California’s residential real estate sector continued wilting in July, with sales plunging 30 percent and the median price falling under the year-ago level in more than half the state’s major markets, a trade association said Thursday. Los Angeles County fared better, though, with the median price increasing an annual 6.8 percent to a record $581,140 even though sales declined 25.6 percent from their year-ago level, said the report from the California Association of Realtors. Sales took substantial falls from a year ago in all 21 markets for which statistics were available, and only two recorded gains from June. The biggest drop, 50 percent, came in Monterey County and the smallest, 23.4 percent, was in Santa Cruz County. Santa Barbara County’s South Coast had the biggest annual price decline, 16.3 percent to $1.1 million, and sales there fell 27.2 percent. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesPrices declined from June in 15 markets. “I think we’re seeing a significant correction in the market,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, vice president and chief economist of the Los Angeles-based association. “There’s really a standoff right now (between buyers and sellers) that’s resulting in a lower level of sales.” This is the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year sales declines. The percentage increase is big because the counts are being compared to record levels of a year ago, Appleton-Young said. The percentage decline should moderate in the fall, because that is when the sales slide started. “We’re sort of meeting ourselves in the doorway (because) we had such high numbers a year ago,” said John Karevoll, an analyst at market tracker DataQuick Information Systems. “The picture today is one of relative balance. It’s the picture of a year ago that was kind of off the charts.” The report showed that: If the market matched July’s pace for all of the year, there would be 453,980 sales statewide, which means this year would look a lot like 1997. The median price of a house increased 5.1 percent from a year ago to $567,360 and was up 1.5 percent from June. In Los Angeles County, the median price increased 0.2 percent from June and sales fell 16.4 percent month-to-month. In the High Desert, which includes the Antelope Valley, the median price increased 11.5 percent to $333,330. Sales fell an annual 25.2 percent and were down 17.7 percent from June. In the Inland Empire, the median price increased 6.8 percent to a record $409,090 even though sales plunged an annual 40 percent and were off 18 percent from June. At the end of July, there was a 7.5 month supply of inventory, up from 2.9 months a year ago but well under the record 18.9 months in February 1991. The median price increased in 72 percent, or 283 out of 393 cities and communities, from a year ago. (Statistics for Ventura County were not available.) In addition to high asking prices, rising interest rates also dragged down the market. During July, the 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate averaged 6.76, an 18.6 percent increase from a year ago, according to Freddie Mac. The adjustable rates average soared an annual 31.6 percent in July to 5.79 percent. “I think it’s a much harder turn that people expected. You could almost call it the Three Bears kind of a turn. Some are saying hard, some are saying soft and some are in the middle,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. [email protected] (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!