The California housing market is poised to set new sales and median price records for the second consecutive year, according to the California Association of Realtors.CAR president Ann Pettijohn said sales of detached, existing single-family homes are expected to hit 596,500 units, up 4.2% from last year's record of 572,500 units. The median price will "easily achieve a new high" this year and is expected to reach $369,500, up 17%, she said. CAR said repeat homebuyers have "increasingly dominated" the residential real estate market, accounting for 70% of home sales in 2003. First-time homebuyers are more likely than repeat buyers to take out a second mortgage, and many turn to condominiums and townhomes as more affordable options, the association said. "Yet, despite the fact that there is a wider array of first-time homebuyer financing programs than ever before, first-time homebuyers as a share of all homebuyers have never been lower in the history of CAR housing market research," said Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist of the association. "With tight market conditions and repeat homebuyers driving the market, rapid price appreciation has left homeownership out of reach for many prospective first-time buyers." CAR can be found online at http://www.car.org.

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