California home prices edged higher last month as first-time buyers took advantage of a federal tax credit and foreclosure properties made up a smaller slice of the market, fresh data showed Thursday.
The median price paid for a home statewide was $257,000 in October, up 2.4% from September and down 7.6% from October 2008, according to MDA DataQuick, a real estate research firm based in San Diego. It was the narrowest year-over-year decline in the statewide median home price since September 2007.
The median is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
“The low-end housing market is recovering, but slowly,” UC Berkeley economist Kenneth Rosen said. “Prices have bottomed at the entry-level part of the marketplace.”
About 41,280 homes sold statewide last month, a 2.6% increase from September and a 2.4% decrease from October 2008.
Foreclosures made up 41.2% of all previously owned homes on the market, the lowest part of the resale market since May 2008, when it was 39.8%. Foreclosures hit a peak as a percentage of the market in October 2008, when they made up 52.4% of all home resales.
In Southern California, the median price paid for all homes in six counties rose to $280,000, up 1.8% compared with the previous month, and the number of homes sold increased 2.8%.
That compares with larger gains made in the San Francisco Bay Area. The median price paid for all homes in the nine-country region reached $390,000, up 6.8% from September and 4% from October 2008 as homes costing more than $500,000 accounted for a larger portion of sales.
A total of 7,933 homes in the Bay Area sold last month, up 0.7% from 7,879 in September and 4.2% from 7,613 in October 2008.