The median price paid for a home in California was $244,000 in February, down 2% from one year ago, according to DataQuick. It’s the fifth straight month of yearly declines after 11 months of increases. While the median price in California remains above the $221,000 low in April 2009, it has been cut nearly in half from the $484,000 peak in early 2007. The steep decline has pushed more Californians underwater than in almost any other state. There, 32% of homeowners owe more on their mortgage than the home is worth, trailing only Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Michigan, according to recent data from CoreLogic (CLGX). That percentage is more than three times the amount in Texas. Prices will continue to drop as long as foreclosed properties take up such a large percentage of home sales. There were 27,320 sales in February, down 2.8% from one year ago. Of those, 40.1% of the properties had been foreclosed on in the previous year. However, that percentage is on the decline, down from 40.4% in January, 44.3% one year ago and 58.5% at its peak in February 2009. Short sales, though, are on the way up. These transactions made up 18.9% of the market in February, up from 17.6% one year ago and 11.2% two years ago. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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