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Sonoma County home sales, prices climb 4%

Sonoma County in September continued to report strong home sales, as other parts of the state grabbed attention with the highest median prices in four years.

County buyers purchased 407 single-family homes last month, according to The Press Democrat's monthly housing report compiled by Rick Laws, a Pacific Union International vice president. September sales increased 4 percent from a year earlier, and the sales total so far this year is the highest since 2005.

The median price in September climbed 4 percent from a year earlier to $357,000.

In contrast, California's median price soared 20 percent from a year earlier to $345,000, according to the California Association of Realtors. That was less than a 1 percent gain from August, but it amounted to the highest median price since August 2008.

The statewide jump was fueled largely by price gains in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino counties.

Los Angeles and parts of the Bay Area have rebounded the most since the state's housing market hit bottom more than three years ago. Real estate brokers and an economist suggested prices in those regions have been boosted because companies there are hiring more.

"You're talking about areas that I think have a lot more access to jobs," said Brian Connell, broker/manager for Frank Howard Allen in Santa Rosa.

Sonoma County's median price reached a record high of $619,000 in August 2005 before tumbling to $305,000 in February 2009.

The price since has rebounded 17 percent. In contrast, the state's median has increased 41 percent, according to the Realtors association data.

That jump was led by gains in Los Angeles County, where the median price climbed 39 percent. For the nine-county Bay Area, of which Sonoma County is a part, the median rose 46 percent.


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