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California sales soar as prices plunge

Real estate brief

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December's sales of new and existing homes and condos in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area gained an average of 43 percent from a year ago, real estate research company DataQuick reported this week. As the median sales price in Southern California dropped 34.6 percent between December 2007 and December 2008 -- from $425,000 to $278,000 -- sales in the six-county region jumped 50.5 percent, from 13,240 to 19,926. While the median sales price in the San Francisco Bay Area plummeted 43.8 percent -- from $587,500 to $330,000 -- sales in the nine-county region climbed 36 percent, from 5,065 to 6,889.DataQuick found that the purchase of foreclosure properties in the Bay Area accounted for 50 percent of all resales last month, while these purchases comprised 55.7 percent of Southern California resales. Bay Area foreclosure resales ranged from 12.4 percent in San Francisco to 67.7 percent in Solano County. According to DataQuick, "in today's market the drop in t...