California home prices near four-year highs

California home prices near four-year highs
This June 13, 2012, file photo shows a house for sale in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A research firm says California home prices approached four-year highs last month as buyers snapped up more expensive properties.

DataQuick said Wednesday that the median price for new and existing houses and condominiums in the state reached $281,000 in July, up nearly 12 percent from the same period last year. It is the highest median price since September 2008 and the fifth straight month of annual gains.

Sales rose 14 percent from last year to nearly 40,000 homes.

Foreclosed properties, which tend to sell at steep discounts, were a smaller part of the sales mix. DataQuick says properties foreclosed upon in the previous year accounted for 22 percent of existing-home sales, down from 35 percent a year earlier.