The California housing market is continuing to show marked signs of vigor. Last week, the California Association of Realtors announced that sales of detached homes in the state had risen in October for the third consecutive month.

Pulse of the Market

Home Prices

Home price increases in Southern California in October versus year ago.Los Angeles 6.2%Monterey 20.0Wine country 5.3Orange County 1.7Palm Springs 2.4Riverside 12.7Statewide 1.0

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At the same time, Coldwell Banker Corp., Mission Viejo, announced it was expanding its staff in Orange County by 74 people, to a bit more than 800.

"The California housing market is showing tremendous stamina, despite six separate interest rate increases this year by the Federal Reserve Board," said the association's incoming president, Ed Albers. "October home sales were at their highest level in five years, and year-to-date sales for the first 10 months of 1994 have increased 15% from a year ago." Mr. Albers is a real estate executive based in Sacramento.

"Many Californians are finding it possible to become homeowners this year, thanks to favorable home prices, a good selection of inventory, and continued excellent affordability conditions," he said.

The association's October report included these highlights:

* Statewide, 470,720 existing single-family detached homes closed escrow during October on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis, up 1.3% from the September rate.

* The October sales pace increased 1% from the October 1993 annualized rate.

* The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold during October was $180,100, down 0.7% since September.

"These latest home sales figures clearly illustrate that California's economic recovery is easing the impact of rising interest rates on the housing market," said Leslie Appleton-Young, the association's vice president of research and economics. "We are continuing to project a 6.2% increase in total home sales during 1994, followed by a 4.5% increase next year."

* Statewide, sales of existing condominiums during October increased 1.3% from the level a year earlier.

* The median price of a resale condo was $141,580 during October, down 2.1% from $144,600 in October 1993.

Coldwell Banker, one of Orange County's largest employers, said the beefing up of its staff by about 10% was part of an aggressive expansion plan and that the new staffers would be in place by Jan. 31. The company is looking to add computer programmers, data base administrators, analysts, and others.

In September, Coldwell Banker announced plans to double its number of company-owned and franchise offices in the Los Angeles area over the next year.

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