Sales of existing homes in California ended a three-month run of gains in February, dropping 9% from January and down 4% from February, 2010, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

Existing home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 497,660 in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR associations and MLSs statewide.

Prices also declined. The median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California fell 2.8% from January and 2.5% year-over-year to $271,320, the lowest since May 2009, when it was $263,440.

"The market pulled back in February, following three months of sales gains, when the ramifications of the robo-signing delays from last fall pushed sales into the period from November of last year to January," said C.A.R. vp and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young. "February¹s sales drop indicates the effects of the foreclosure freeze are diminishing, and the market is returning to a more moderate sales pace."

Inventory of single-family detached homes was 7.3 months in February, up from 6.7 months in January and 6 months in February of last year. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 64.4 days in February, compared with 39.2 days for the same period a year ago.

The national Realtor association is slated to report on existing home sales Monday morning.