Median Home Prices Jump 20% in Southern California

Southern California’s median home price jumped 20 percent in December from a year ago, driven by strong investment activity, a record number of cash buyers and a continued shift to mid- and high-end sales, a market tracker said Tuesday.

Sales also showed strength, increasing 5 percent from December 2011 and hitting their highest level for the month in three years, said La Jolla-based DataQuick.

Last month, the median home price across the region increased from $270,000 to $323,000 a year earlier. The median made double-digit percentage gains in all six counties.

“The question when the year started was, would the market find a (price) bottom. I think there are far fewer people worried now about prices falling and significantly more concerned about prices going up,” said DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage.

“We’ve answered the question: Yeah, we found a bottom.”

For all of Southern California, sales of new and previously owned houses and condominiums increased to 20,274 last month from 19,247 in December 2011.
Riverside and San Bernardino counties were the only ones with declining sales, DataQuick said.

For the full year, sales increased 10 percent, from 214,362 properties in 2011 to 235,119.