Southern California home prices cool in September

SAN DIEGO — Increases in Southern California home prices cooled in September as the supply of properties for sale grew and investor purchases waned, a research firm said Wednesday.

The median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums in the six-county region was $382,000, up 21.3 percent from $315,000 the same period last year, DataQuick said. It was the 14th straight month of double-digit annual percentage increases but the median fell from the previous month for the first time since February, dropping by $3,000 from new five-year highs set in June, July and August.

There were 19,112 homes sold, a 7 percent increase from 17,859 homes in September 2012.

The more modest price increases, coupled with higher sales, are the latest sign that the market is taking a breather. As prices soared during the first half of the year, more sellers came off the sidelines, easing tight supplies.

Some of the median price increase reflects a shift in sales to more expensive homes. Sales below $300,000 tumbled 25.3 percent from last year, while sales between $300,000 and $800,000 surged 25.5 percent and sales above $800,000 skyrocketed 43.4 percent.

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