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California home prices climb 8 percent in June
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — California home prices rose sharply last month to the highest levels in more than two years, a research firm said Wednesday.

The statewide median price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $274,000 in June, up more than 8 percent from the same period last year, and the highest since May 2010, San Diego-based DataQuick said.

More than 41,000 homes were sold in the state last month, up more than 5 percent from last year. Foreclosed properties, which tend to sell at steep discounts, were a much smaller part of the sales mix, DataQuick said.

Of the existing homes that sold in June, 25 percent were properties that had been foreclosed during the past year, down from 35 percent a year ago.

San Francisco Bay area home prices hit a four-year high in June, due in part to a shift in the market that saw foreclosures wane and buyers snap up costlier residences, the firm said.

The median price for new and existing homes and condominiums in the nine-county region reached $417,000 in June, up more than 10 percent from the same period last year, DataQuick said.

Last month's median was the highest since it was $447,000 in August 2008. However, the median price is still well off its peak of $665,000 in mid-2007.

Home sales last month jumped to nearly 8,600, up 7 percent from the same period last year.

"Some of today's stats are similar to what we saw in the thick of the housing downturn back in 2009, only in reverse: Instead of foreclosure re-sales soaring, they're waning, and instead of high-end sales slumping, they're posting some of the larger sales gains," DataQuick president John Walsh said.

He added that last month's jump in the median sale price might, to some extent, reflect prices edging a bit higher in certain markets, but it's mostly a reflection of the change in market mix.

The market is also being helped by slightly improved mortgage availability and ultra-low interest rates, the firm said.

Home sales in the region increased on a year-over-year basis for the 12th month in a row.

Southern California's housing market saw similar gains. The median price of new and existing houses and condominiums in the six-county region reached $300,000 in June, up 5.3 percent from $285,000 during the same period last year, research firm DataQuick said.

Distressed sales, which include foreclosures, accounted for 42.2 percent of existing home sales last month, the lowest since February 2008.

The number of homes sold in Southern California reached 22,075 in June, up 7.5 percent from 20,532 a year earlier, DataQuick said.

County breakdowns showed how coastal areas were driving overall gains.