Prices, sales in Southern California home market rise in December

The Southern California housing market picked up speed in December, capping a year of improvement that saw rising sales and prices.

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The median price in the six-county region rose 1% from November to $443,000, data firm CoreLogic said Tuesday. Compared to a year earlier, prices were up 6.7%. Sales surged as well, jumping 9.8% from December 2014.  For the year as a whole, sales were up 8.1%.

CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage said that the December sales surge was helped by transactions that normally would have closed in November, but were held up as the real estate industry adjusted to new federal mortgage rules that took effect in October.

Sales had slowed recently as the summer buying season faded. Experts also say families are increasingly having trouble affording a home as prices rise.

For that reason, many economists expect price increases to slow in the coming year.

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The California Assn. of Realtors projects the state’s median to rise 3.2%, compared to 6.2%  in 2015.

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