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Home sales in region down in January

Home sales in San Diego County fell 5.6 percent in January, compared to the same month a year ago, while prices increased by 8.9 percent, a real estate information service reported Tuesday.

A total of 2,322 homes sold in January, down from 2,459 for January 2009, while the median price of a home in San Diego County last month was $305,000, up from $280,000 in the same month a year ago, according to La Jolla-based MDA DataQuick.

According to DataQuick, 15,361 homes were sold in the six-county Southern California region — Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties — in January, down 31.2 percent from 22,328 in December and up 0.9 percent from 15,227 in January 2009.

“The January stats underscore just how atypical this market remains,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. “A huge chunk of what’s selling is still distressed. Investors and first-time buyers continue to dominate many areas, while the move-up market has yet to kick in. For many, the financing to buy high-end homes remains difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.”

The median price of a Southern California home was $271,500 in January, down 6.1 percent from $289,000 in December and up 8.6 percent from $250,000 in January 2009.