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Realtors: Valley home sales, prices improve in August

August marked the fifth consecutive month that sales were higher than the same month the previous year.August marked the fifth consecutive month that sales were higher than the same month the previous year.California home sales declined in August but maintained a strong pace over last year.

August marked the fifth consecutive month that sales were higher than the same month the previous year. 

According to a report by the California Association of Realtors, 511,240 single-family homes sold in the month, down 3.4 percent from July but up 2.3 percent from August 2011.

The median price of a home picked up to $343,820, 3 percent higher than July prices and 15.5 percent higher than last year.

In Fresno County, sales increased 4.7 percent in August but declined 10.4 percent compared to last year. The median home price of $151,110 was up 1.4 percent from July and 6.8 percent from a year ago.

Kings County's sales in the month were even with July but up 3.5 percent from August 2011. At $155,710, the median home price was 10.3 percent higher than the prior month and 19.8 higher than last year.

Madera County saw home sales pick up 5.7 percent over July but drop 17.8 percent compared to last year. The median home price of $127,500 was 7.7 percent higher than July but 1 percent below last year's price.

In Tulare County, sales improved 10.5 percent in the month but declined 1.7 percent compared to a year ago. Prices picked up 7.4 percent over July and 4.9 percent over last year to a median price of $130,800 in August.

California's unsold inventory index, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, was 3.2 months in August compared to 3.5 months in July and 5.2 months in August 2011.

The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home fell to 41.1 days compared to 43.2 days in July and 52.5 days in August 2011.

"A lack of inventory remains an issue, as the housing supply fell more than 30 percent from last year," said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold, in a press release. "Inventory levels are at at the lowest levels we've seen in seven years and we are starting to see the supply shortage conditions having a negative impact on sales in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, where REO (bank-owned) properties are in short supply."