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Homes sales up 18% in Bay Area

Highest number of sales in May since 2006

Bay Area home sales in May increased by 18 percent from the previous month, but sales fell in many affordable inland areas in the region due to a dwindling inventory of low-cost foreclosures, according to the real estate information service MDA DataQuick.

A total of 8,264 homes were sold in the Bay Area in May, up 18 percent from April and up 11 percent from May 2009, according to DataQuick.

The number was the highest for the month of May since 9,935 were sold in the region in May 2006, but it was well below the average of 9,842 sales for the month since the records were kept in 1988.

Sales increased by more than 20 percent in May compared to the previous month in wealthier counties such as Marin and San Francisco, while

Solano County saw a drop in the month of about 7.6 percent.

That disparity caused the median sale price for a home in the Bay Area to rise to $410,000, up more than 10 percent from April, and more than 20 percent from May 2009.

MDA DataQuick President John Walsh said in a prepared statement that the latest numbers appear to show that "high-end financing is gradually loosening up."

However, the fading amount of available tax credits means "there's obviously going to be less wind in the market's sales" in the second half of this year, Walsh said.

He said, "A healthier job market and low mortgage rates will be key to driving demand."

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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