San Diego Median Home Price Rises in Month

The median home price in California increased 14 percent last month from March 2009, its highest year-over-year increase in more than four years, a tracking firm reported Thursday.The increase was driven by a boost in sales in expensive coastal markets and a drop in lower-cost inland communities, San Diego-based MDA DataQuick said.
The median for the state rose to $255,000 from $223,000 in March 2009. Last month’s median was up about 2 percent from $249,000 in February.
It was the state’s fifth consecutive month of year-to-year price increases after more than two year of declines, and it’s highest percentage year-to-year increase since November 2005.
But DataQuick president John Walsh cautioned that the data revealed a shift in the sales mix toward higher-end homes, not an across-the-board increase in prices.
“It’s a statistical quirk,” he said. “A variety of data indicate prices in many communities have more or less flattened out or risen modestly, while they remain soft in others.”
DataQuick said nearly 37,300 homes were sold in March, up almost 33 percent from February.
The firm stressed that it is normal for sales to rise sharply between February and March. Increases in that period have averaged almost 37 percent since DataQuick began keeping records in 1988.
The firm also said sales were up 3 percent from about 36,200 in March 2009.
Statewide foreclosures comprised nearly 41 percent of all resales last month, their lowest level since November 2009, DataQuick said.
In the nine-county region of Northern California, sales jumped about 11 percent to 6,990 in March from a year earlier. That figure rose 5 percent to more than 20,000 in a six-county region of Southern California.
The median home price in Northern California increased 31 percent to $380,000 last month from $290,000 in February 2009, reaching a three-year high. In Southern California, the median price rose 14 percent to $285,000, up from $250,000 in the year-ago period.
Walsh said the future stability of the state’s housing market would depend heavily on the strengthening of the broader economy, which faced several risks.
“Government housing stimulus is fading, and there are threats from higher mortgage rates, more distressed properties hitting the market and continued job losses,” he said.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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