California’s housing market will continue to recover in 2013, with home sales increasing for the third consecutive year, California Association of Realtors says.

CAR forecasts home sales rising 1.3% in 2013 to 530,000 units from the projected 2012 sales figure of 523,300 homes sold. Existing single-family sales in 2012, it says, will grow 5.1% from the 497,900 homes sold in 2011.

“Sales would be even higher if inventory were less constrained in REO-dominated markets, particularly in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, where there is an extreme shortage of available homes,” CAR President LeFrancis Arnold says. “Sales will be stronger in higher-priced areas, where there are more equity properties and a somewhat greater availability of homes for sale.”

Pending home sales in California increased in August from July even as inventory levels in the sales pipeline declined over year-ago levels.

CAR predicts the statewide median home price will increase a 5.7% to $335,000 in 2013 (see chart below). California median home price will climb 10.9% in 2012 to $317,000 after falling last year.