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California home prices rise slightly in May

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- California home prices rose slightly to a new 6½-year high in May as tight inventories limited sales, a research firm said Thursday.

The median sales price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $386,000, up 0.8 percent from $383,000 in April and up 13.5 percent from $340,000 the same period last year. The median rose from a year earlier for the 27th straight month to the highest level since December 2007, when it was $402,000.

There were 37,734 homes sold in the state, down 0.7 percent from 37,988 in April and down 14.4 percent from 44,087 last year.

Inventories have improved this year and price increases have moderated. Still, the numbers provide fresh evidence that buyers are still contending with a limited supply of homes for sale and rising prices.

There was a 3.5-month supply of single-family homes for sale in California in April, up from a 2.8-month supply a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the California Association of Realtors. A normal supply is considered five to seven months.

The median sales price in the San Francisco Bay area reached $617,000 in May, up 1.1 percent from $610,000 the previous month and up 18.9 percent from $519,000 the same period a year earlier, San Diego-based DataQuick said. The median rose from a year earlier for the 26th straight month to its highest level since November 2007, when it stood at $629,000.

There were 7,898 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county region, up 4.5 percent from 7,555 in April but down 7.5 percent from 8,541 a year earlier. Bay area sales typically pick up from April to May.

DataQuick said Wednesday that Southern California's median sales price was $410,000 in May, up 1.5 percent from $404,000 in April and up 11.4 percent from $368,000 in May 2013. It was the 26th straight month of annual price increases but the lowest percentage gain since August 2012.

There were 19,556 homes sold in the six-county region, down 2.3 percent from 20,008 in April and down 15.1 percent from 23,034 in May 2013. It was the eighth straight month that sales fell from a year earlier.

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