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California Home Prices Fall 26 Percent Amid Foreclosures

A research firm reports a glut of foreclosed homes led to a sharp drop in California home prices in March. bought near the height of the boom.

San Diego-based DataQuick Information Systems says more than 38 percent of California homes sold in March had been foreclosed at some point during the previous year. Figures for previous years are not yet available but company analyst John Karevoll says the March percentage is believed to be an all-time high for the state.

The state's median home price was $358,000 last month, down from $484,000 in March 2007, when the market peaked. The number of new and resale houses and condos sold during the month fell 38.3 percent from a year earlier to 24,565.

DataQuick says the numbers reflect difficulty in getting financing for expensive homes. In March 2007, loans over $417,000 accounted for nearly 40 percent of home sales. Last month, jumbo loans accounted for less than 15 percent of sales.

Karevoll says foreclosed homes in California sell for about 15 percent than non-foreclosed homes in the same neighborhoods, bringing all prices down.

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