San Francisco Bay Area home prices rose at their fastest rate in nearly three years and sales were at near-record levels last month, the result of continued demand and an accommodating mortgage finance environment, according to DataQuick Information Systems. The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $457,000 last month, shy of December's record $458,000. Last month's median was up 3.2 percent from $443,000 in January and up 13.4 percent from $403,000 for February last year. The year-over-year increase was the highest since March 2001 when the median was $386,000, up 17.3 percent from $329,000 a year earlier. A total of 7,412 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county region in February. That was up 4.4 percent from 7,102 the month before and up 10.6 percent from 6,704 for February last year, according to DataQuick. Last month was the second-strongest February DataQuick has in its records, which go back to 1988. The strongest was February 2000 when sales tota...
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