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The size-adjusted median price of San Diego resale homes rose in April. By this measure, single family home prices were up .6 percent from the prior month while condos were up 1.0 percent.

While the size-adjusted median is down from a year ago, and down still more from the peak (see graph), prices by this measure have been rising in aggregate since December.

It’s possible that the size-adjusted median is being thrown off by the reduced presence of low-end buyers and thus overstating actual prices, a potential problem I described in my sprawling article about the issues with various home price measurements. But it’s also entirely possible that San Diego homes have experienced a legitimate increase in pricing power over the last couple of months. Even during protracted downturns, multi-month home price rallies are typical for this time of year.

The answer may lie in the superior-but-lagging Case-Shiller HPI. The HPI has shown continuous price weakness through February, the latest available month, which would suggest that the size-adjusted median price gains to that point had been illusory. The next data release should give us a better idea of whether we’re in the midst of a genuine spring fling.

— RICH TOSCANO

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