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San Diego Home Sales Up, But Prices Still Fall

Southern California home sales surged in December, when sales were higher than November but remained well below the historical average for December.

— December home sales numbers are a reflection of how the market performed all year. About a third of all sales involved foreclosures. Another 20 percent of transactions were short-sales, homes sold for less than was owed on the mortgage.

The overall sales numbers were higher than a year ago, but still more than 20 percent below the average number of transactions for the month. There was a small burst of sales activity in December, but not enough to boost the value of homes in the region.

San Diego has nearly 4 percent more sales when compared with December a year ago, but the average price was down almost 5.5 percent.

"Prices continue to be weak because of the weak job growth and the difficulties a lot of people have getting a loan to buy a home," said Andrew LaPage of the real estate tracking firm DataQuick. "There's still an emphasis in the market toward the lower cost distressed properties."

The median San Diego home price fell just over 5 percent from December a year ago. The average price was $315,000. That's down from $333,000 a year ago.

"We think there's still a lot of people sitting tight, waiting for something to happen. Either a clear sign that prices have hit bottom. Or the opportunity to qualify for financing," said LaPage.

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