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California home prices rise 19% in November
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — California home prices posted a ninth straight annual increase in November as buyers competed for a limited number of available properties, a research firm reported Thursday.

The median price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $291,000, up 19.3 percent from $244,000 in the same period last year, DataQuick said. The median price jumped $6,000 from October.

There were 37,481 homes sold in November, up 14.7 percent from last year, the San Diego-based firm reported.

The numbers provide the latest evidence of a recovery in California's housing market as a limited supply of homes for sale has buyers bidding up prices.

The California Association of Realtors' index of unsold houses was 3.1 months in October — the latest period available — compared with 5.5 months a year earlier. The figure represents how long it would take to sell all existing single-family homes on the market at the current pace. Supply in a normal market is considered to be six to seven months.

Foreclosed properties made up a smaller part of the sales mix in November, which lifted the overall median price because those properties tend to sell at steep discounts. DataQuick said properties that were foreclosed upon during the previous year accounted for 16.6 percent of existing homes sold, compared with 32.9 percent a year earlier and 58.5 percent in February 2009.

Fears of a new wave of foreclosures have continued to fade. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported that 6.56 percent of California home loans were at least one payment behind at the end of September, down from 7.68 percent a year earlier.

The median home price in the San Francisco Bay area was $291,000 in November, up 19.3 percent from $244,000 a year earlier, DataQuick said. The median price climbed $6,000 from October.

There were 7,296 homes sold in the nine-county region, up 15.5 percent from November 2011. It was the Bay area's highest November tally in six years.

DataQuick reported Wednesday that Southern California's median home price was $321,000, up $6,000 from the previous month and up 16.7 percent from $275,000 last year. There were 19,285 homes sold in the six-county region, up 14.2 percent from November 2011.