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Report: California Home Prices Stabilizing

California's median home prices dipped by less than half a percentage point in March, according to a report released last week by housing market researcher ""MDA Data Quick"":http://www.dataquick.com. The company also noted that prices were similarly steady in January and February, perhaps a signal that the Golden State's tumultuous housing market is leveling off.
Data Quick spokesperson Andrew Lesage told the _""Associated Press"":http://www.ap.org_, ""History suggests that these are the kinds of signs you see when a market is approaching stabilization in terms of pricing. Are we at the bottomx That's not clear.""
The company reported that the median price paid for a home in California last month was $223,000, down 0.4 percent from $224,000 in February. March's median home price fell 37.7 percent compared to the same time last year - when the median price in California was $358,000 - but DataQuick said that about half of that drop is due to depreciation, the other half due to shifts in the types of homes selling, namely an upsurge in cut-rate, distressed properties.
Of the existing homes sold last month, Data Quick said 57.4 percent were properties that had been foreclosed. A year ago that ratio was 35.5 percent.
Based on Data Quick's California market study, an estimated 36,215 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. March sales were up 23.9 percent from 29,225 in February and up 47.4 percent from the 24,565 homes sold in March 2008.
Another note of relief for the California housing market, Data Quick said that sales have increased on a year-over-year basis for the last nine months now.
The company's report also revealed that the typical mortgage payment California home buyers committed to paying last month was $958. That figure is down from $976 in February and $1,712 in March of last year. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was the lowest in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988.
The company noted in its latest report that indicators of market distress in California continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity is nearing its 2008 peak, while financing with adjustable-rate loan products and multiple mortgages is at an all-time low, Data Quick said. The company also pointed out that down payment sizes and flipping rates are stable, and non-owner occupied buying activity is above-average in some markets.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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