Home sales were up 34.7 percent year-over-year in December, according to new stats from MDA DataQuick released today.

Of the 3,325 homes that sold last month, 50.4 percent had been foreclosed on at some point in the past year. That share in November was 52 percent. In December 2007, only 30.3 percent of the sales were foreclosures.

In all of last year, 34,294 homes sold. That’s almost exactly half as many as sold in 2004, the peak year for home sales. The 2008 total was the lowest year for home sales since 1995, when 31,269 homes sold in the county.

The worst-hit category between 2007 and 2008 was new home sales, including condo conversions. Only 3,823 new homes sold all year, a 54.1 percent drop from the year before. For more on the pain in the new home sector, check out my story from earlier this week on a prominent local builder in bankruptcy.

New foreclosure filings spiked in December, with a total of 6,701 records filed to indicate a home had entered a new stage of foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. That measured a 40 percent increase from November and a 49 percent increase from December 2007. The numbers have been low for a few months because of a new state law that required lenders to make more efforts to contact homeowners before they foreclose on them.

Last year, 44,931 properties in San Diego County had at least one foreclosure filing — a notice of default, a notice of trustee’s sale, or a formal repossession. That was more than double 2007’s 20,219 properties, and more than six times the 7,832 such properties in 2006, according to new RealtyTrac numbers.

KELLY BENNETT

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