March 19, 2009 / 10:29 PM / 8 years ago

California February home sales up 42.5 percent

<p>A sign advertising homes for sale is seen in Corona, California in this picture taken February 5, 2009.Mario Anzuoni</p>

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Home sales in California rose 42.5 percent in February from a year earlier as the median home price fell by 39.9 percent, driven by sales of foreclosed properties, according to an MDA DataQuick report released on Thursday.

The report said 29,225 new and resale houses and condominiums were sold in California last month, down 0.8 percent from January. The median price paid for a home in the most populous U.S. state was unchanged from January at $373,000.

February was the eighth straight month that California home sales rose from year-earlier levels and was the first time since May 2007 that the median home price did not decline from the prior month, according to MDA DataQuick.

Bargain hunters were out in force for foreclosed properties across the state, where some local housing markets have some of the nation's highest foreclosure rates.

"Of the existing homes sold last month, 58.4 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on," the real estate information service said in its report. "A year ago, it was 33.3 percent."

MDA DataQuick said home sales in the San Francisco Bay area rose 26.1 percent in February from a year earlier while the region's median home price fell a record 46.2 percent as buyers sought out foreclosed properties.

In Southern California, home sales rose 41.3 percent in February from a year earlier, also driven by bargain hunting in more affordable neighborhoods as the region's median price declined by 38.7 percent, MDA DataQuick reported on Tuesday.

Editing by Leslie Adler

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