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Home prices in Southern California hit four-year high

Southern California is on the rebound when it comes to home prices, but sales are beginning to fall as inventory levels decline, DataQuick said in a report Friday.

During the month of September, counties in Southern California saw the median home price edge up to $315,000, a 1.9% jump from $309,000 in August and a 12.5% increase from September of 2011.

It's also the highest median in more than four years.

San Diego-based DataQuick attributes the jump to a modest supply of homes for sale and demand sparked by recent levels of affordability in the market.

Still, prices are ticking up and sales are falling with low-end deals and foreclosure resales hitting five-year lows. 

Low mortgage rates and a falling supply of homes are doing two things in the region: sparking new sales and cutting back on supply levels. Meanwhile, more mid-to-high end homebuyers are moving into the market to pick up the slack while taking advantage of low interest rates.

"It appears that not quite half of the 12.5% year-over-year gain in last month's median sale price can be attributed to a shift in the types of homes selling," DataQuick said. "In September, price levels for the lowest-cost third of Southern California's housing stock rose 13.2% year-over-year, while they rose 7.7% in the middle and 3.5% in the top third."

Sale levels fell with only 17,859 properties sold in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange during the month. That number is down 20.4% from the 22,438 sales recorded a month earlier and down 1.6% from last year.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com

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