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Bay Area home prices rise in October, sales fall

Bay Area home prices rose last month in the increasingly expensive region, while sales fell from a year earlier.

The median sales price in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area increased 1.8% from September to reach $539,750 in October, research firm DataQuick said Wednesday.  Home prices are now 29.7% higher than last year.

Buyers scooped up 7,595 existing and newly built houses and condos last month, 3.9% fewer than last year. Sales jumped 6.4% from September.

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Distressed sales continued to decline last month. Homes that had been foreclosed upon within the last year, as well as short sales, accounted for 14% of existing home sales. That’s down from 35% last year.

"We are still a ways away, but the market is slowly re-establishing equilibrium,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a statement.

The median sales price has risen sharply in the Bay Area this year, along with home prices across the state, as the housing market has recovered.  But the region has had an added accelerant: the tech industry. Workers in that industry have helped push prices even higher as they spend what are often hefty pay checks.

Prices, though, remain off their peak of $665,000 in June and July of 2007.

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