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O.C.'s median home price and sales activity jump

May numbers improve due to government incentives, low mortgage rates, says MDA DataQuick.

By Kristen SchottPublished: June 15, 2010 10:28 AM

Courtesy of Fotolia
Orange County's median home price and sales numbers got a welcome boost in May, partly due to government tax credits, low mortgage rates and more activity in higher-priced areas, according to a new report from MDA DataQuick.

The median home price rose to $450,000 in the county, up about 10 percent from the same time last year. It's the ninth consecutive year-over-year gain, according to the real estate information service. The price also increased from April when it hit $430,000.

For the six-county Southern California region, which includes Orange, L.A., Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura, the median hit $305,000, up a whopping 22.5 percent from the same time last year. The number also increased from April.

The regional uptick in the median could be attributed to a shift to higher-priced home sales in coastal areas such as Orange County, according to MDA DataQuick.

"Last month's jump in the regional median sales price is the flipside of what we saw a year ago, when low-cost inland foreclosures dominated and sales in costlier coastal towns struggled for a pulse," said John Walsh, president of MDA DataQuick. "Today, the bargains on foreclosures are fewer and farther between, and the high-end is approaching a normal sales rate."

However, the May numbers were driven by government incentives, and he said the market will have to "stand on its own again" in the latter half of the year.

Sales rose 22 percent in Orange County, compared to the same time last year. Buyers snapped up 3,257 properties, compared to 2,667 in May 2009. It's the seventh consecutive month of yearly gains, according to MDA DataQuick. The number also increased from 2,669 in April.

In the larger region, sales jumped about 7 percent to 22,270, up from 20,775 in May 2009. Numbers also increased month-over-month.

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