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2016: The year in housing

2016 was another strong year for the housing market in San Diego, espically for sellers.

San Diego County's housing market hasn't fully recovered from the recession, but it is getting close. Last year, 23 ZIP codes hit new high median home prices, according to real estate tracker CoreLogic. The countywide median in 2016, $490,000, fell just shy of the $500,000 peak reached in 2005 and 2006.

It remained a seller's market with the average days on market for a home dropping to 33 — 50 percent less than it was 10 years ago. The scarcity of homes was a factor in prices and demand.

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There was a 1.7 month supply of single-family homes in December and 1 month for condos, said the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. Analysts consider six months of inventory a balanced market because anything lower favors sellers and means fewer choices for buyers.

The booming market's biggest winners were Northwest Carlsbad, Del Mar, South Oceanside and Cardiff. All the communities experienced more than 70 percent home price increases since 2003. The smallest increases, all below 10 percent, were downtown, Chula Vista and Rancho San Diego.

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For renters, the housing market likely had less of a benefit last year even though wage data for 2016 is not yet available.

From 2006 to 2015, the median home price went down 8 percent as the recession severely reduced home values and has only recently recovered. Average monthly rent was up 28 percent in that time period while the median household income lagged behind, rising 7.9 percent over the decade.

There may be relief coming in 2017. Most analysts predict home and rent prices to increase at a slower rate than the last few years.

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