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Dramatic drop in California home prices

Real estate brief

While Southern California home sales were 30 percent below average for the month of August, transactions were up 9.1 percent from a year ago, real estate information service DataQuick reported today. That's the only good news, however, as the area's median home price tumbled a record 34 percent year-over-year in August. DataQuick reported that a total of 19,366 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in Southern California last month, up from 17,755 a year ago but down 4.7 percent from 20,329 in July. In the last 12 months the median home price plunged from $500,000 to $330,000, roughly a five-year low. Fueling the yearlong plunge in the Southland median sales price were "depreciation, a high concentration of sales made after or under the threat of foreclosure (mainly in inland markets), and a dramatic decline in homes financed with larger, so-called jumbo mortgages," according to DataQuick. Before the credit crunch hit last year, nearly 40 percent of Sout...