LOS ANGELES (AP) -- California's median home sales price soared more than 8 percent from February to March — the latest evidence of the fast-paced recovery in the state's housing market as buyers compete for thin supplies, a research firm said Thursday.
The median price for new and existing houses and condominiums surged by $24,000 in March to $313,000, up 24.7 percent from the same period last year, DataQuick said. It was the 13th straight annual gain in statewide home prices.
There were 37,764 homes sold in the state, up 0.8 percent from last year.
Lack of inventory has hampered sales. The California Association of Realtors reported Monday that its index of unsold inventory for single-family homes was 2.9 months in March, compared to 4.2 months a year earlier.
The figure represents how long it would take to sell all homes at the current sales clip. Supply in a normal market is considered to be five to seven months.
Homes were on the market for a median of 29.4 days in March, down sharply from 52.2 days a year earlier, according to the Realtors group.
DataQuick said the median sales price in the San Francisco Bay area reached $436,000 in March, up 21.8 percent from a year earlier. The median jumped by $31,000, or 7.7 percent, during March alone.
"There's been a shift in psychology, where more people worry prices will rise and fewer fear a decline," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
Sales in the nine-county San Francisco Bay area totaled 7,263 homes in March, down 6 percent from a year earlier.
DataQuick said Wednesday the median sales price of $345,500 in Southern California neared a five-year high in March. The figure was up 23.4 percent from a year earlier.
The median rose by nearly $25,000, or 8 percent, during March alone in that region.
Sales in the six-county region totaled 20,581 homes, up 3.1 percent from last year.
Foreclosed homes, which tend to sell at a discount, were a smaller part of the sales mix in California, lifting the median price for the overall market, DataQuick said.
Properties that were foreclosed during the previous year accounted for 15.2 percent of existing home sales in March, down from 32.8 percent a year earlier and down from 58.8 percent in February 2009.