Southern California home prices rose sharply in December

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A research firm said Southern California home prices rose sharply last month as buyers snapped up pricier properties along the coast. 

DataQuick said sales were strongest in Orange County, the region's most expensive. Sales fell in inland areas.

The tracking firm said the median price for new and existing houses and condominiums reached $323,000 in December, up nearly 20 percent from the same period of 2011. The sales price was just shy of a 53-month high of $330,000.

Nearly 20,300 homes were sold during the month, a 5 percent increase from a year earlier.

DataQuick said more than one of every three homes was purchased with cash, many of them for more than $500,000. The trend toward cash purchases reflects difficulties getting big loans and investors wanting to park assets in real estate.

“The housing market had more to offer in 2012 than many anticipated," said DataQuick President John Walsh. "A lot of markets not only found a price bottom as foreclosures waned but they started to see their first meaningful gains in nearly two years. Buyers on the fence were drawn back into the housing game by amazingly low mortgage rates, a brighter jobs outlook and, in some cases, a renewed sense of urgency.

All homes

Dec-11

Dec-12

%Chng

Dec-11

Dec-12

%Chng

Los Angeles

6,591

7,198

9.2%

$305,000

$352,000

15.4%

Orange

2,572

3,070

19.4%

$400,000

$470,000

17.5%

Riverside

3,584

3,248

-9.4%

$194,000

$231,000

19.1%

San Bernardino

2,418

2,135

-11.7%

$150,000

$180,000

20.0%

San Diego

3,311

3,757

13.5%

$315,000

$366,000

16.2%

Ventura

771

866

12.3%

$325,000

$370,000

13.8%

SoCal

19,247

20,274

5.3%

$270,000

$323,000

19.6%

With contributions by Ed Joyce

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