California Home Prices Up 11%

From The Wall Street Journal.

The California housing market is showing more signs of stabilization—at least for now—as sales of bank-owned and bargain-basement homes in inland areas partially give way to sales of costlier homes toward the coast, according to a new report.

California's median home price rose 11.2% in February from February 2009, although home sales in the state slipped for the second consecutive month compared with a year earlier, according to a report released Thursday by MDA DataQuick, a La Jolla, Calif., housing-data provider.

The median home price increased to $249,000 in February from $224,000 a year earlier, DataQuick said. The median price rose 0.8% from January 2010. Home sales in the state fell 3.8% in February from a year earlier to 28,111 sales, but were up 0.9% from January 2010, DataQuick said.

The San Francisco Bay Area's median home price rose 20% from February 2009 to $354,000, while home sales fell from year-earlier levels for the second straight month. In Southern California, the median home price rose 10% to $275,000, led by a 13% rise in San Diego, while the number of home sales rose from year-earlier levels for the 20th consecutive month.

The increase in the statewide median price—the biggest year-over-year jump since March 2006—partially reflected a shift in the types of homes being sold in the state, as fewer foreclosures and stiff competition for bargains ate up inventory at the market's lower end, said DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage. "There has been a shift in what's selling and what's not selling," Mr. LePage said. "The high end has woken up, whereas it was comatose a year ago."

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