Sales in November picked up from the previous month in the state of California and nationwide. This is a sign that the market is recovering on its own, according to REALTOR® officials.

The California Association of REALTORS® reported last week  that California home sales rose in November, though down from the previous year. Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled 490,950 in November, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations statewide. Sales were up 9.2 percent from October’s revised pace of 449,480, but down 8.6 percent from November 2009. 

The statewide median price declined from both the previous month and previous year. The November 2010 median price was $296,820, down 2.4 percent from October’s $304,220 median price and down 2.5 percent from the revised $304,550 median price in November 2009.

Santa Clara County home sales rose 6 percent in November from that of the previous month, but were down 8.6 percent from November 2009. The November median sales price of a single-family detached home was $589,980, down 7.5 percent from October when it was $637,750, and down 2.5 percent from November 2009, when it was $605,000.

“Sales last year were spurred by the government home buyer tax credit program,” said Jeff Bell, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “We are now seeing market gains, without help from the stimulus program, and this is a positive sign.”

The Silicon Valley cities of Saratoga, Los Gatos and Cupertino continued to rank among the top 10 cities with the highest median home price during November 2010. Saratoga’s median home price in November was $1,235,000; Los Gatos, $850,000; and Cupertino, $850,000.

The National Association of REALTORS® also reported last week  that November’s existing-home sales (completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) rose 5.6 percent to 4.68 million from 4.43 million in October, but are 27.9 percent from November 2009. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,600 in November, up 0.4 percent from November 2009. Distressed homes accounted for 33 percent of November sales.

“Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorable,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Yun says the relationship between mortgage interest rates, home prices and family income continues to be the most favorable on record for buying a home since NAR started measuring in 1970.