SAN DIEGO -- California home prices rose in September to a four-year high as the supply of properties for sale remained tight, according to surveys released Monday.
The median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in California reached $287,000, up 15.3 percent from $249,000 in September 2011, DataQuick said. The median rose $6,000 from August to reach its highest level since $301,000 in August 2008.
There were 34,453 homes sold in September, down 2.7 percent from 35,404 last year, DataQuick said. There were fewer business days this September compared with last year, explaining at least part of the first annual decline in 14 months.
The California Association of Realtors reported that buyers faced slimmer pickings.
The broker association's index of unsold inventory stood at a 3.7 months in September, down from 5.3 months a year earlier. The figure represents how long it would take to sell all existing single-family homes in California at the current sales clip. Supply in a normal market is considered to be six to seven months.
The supply of foreclosed properties continued to dwindle, helping lift the overall sales price because they tend to sell at steep discounts. DataQuick said 17.7 percent of existing homes sold in September were in foreclosure during the previous year, down from 33.8 percent during the same period last year and 58.5 percent in February 2009.
The September surveys show sales were strongest in more expensive coastal areas, while inland regions like the Central Valley and Southern California's Inland Empire lagged.
The median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in the San Francisco Bay area reached $429,000, up 17.5 percent from $365,000 last year, DataQuick reported. The median price rose $19,000 from August to its highest level since $447,000 in August 2008.
There were 6,850 homes sold in the nine-county Bay area last month, up 1.5 percent from 6,749 last year.
Only 13.9 percent of Bay area homes sold last month had been foreclosed upon in the previous year, down from 25.4 percent a year earlier and 52 percent in February 2009.
DataQuick reported Friday that the median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in Southern California reached $315,000, up 12.5 percent from $280,000 in September 2011. The median rose $6,000 during the month to its highest level since $330,000 in August 2008.
There were 17,859 homes sold last month in the six-county region, a 1.6 percent drop than the same month last year.