California home sales in May rose 9.3% from April and 17.6% from May 2011 — the highest sales for any May since 54,099 homes sold in May 2006 near the height of the housing bubble, according to DataQuick.

An estimated 41,790 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month energizing a long-struggling housing sector ready for some good news.

Sales have increased on a year-over-year basis for the past 10 months.

California sales for the month of May have varied from a low of 32,223 in 1995 to a high of 67,958 in 2004, while the average is 46,638, according to DataQuick statistics that go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $270,000, up 2.3% from $264,000 in April, and up 8.4% from $249,000 in May 2011.

Distressed property sales still made up a large portion of sales — 46.2% of the state’s resale market last month— showing the market isn't out of the woods yet. But the percentage was the lowest level since April 2008 when it also clocked in at 46.2%.

Of the existing homes sold in May, 28.3% were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year, down from 30.3% in April and down from 35.3% a year ago.

Short sales made up an estimated 18.1% of the homes that resold last month, the same as the month before and up slightly from 17.6% a year earlier.