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SLUGGISH ECONOMY CONTRIBUTES TO FLAT RESALE HOUSING MARKET IN JULY

SLUGGISH ECONOMY CONTRIBUTES TO FLAT RESALE HOUSING MARKET IN JULY
 LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Existing detached home sales in California remained flat during July, reflecting a persistent sluggish economy, the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) reported.
 "Although statewide housing sales were essentially unchanged from June, there were some pockets of stronger homebuying activity in the state's more affordable areas, particularly Riverside/San Bernardino," said C.A.R. President Chuck Lamb. "In the future, the crucial first-time homebuyers tax credit pending in Congress and liberalized rules on IRA deductions should spark further homebuying activity in all areas of the state," said Lamb, a San Fernando Valley REALTOR.
 Among elements of C.A.R.'s July resale housing report:
 -- Statewide, 396,060 existing, single-family detached homes closed escrow during July on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis -- essentially unchanged from a revised annual rate of 395,880 homes sold in June;
 -- The July sales pace was down 11.0 percent from the revised July 1991 annualized rate, when 445,020 homes were sold.
 The annualized figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 1992 if sales occurred at the July 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 July was $198,520, down 0.8 percent from a revised $200,060 in June;
 -- July's median price was down 3.7 percent from July 1991, when the median-priced home sold for a revised $206,070.
 A decline in non-seasonally adjusted home sales outpaced a marked drop in listings, compared with June, and raised the inventory of unsold homes during July, 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 index was 13.8 months in July, up from 12.7 months in June and 11.2 months in July 1991;
 -- The average interest rate for fixed mortgages fell for the fourth consecutive month during July and recently have fallen below 8 percent. According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., fixed mortgage interest rates averaged 8.13 percent in July, down from 8.51 percent in June. Adjustable mortgage interest rates averaged 5.53 percent in July, down from 5.87 percent in June.
 "Weak consumer confidence and a stagnant economy continued to overshadow opportune mortgage interest rates during July," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.'s vice president of research and economics. "Although average mortgage interest rates have tumbled to a 20-year low, consumers will not respond until they feel more secure about their future and the outlook for the overall economy," said Appleton-Young;
 -- Statewide, closed escrow sales of existing condominiums fell 17.2 percent during July on a non-seasonally adjusted basis and were down 33.8 percent from July 1991.
 A significant increase in sales of condos with two or fewer bedrooms, compared with June, resulted in a dip in the condominium median price;
 -- The median price of a resale condominium declined 1.0 percent from $146,990 in June to $145,590 in July. Last month's median condo price was down 0.1 percent from $145,670 in July 1991;
 -- The condo Unsold Inventory Index rose to 15.8 months in July, up from 14.2 months in June and 10.5 months in July 1991; and
 -- Regionally, detached home sales rose from both the previous month and previous year on a non-seasonally adjusted basis during July in the Monterey, Northern California and Riverside/San Bernardino regions. (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 83 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 130,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
 July 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 June 92 July 91 June 92 July 91
 Calif. (sf) $198,520 -0.8 -3.7 0.0 -11.0
 Calif. (condo) $145,590 -1.0 -0.1 -17.2 -33.8
 Region
 Central Vly. $118,410 -1.6 -3.1 -4.6 -6.1
 High Desert(b) $110,950 0.0 -5.3 -5.7 -18.1
 Los Angeles $214,490 0.0 -4.0 -7.7 -24.5
 Monterey $225,990 4.1 -8.3 6.9 1.5
 Nor. Calif. $136,670 1.7 2.8 5.4 0.3
 Nor. Wine Co. $194,750 -0.7 3.4 -20.8 -19.3
 Orange Co. $236,090 -0.5 -3.6 -6.5 -12.8
 Palm Springs/
 Lower
 Desert(b) $125,190 -9.0 5.7 -17.4 -10.3
 Riverside/S.B. $138,330 2.2 -1.8 13.4 5.0
 Sacramento(c) $135,000 -0.4 -3.6 -9.1 -23.1
 San Diego $190,850 4.1 -0.6 -5.3 -17.1
 S.F. Bay $257,100 -2.5 -6.0 -8.2 -2.2
 Santa
 Barbara(b) $225,000 3.3 -0.5 -3.1 1.1
 Sta. Clara $253,540 -1.0 -5.5 -8.6 7.6
 Ventura $234,670 5.3 0.2 0.5 -4.5
 (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 July 1992 and July 1991:
 July July
 1992 1991
 California (sf) $198,520 $206,070
 California (condo) $145,590 $145,670
 Region
 Central Valley $118,410 $122,210
 High Desert $110,950 $118,670
 Los Angeles $214,490 $223,340
 Monterey $225,990 $246,430
 Nor. California $136,670 $132,940
 Nor. Wine Country $194,750 $188,310
 Orange County $236,090 $244,890
 Palm Springs/Lwr. Desert $125,190 $118,440
 Riverside/San Bernardino $138,330 $140,830
 Sacramento $135,000 $140,000
 San Diego $190,850 $192,050
 San Francisco Bay $257,100 $268,830
 Santa Barbara $225,000 $226,140
 Santa Clara $253,540 $268,200
 Ventura $234,670 $234,300
 Source: California Association of REALTORS
 -0- 8/25/92
 /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:


KJ -- LA007 -- 2968 08/25/92 11:02 EDT
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Date:Aug 25, 1992
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