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Firm: Median Californian home price up 7 percent

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LOS ANGELES -- The median home price in California jumped 7 percent last month from May, as life began to return to the long-sluggish market for high-end homes, a tracking firm said Thursday.

The statewide median price jumped to $246,000, up from $230,000 in May, marking the second consecutive month of increases, MDA DataQuick said.

Last month's figure, however, was down 25 percent from $328,000 in June 2008.

DataQuick also said 44,167 homes were sold statewide last month, up more than 13 percent from 39,051 in May and nearly 26 percent from 35,202 in June 2008. The figures marked the 12th consecutive month that sales have increased on a year-over-year basis, the firm said.

DataQuick president John Walsh said thawing credit markets were allowing more borrowers to close deals on homes, especially in higher-end neighborhoods where sales have been slow.

"We're just now seeing the beginnings of more normal mortgage lending patterns," he said. "There's still a long way to go, but it looks like the worst of the grind is over."

In a nine-county area of Northern California, the median home price increased more than 3 percent, reaching $352,000 in June from $341,500 in May. It was the third month in a row that prices increased.

DataQuick said 8,644 homes were sold in that region in June, the highest monthly number in almost three years. The figure was up more than 16 percent from 7,447 in May and more than 20 percent from 7,178 in June 2008.

In Southern California, the median price surged more than 6 percent to $265,000 in June from May. Home sales in the six-county area climbed to their highest level in 30 months.

Foreclosures statewide accounted for about 46 percent of home sales, making June the first month since August that foreclosures accounted for less than half of all the transactions.

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