Overall home sales across California slowed in September as home prices across the southern part of the state hit a new peak, according to real estate information service DataQuick.

A total of 29,942 homes were sold in Southern California’s Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in September, down 3.8 percent from August’s 31,131 and down 8.7 percent from 32,813 for September last year, DataQuick reported.

The year-over-year sales decline was strongest in Orange County, while sales were up slightly in the Inland Empire, where home prices averaged $301,500 in September.

The median price paid for a Southern California home was $409,000 last month, a new record. That was up 0.5 percent from $407,000 in August, and up 22.1 percent from $335,000 for September 2003.

“The real estate cycle is playing itself out in predictable fashion. The home categories which first picked up steam six or seven years ago are now leveling off. Mid- and entry-level markets, which kicked into gear a year or two, are still doing well,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

Meanwhile, in the San Francisco Bay Area a total of 12,075 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county region in September, down 4.7 percent from 12,674 in August, and up 1.3 percent from 11,919 for September last year, according to DataQuick.

Last month was the Bay Area’s strongest September, according to DataQuick’s records, which go back to 1988. A decline from August to September is normal for the season.

“A key element here is the increase in the number of homes for sale. Also, many buyers are expecting interest rates to rise over the next year, so they’re doing their buying now rather than later. It may be that we’re tugging activity from the future into the present,” Prentice said.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $516,000 last month, down 0.8 percent from August’s record of $520,000. It was up 15.7 percent from $446,000 for September last year.

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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