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Foreclosures remain high as Calif. home prices drop

Foreclosures in California are still high by historical standards as median home prices drop 6 percent.

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Foreclosures in California account for 33.8 percent of September sales, while median home prices in the state fell 6 percent since the same time last year.

Denis Poroy/AP/File

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California home prices declined in September from their year-ago levels for a 12th consecutive month, with bargain-priced short sales and foreclosures making up more than half of all transactions, a tracking firm said Friday.

San Diego-based DataQuick said in a report that the median home price in the state fell 6 percent to $249,000 from $265,000 in September 2010.

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The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.

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Home sales totaled 35,404 in September, a 6.2 percent decrease from 37,734 in August but an increase of 6.7 percent from September 2010, when 33,176 homes were sold.

A decline from August to September is normal for the summer season, DataQuick said. Statewide home sales for the month of September have averaged 43,939 since DataQuick began keeping track in 1988.

Foreclosures accounted for 33.8 percent of September sales, down slightly from 34.3 percent in August and 35.6 percent in September a year ago. Foreclosures remain high by historical standards but below peak levels reached in the last few years.

The typical mortgage payment that homebuyers committed to paying in September was $964, down from $982 in August. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was the lowest on record.