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October sales of California homes rise as prices fall

The number of new and previously owned homes and condos sold statewide last month rose 4.3% from October 2010 as the median home sale price dropped 6.3% from a year earlier.

November 17, 2011|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Time

California's home prices eroded further in October, which helped boost sales compared with the same month last year.

The median price for a home sold in California last month was $240,000, down 6.3% from October 2010 and 3.6% from September, according to DataQuick, a San Diego real estate information service. October's performance marked the 13th consecutive year-over-year monthly decrease in the median, the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

DataQuick estimated that 34,087 new and previously owned homes and condos sold statewide in October, up 4.3% from October 2010 but down 3.7% from September. Since 1988, October sales have averaged 43,528.

Sales of higher-priced homes fell sharply after the federal government reduced the size of mortgages it would back, starting Oct. 1, DataQuick said.

Foreclosures remained a significant part of the market; so did short sales, transactions in which the bank allows a property to be sold for less than the amount of the debt on the home. More than half the previously owned homes that sold in California last month were either foreclosures or short sales.

In Southern California, home sales increased 0.5% from October 2010 and dropped 7.3% from September, to 16,829. The $270,000 median price for the region fell 4.6% from October 2010 and 3.6% from September.

In the Bay Area, October sales rose 5.3% from the same month a year earlier and fell 4.5% from September, to 6,444. The median price for the region fell 8.6% from October 2010 and 4.1% from September, to $350,000.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

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