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Southern California Home Prices Climb to Four-Year High

Southern California home prices rose to a four-year high last month, helped by an increase in transactions involving more-expensive properties and a decline in foreclosure sales, DataQuick reported today.

The median paid for houses and condominiums was $309,000 in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties, the highest since August 2008, when the median was $330,000, the San Diego-based data provider said in a statement. Prices were up 1 percent from July and almost 11 percent from a year earlier.

Home demand is rising because of “super-low” mortgage rates and a recovering economy, DataQuick said. A declining supply of homes on the market, “a substantial increase in mid-to high-end transactions,” and a drop in the sale of foreclosures, which tend to sell at a discount, also helped buoy the median price, the firm said.

The number of Southern California homes that sold last month for $200,000 to $400,000 rose 11 percent, and those priced between $300,000 and $800,000 jumped 23 percent, DataQuick said. Sales of homes priced at more than $800,000 climbed 19 percent from a year earlier.

“August was the strongest month for home sales so far this year, and the strongest for an August in six years,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in the statement. “Much of the pick-up in activity reflects a continuation of trends we’ve seen for months, like the unleashing of pent-up demand in move-up markets and high levels of cash and investor buying.”

A total of 22,438 houses and condominiums sold in Southern California last month, up 9 percent from July and 14 percent from a year earlier, DataQuick said. The tally was the highest for the month of August in six years.

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