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Southern California Home Sales Rise In January

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A research firm says Southern California posted its strongest home sales for a January in six years amid heavy interest from investors.

DataQuick said Wednesday that more than 16,000 single-family houses and condominiums sold in the six-county region, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

The median sales price was $321,000, down slightly from December but up nearly 24 percent from $260,000 a year earlier.

Pricier, coastal regions led by Orange County posted the strongest sales gains. Sales above $800,000 nearly doubled and sales between $300,000 and $800,000 increased by half, while sales below $300,000 fell.

DataQuick says absentee buyers -- mostly investors and second-home purchasers -- bought nearly one of every three homes sold. Buyers paying cash bought more than one of every three homes sold.

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