A pickup in sales of homes financed by jumbo loans in May helped boost median home prices in the San Francisco Bay Area and the "Southland" region surrounding San Diego and Los Angeles, MDA DataQuick reported.

In the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, the median home price was up 12.3 percent from April to May, to $341,500, DataQuick said — an 18 percent increase from the low of $290,000 seen in March.

The jump was attributed to an increase in sales of homes financed by "jumbo" mortgages above $417,000. Sales of homes requiring jumbo mortgages accounted for 25.5 percent of the Bay Area’s home sales in May, the highest since October.

Two years ago, sales of homes financed by jumbo mortgages accounted for more than 60 percent of sales in the region, and the median home price was $665,000, DataQuick said.

Sales of $800,000-plus existing single-family houses accounted for 13.2 percent of all resales in May, up from 9.8 percent in April and also a high not seen since October

The number of existing homes sold in the San Francisco Bay Area increased for the ninth month in a row, to 7,447, a 19.8 percent increase from the record low seen a year ago.

In Southern California, the median home price in the six-county Southland area increased by 0.8 percent from April to May, to $249,000 — the frist increase since July 2007, DataQuick said.

A total of 20,775 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in May, up 1.3 percent from April and the 11th consecutive month of sales growth.

Homes priced $500,000 and higher made up 17 percent of sales, up from 15.2 percent in April and the largest share since last October, when those homes represented 19.9 percent of sales.

About 12 percent of home sales in the Southland region during May were financed with jumbo loans, compared with 40 percent before the credit crunch hit. Jumbo loans became more expensive and harder to obtain in August 2007, when the secondary market for mortgage-backed securities not guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae dried up.


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