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San Francisco Area Bay Home Prices Surge Most Since 1988

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Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- San Francisco Bay area home prices surged 32 percent last month, the biggest increase from a year earlier in at least 24 years, as fewer distressed and more higher-end properties sold, DataQuick said.

The median price paid for a home in the nine-county Bay area climbed to $442,750 last month from $335,500 in December 2011, according to the San Diego-based data provider. The median was the highest since August 2008, when it was $447,000, and the year-over-year gain was the largest in DataQuick records going back to 1988.

“At least half that increase is due to a change in market mix, with sales shifting away from low-cost distress homes toward more mid-market and move-up homes,” DataQuick said today in a statement.

The number of homes sold for less than $500,000 decreased 13 percent from December 2011, while those that sold for more than $500,000 jumped 61 percent, DataQuick reported.

A total of 7,832 new and resale houses and condominiums sold in the region last month, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, DataQuick said. A tight supply of homes on the market and “a fussy home-loan environment” restrained the number of properties sold, DataQuick said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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