2009: Possible bottom to area housing market 

Bay Area home sales in December increased slightly over the previous year, signaling a possible bottom to the regional housing market, according to the real estate information service MDA DataQuick.

Sales of new and resale houses and condos in the nine-county region rose 13.8 percent from November to 7,828, which is normal for that time of the year according to DataQuick, but also increased 13.6 percent from December 2008.

"A couple of years from now, there's a good chance we'll refer to the beginning of 2009 as the bottom of the market," said MDA DataQuick President John Walsh in a prepared statement.

But, Walsh cautioned, "We don't expect much genuine improvement until lending institutions re-open their spigots."

Nearly a third of all home resales in December were on foreclosed homes, down from more than 48 percent in December 2008.

Foreclosure resales peaked at 52 percent in February 2009.

The median price for a Bay Area home in December was $380,000, down slightly from the previous month but up 15.2 percent from December 2008.

Median home prices in the Bay Area peaked at $665,000 in the summer of 2007 and hit their lowest subsequent level in March 2008, at $290,000.

The lowest median home sale prices in the Bay Area in December were in Solano County, at $217,500. The highest were in San Francisco, at $650,000.

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