Home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area experienced their strongest December in more than 16 years, as prices moved to new highs, DataQuick Information Systems reported.

A total of 11,354 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county region in December. That was up 18.3 percent from 9,594 for the month before, and up 26.3 percent from 8,987 for December last year, according to DataQuick.

An increase from November to December is normal for the season.

Last month’s sales count was the highest for any December in DataQuick’s records, which go back to 1988. The strongest December prior to last month was in 1988 when 10,870 homes were sold.

“Obviously there is still quite a bit of demand out there. This shows that potential buyers will do what it takes to get into the home they want. Today’s interest rates help them to do that,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $458,000 last month, a new record. The median was up 0.7 percent from $455,000 for November and up 10.1 percent from $416,000 for December a year ago.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

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