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San Diego finished up 2008 with a nice little uptick in home resale activity. As the accompanying graph shows, the 14 percent increase in sales between November and December was stronger than has recently been typical for that time of the year. December 2008 was also the strongest December of the past three years, for what that’s worth.

I had previously speculated that November’s steep drop in activity might be due to the general economic ugliness underway. That may well have been the case. But mortgage rates have dropped sharply over the past couple months, and I suspect this is acting as a countervailing force and pushing some would-be buyers off the fence.

Whatever the cause for the increased activity, the recent median price declines and geographical buying patterns make it fairly clear that those who are buying have a general preference for lower-priced properties.

— RICH TOSCANO

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