California home prices inch up in December

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California home prices ticked up 1.1% in December from the month prior, according to data released today, continuing a slow but steady trend of improvement for the Golden State’s housing market.

The median price paid for a home in December was $264,000, up from $261,000 in November, and up 6% from $249,000 for December 2008, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

The year-over-year increase was the second in a row following 27 months of decline. The median – which is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less -- peaked at $484,000 in early 2007 and hit a low of $221,000 last April, DataQuick said.

An estimated 41,837 homes were sold last month, a 16.7% increase from November and a 10.6% increase from December 2008. Forty-one percent of all December resale homes were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was an increase from a revised 40.1% in November, down from 55.2% in December a year ago and down from a peak of 58.8% last February, DataQuick said.

The typical mortgage payment home buyers committed themselves to paying in December was $1,125, up from $1,106 in November and $1,110 in December 2008. Adjusted for inflation, December’s mortgage payment was 47.3% below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle and 57.3% below the current cycle’s June 2006 peak, DataQuick said.


-- Alejandro Lazo