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San Diego home prices on the rise

Homes sales in San Diego County rose 19.6 percent in May, compared to the same month a year ago, while prices increased 15.3 percent during the same period, a real estate information service reported Tuesday.

A total of 3,879 homes changed hands locally last month, compared to 3,242 in May 2009, according to La Jolla-based MDA DataQuick. The median price of a home in San Diego County in May was $340,000, compared to $295,000 in the same month a year ago.

A total of 22,270 new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county Southern California region — Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties — in May, according to DataQuick. That was up 9.7 percent from 20,299 in April, and up 7.2 percent from 20,775 in May 2009.

May sales throughout Southern California were the highest for that month since 2006.

According to DataQuick, the combination of tax incentives and low mortgage rates helped stoke sales in mid- to high-end areas, where distress has increased over the last year and sellers have become more motivated and realistic.

“The important thing to remember, though, is that what we saw in May was partly driven by government stimulus,’ said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick’s president.

“In the second half of the year the market will have to stand on its own again, barring new forms of government involvement,” he said. “Prices will be tested if there’s any sudden move by lenders to release a flood of

distressed properties.”

The median price for a Southern California home was $305,000 last month, up 7 percent from $285,000 in April, and up 22.5 percent from $249,000 in May 2009, according to DataQuick.