp 2.9 pctp
 Monterey $226,920 6.1 pct -7.3 pct -26.5 pct 14.4 pct
 Nor. Calif. $142,860 7.0 pct 5.0 pct -36.7 pct -18.9 pct
 Nor. Wine Co. $189,490 -2.5 pct 1.1 pct -25.3 pct -1.2 pct
 Orange Co. $225,170 -1.6 pct -4.5 pct 7.3 pct 38.1 pct
 Palm Springs/
 Lower Desert n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
 Riverside/S.B. $133,570 -1.0 pct -2.5 pct -30.4 pct -4.7 pct
 Sacramento(c) $129,200 -2.1 pct -3.6 pct -46.6 pct -24.4 pct
 San Diego $176,030 -2.2 pct -3.0 pct -36.7 pct 4.6 pct
 S.F. Bay $245,120 -4.7 pct 0.9 pct -28.6 pct -18.7 pct
 Sta. Barbara(b)$210,870 0.6 pct 4.7 pct -22.3 pct 37.6 pct
 Sta. Clara $246,000 -2.8 pct 0.4 pct -6.7 pct -30.1 pct
 Ventura $203,770 -6.8 pct -10.9 pct -30.3 pct 6.3 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) Due to the small sample size in these areas, prices and activity changes may be overemphasized.
 (c) Source: Sacramento Association of REALTORS
 p: January 1993 Los Angeles figures are preliminary because of insufficient data from the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Los Angeles and Santa Monica boards of REALTORS
 sf: single-family, detached home
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 A comparison of median home prices by region for January 1993 and January 1992.
 January January
 1993 1992
 California (sf) $192,110 $196,080
 California (condo) $137,810 $144,790
 Region
 Central Valley $118,050 $117,710
 High Desert $110,410 $110,740
 Los Angeles $203,430p $213,870
 Monterey $226,920 $244,830
 Nor. California $142,860 $136,100
 Nor. Wine Country $189,490 $187,440
 Orange County $225,170 $235,850
 Palm Springs/Lwr. Desert n.a. n.a.
 Riverside/San Bernardino $133,570 $137,060
 Sacramento $129,200 $134,000
 San Diego $176,030 $181,550
 San Francisco Bay $245,120 $242,950
 Santa Barbara $210,870 $201,470
 Santa Clara $246,000 $245,060
 Ventura $203,770 $228,720
 p: January 1993 Los Angeles figure is preliminary because of insufficient data from the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Los Angeles and Santa Monica boards of REALTORS
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 -0- 3/1/93
 /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 -- LA009 -- 1343 03/01/93 11:06 EST
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