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by CareyBot

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 ...