The housing market in California is experiencing a trend opposite to the national market, data released yesterday and today reveal.

The state’s Realtors reported a 28.7-percent drop in the number of homes sold last month compared to a year ago, but the median price was at $548,680 – up 2 percent from October. That report was released by the California Association of Realtors today. (Read the full release here.)

From the C.A.R. release:

“While it appears that home sales have stabilized over the past three months, it’s too soon to say whether or not the market has bottomed out,” said C.A.R. President Colleen Badagliacco.

The national housing market, however, posted a slight increase in the rate of sales despite a record drop in prices. The national median price of a home for resale in October was $221,000, down 3.5 percent from the same month last year.

Today’s release from the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales edging up 0.5 percent from last October.

The N.A.R. economists were more optimistic than C.A.R.’s Badagliacco. Here’s a statement from David Lereah, chief economist for the N.A.R.:

“…After a period of price adjustment, we’ll see more confidence in the market and a lift to home sales should be apparent in the first quarter of 2007.”

Also today, Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke attributed the national economic slowdown primarily to “a cooling of the housing market.” You can read a Washington Post story about his speech, or the full transcript of his speech.

KELLY BENNETT

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