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Bay Area home sales plunge in December; tight inventory blamed

Real Estate Sales

San Francisco Bay Area home sales tumbled to a six-year low in December, indicating a meager supply of houses on the market, according to a new report.

Buyers in the nine-county region purchased 6,714 new and resale houses and condos last month, the lowest December level since 2007 and 12.7% below December 2012, research firm DataQuick said Wednesday.

Sales fell in all counties, except San Mateo, where sales rose 18% from a year earlier.

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Home prices in the tech-flush Bay Area continued to post strong annual gains, although at a slower pace than earlier in 2013. The median has held at about the same level since summer. Over the year, prices jumped 23.9% to $548,500 in December.

Although home prices have risen more than 20% year-over-year for 14 straight months, the median price is still far below the $665,000 peak during the housing bubble.

Besides slowing price appreciation, there were other signs the market is normalizing. Distressed sales and investor purchases both declined over the year.

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