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S.F. Bay Area’s weak spot: home prices

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Although August home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area were only slightly lower than a year ago, the region's median home price plunged to lows not seen since January 2004, real estate information service DataQuick reported Thursday. The nine-county region saw a total of 7,232 new and resale houses and condos sold last month, down 4.7 percent from 7,586 in July but just 0.9 percent lower than the 7,299 sales a year ago. An "average" August sees just over 10,000 sales. In the last 12 months, the median price tumbled a record 31.8 percent, from $655,000 to $447,000. July's median stood 4.9 percent higher at $470,000.By county, the greatest declines in prices were seen in Contra Costa (down 42.1 percent to $330,000); Solano (down 35.7 percent to $270,000); and Sonoma (off 30.7 percent to $350,000). Prices fell the least (-11.8 percent) in San Francisco, down to $725,000 from $822,000. The use of so-called jumbo mortgages, until recently defined as over $417,000, has...