Calif. Housing Prices Rise for Third Consecutive Month

California’s median sales price for an existing single-family home increased 4.2% in May from April, marking the third consecutive increase in the state’s housing prices and providing another signal that the California’s long drop in housing values could be at or near an end.

The median sales price of $267,570 for a single-family home in May compares with a median price of $256,700 in April, according to estimates by the California Association of Realtors. The prices were still down 30.4% from a year earlier.

The sales of 556,590 homes in May 2009 represented a 35.2% increase from sales in May 2008, the Realtors group reported Thursday.

The inventory of unsold homes continued to shrink, to 4.2 months in May compared with 8.7 months a year ago and 4.6 months in April 2009.

“With affordability for first-time buyers at a record high, sales of existing, single-family homes continued to remain above the 500,000 level for the ninth consecutive month,” said James Liptak, president of the California Association of Realtors.

“Buyers are beginning to realize that the combination of favorable home prices, historically low mortgage rates, and first-time home buyer tax credits, may not align again for many years,” Mr. Liptak said.

Article from Wall Street Journal – June 25, 2009