Home sales climbed 43.1 percent in the Riverside/San Bernardino area in May, compared to the same period a year ago, while the median home price fell 37.6 percent, according to figures released today.
The median price of an existing single-family home in the region was $160,880 in May, compared to $156,840 in April and $257,660 in May 2008, according to the California Association of Realtors.
In the Palm Springs/Lower Desert area, home sales increased 38.2 percent in May, compared to the same month last year, while the median home price was $152,860, down 46.1 percent from $283,480 in May 2008.
Statewide, home sales increased 35.2 percent in May, compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home declined 30.4 percent, according to CAR's report.
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"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 CAR President James Liptak. "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.
"The sales gains over last year have diminished in recent months," he added. "This trend is expected to continue through the end of the year, as limited inventory at the moderate and low end of the market constrains sales activity."
The median price of an existing, single-family detached home in California in May was $267,570, compared to $256,700 the previous month and $384,540 in May of last year, according to CAR.
"The statewide median price rose for the third consecutive month in May, posting the largest monthly increase on record for the month of May, according to statistics dating back to 1979," said CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "Nearly all regions in the state reported positive month-to-month changes in median price."
Statewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during May were:
-- Los Altos, $1,484,000;
-- Palo Alto, $1,400,000;
-- Cupertino, $965,000;
-- Santa Barbara, $870,750;
-- Danville, $785,500;
-- Los Gatos, $769,500;
-- Newport Beach, $767,500;
-- Santa Monica, $740,000;
-- Arcadia, $700,000; and
-- Campbell, $691,000.
Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in May compared with the same period a year ago were:
-- Poway, 29.7 percent;
-- Auburn, 8.3 percent;
-- Arcadia, 7.5 percent;
-- Atascadero, 6.3 percent;
-- Cypress, 5.0 percent;
-- Palo Alto, 4.9 percent;
-- Campbell, 4.7 percent;
-- Walnut, 2.3 percent; and
-- Torrance, 0.4 percent.