San Francisco Bay Area home sales grew 14.2% from last year in February with the region recording 5,702 sales, up from 4,991 a year ago, DataQuick said.

The San Diego-based real estate research firm said sales are up over year-prior levels for the eighth straight month, suggesting a tepid recovery could be under way.

New and existing home prices continue drag, with the February median of $325,500 down 0.3% from $326,000 in January and 3.6% from $337,250 a year ago.

Prices in San Francisco hit their peak of $665,000 in June 2007 before plummeting to $290,000 in March 2009 after the nation fell into a prolonged recession.

Much like the Southern California market, distressed home sales accounted for half of the Bay Area’s resale market in February. Foreclosure sales alone made up 27.4% of all resales in the market, while short sales represented 23.1%.

The average monthly mortgage payment in the Bay Area hit $1,225 in February, down from $1,233 in January and $1,440 a year earlier.

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