California home sales off month to month, but up over a year ago

Home sales fell in California from June to July but were higher than in July of last year, the California Association of Realtors said Monday.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California dropped 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted 458,440 units in July, according to information collected by CAR from real estate agents.

But July home sales were up 4.5 percent from the 438,850 units sold in July 2010. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number

of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the July pace throughout the

year, according to a statement from CAR, which maintains its executive offices

in Los Angeles.

“Although July sales improved over last year, they were somewhat weaker than expected, given current prices and mortgage rates,’' said CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.

“Economic uncertainty and recent developments in financial markets have

caused hesitation among buyers, the effects of which we may see in the coming

months. We must see sustained job and income gains along with an increase in

consumer confidence before we can expect to see consistent improvement in the

housing market,’' she said.

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California dipped 0.3 percent in July to $294,230 from a revised $295,210 in June, according to CAR. July’s median price was down 7.6 percent from the $318,550 recorded in July 2010.

“Despite the uncertain outlook, interest rates are at near-record lows, and home prices are favorable,’' said CAR President Beth L. Peerce. “Well-qualified, motivated buyers who expect to own their home for more than a few years should carefully study their options now.’'