Southern California home sales stayed strong at a high level as prices increased to record levels last month, the result of high demand while buyers moved to finance home purchases before interest rates move higher, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

The median price paid for a Southern California home was $396,000 last month, a new record. That was up 2.3 percent from $387,000 in April, and up 26.9 percent from $312,000 for May 2003. The year-over-year price increase was the strongest in DataQuick’s statistics.

A total of 31,151 homes were sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in May. That was down 5.4 percent from April’s 32,916 and down 0.8 percent from 31,387 for May last year, DataQuick reported.

“More homes are being listed for sale and that should ease the upward pressure on prices this summer and into fall. Sales counts may hit new records, while today’s price increases should ease back a bit,” 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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