San Francisco Bay Area home prices were nearly flat in December and the sales pace for that month was the slowest in a decade, according to a report by real estate research firm DataQuick Information Systems. DataQuick reported 7,488 new and existing home and condo sales in December, up 3.9 percent compared to November and down 19.9 percent compared to December 2005. Sales have declined on a year-over-year basis for the past 21 months, DataQuick reported, and December sales were the lowest for that month since December 1996, when 7,180 homes were sold. The average December sales total since 1988 is 8,339. "Clearly the market is in a lull while potential buyers wait for lower prices," stated Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president. "Because of seasonal factors prices may edge down during the next two months, but are likely to move up again in spring. An important factor is whether or not mortgage interest rates stay where they are. If they do, we should expect the market to pick up...
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