For the first time since December 2006, there was a year-over-year rise in the monthly count of new-home sales in California, according to the California Building Industry Association.

The association’s monthly CBIA/Hanley Wood Market Intelligence (HWMI) New-Home Sales and Pricing Report showed sales in new-home communities of 10 units or more were 25 percent above October 2008. New-home and condominium sales rose to 2,294 this year from 1,838 last year.

Condominium sales were up a whopping 94 percent, townhomes and "-plexes" — duplexes, triplexes, etc. — were up 36 percent, and sales of single-family homes were up 4 percent. The San Francisco Bay Area led the change with a more than 100 percent increase in new-homes sales in the San Francisco, Peninsula and Silicon Valley areas.

The rise represents the first notable increase since the start of the housing downturn. HWMI’s director of published research, Jonathan Dienhart, said in a statement that the numbers must be viewed in the proper context.

"While this month’s figures are encouraging, we must keep in mind that we’re comparing the figures to October of 2008, which was the second-lowest month of nominal sales we’ve seen during the downturn," Dienhart said in a statement.

Deinhart also said the first-time homebuyer tax credit, orginially set to expire in November, could be distorting the market due to buyers rushing to meet the deadline.

The median base price of homes sold was down 4 percent year-over-year, according to the report.

Non-seasonally adjusted total new-home sales were 1 percent below levels seen in September, but were an improvement from the 29 percent decrease seen last year for the same month-to-month period.

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