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Bay Area housing market improves in April

May 17, 2012|By Alejandro Lazo
  • Bay Area home sales improved last month but prices continued to slump.
Bay Area home sales improved last month but prices continued to slump. (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

The Bay Area housing market strengthened last month as sales increased and the region’s median home price rose over the same month a year prior.

The median, which is the point at which half the homes in the area sold for more and half for less, popped 8.3% to $360,000 in April. It was the first year-over-year increase since September 2010, according to real estate tracking firm DataQuick of San Diego.

“It appears that the market is taking a step in the direction of normalization, but only a step,” DataQuick President John Walsh said. “The mortgage market is critical, as is market mix and the receding importance of foreclosure resales.”

Bay Area sales of houses, townhomes and condominiums rose to their strongest pace for an April since 2006.  A total of 7,675 new and previously owned homes sold in the nine-county region, flat over the prior month and up 13.1% from the same month last year.

Foreclosures made up a narrower share of the market for previously owned homes, helping boost prices. Foreclosures accounted for just 21.7% of homes in April, the lowest since 18.7% in January.

The number of short sales, in which a lender allows a home to be sold for less than the outstanding mortgage debt on the property, made up about 18.1% of the resales last month.

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