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Southland Home Sales, Median Price Rise Above Year Ago

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La Jolla, CA—Southern California home sales rose sharply in October as move-up buyers joined investors, shifting the mix of homes selling up a notch as foreclosure resales hit a five-year low. The median price paid for a home rose nearly 17 percent from a year earlier, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 21,075 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 18.0 percent from 17,859 sales in September, and up 25.2 percent from 16,829 sales in October 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last month’s sales were the highest for the month of October since 22,132 homes sold in October 2009, though they were 11.1 percent below the October average of 23,709 since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. The low for October sales was 12,913 in 2007, while the high was 37,642 in 2003.

The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland was $315,000 last month, the same as in September and up 16.7 percent from $270,000 in October 2011. The September and October medians are the highest since the median was $330,000 in August 2008. The Southland median has risen or held steady month-to-month for nine consecutive months and has increased year-over-year for the past seven months.

The median price and other price measures are rising mainly for two reasons: First, higher demand, triggered largely by ultra-low mortgage rates, has coincided with a dwindling supply of homes for sale, which pushes prices up. Second, this year there’s been a big change in the types of homes selling: Discounted foreclosures are a smaller share of sales, while move-up homes are a larger share, which puts upward pressure on the median price.

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