Home sales surged in Southern California in April, as prices rose at their fastest pace in more than 16 years to a new high, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

A total of 32,916 homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in April, up 0.8 percent from March’s 32,650 and up 7.3 percent from 30,675 for April last year, DataQuick reported.

Last month’s sales count was the highest for any April in DataQuick’s statistics, which go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a Southern California home was $386,000 last month, a new record. That was up 4 percent from $371,000 in March, and up 25.7 percent from $307,000 for April 2003. The year-over-year price increase was the strongest in DataQuick’s statistics.

“The feeling seems to be that interest rates will continue to go up, at least incrementally, and that now would be a better time to buy than a half year from now. There are indications that the lack of supply is starting to loosen up as more homes come on the market. That could ease the upward price pressure,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

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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