Firm: Calif median home price rises in month

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Posted: Nov 19, 2009 4:31 PM

A tracking firm says the median home price in California increased more than 2 percent last month from September to its highest level in nearly a year.

San Diego-based MDA DataQuick said in a report released Thursday that the increase was due to a dip in foreclosures and an uptick in sales within high-end markets.

The firm says the median for the state increased to $257,000 last month from $251,000 in September, but was down almost 8 percent from $276,000 in October 2008.

DataQuick also says nearly 41,300 homes were sold in the state in October, up almost 3 percent from September, but down more than 2 percent from about 42,300 in October 2008.

Foreclosures accounted for about 41 percent of all sales.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The median home price in Northern California recorded its first year-over-year increase in nearly two years, a fresh sign that the housing market is undergoing a sustained recovery, a tracking firm said in a report released Thursday.

The median for the nine-county area increased 4 percent to $390,000 last month from $375,000 in October 2008, San Diego-based MDA DataQuick said. The last time the median sale price posted a year-over-year gain was in November 2007, when it grew less than 2 percent.

Last month's median was also up nearly 7 percent from $365,000 in September, the firm said.

DataQuick president John Walsh said the increase was due to an uptick in sales within high-end markets and a dip in foreclosures, as lenders and loan servicers increasingly pursue short sales and loan modifications as an alternative to the costly foreclosure process.

Foreclosures accounted for about 32 percent of the region's home sales, the lowest level since June 2008, the firm said.

"The big picture is that prices in many areas appear to be bouncing along bottom," Walsh said. "Whether that bottom is permanent is the subject of endless debate right now."

DataQuick also said more than 7,900 homes were sold in the region in October, up about 1 percent from September and more than 4 percent in October 2008.