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California Home Prices Rise for First Time in 16 Months

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April 16 (Bloomberg) -- California home prices rose 1.6 percent in March, the first year-over-year increase in 16 months, helped by demand for houses in the San Francisco area, the California Association of Realtors said today.

The statewide median price for an existing single-family detached home jumped to $291,080, the Los Angeles-based group said today in a statement. That was a 9.2 percent gain from February, the largest monthly increase since March 2004.

“Sales jumped significantly in most regions of the state, with many areas experiencing double-digit gains,” LeFrancis Arnold, the association’s president, said in the statement. “Tight inventory and robust home sales, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, fueled the substantial increase in the March median home price.”

Homes available for sale and the number of days it took to sell a property both declined last month. The time needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales pace fell to 4.1 months from 5.4 months in both February and a year earlier. A seven-month supply is considered normal, according to the association.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home in California dropped to 53.1 days in March from 57 days a year earlier, the group said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net