The San Diego County housing market showed continued strength in the number of homes sold in October, according to new numbers from MDA DataQuick.

Last month, 3,671 homes sold, a 2 percent increase from the same month a year ago. October’s sales were up more than 6 percent from September, and continued a streak of month-to-month sales total increases that began last fall.

Of those sales, 34.5 percent had been foreclosed on at some point in the previous year.

That’s down quite a bit from October 2008, when 48.6 percent of the sales were foreclosures. In October 2007, 20.8 percent of sales in the county were foreclosures.

But the big news in DataQuick’s release today was that the median price — the midpoint price among all of the sales recorded in October — rose 0.5 percent from the same month a year earlier to $325,000. It was the first such year-over-year increase since mid-2006. (More on median at the end of this post.)

The growing stability is in large part thanks to government intervention, said DataQuick’s president, John Walsh, in a press release this morning. More from Walsh:

The government is playing a huge role in stabilizing and, to some extent, reinvigorating the housing market. Its actions have triggered ultra-low mortgage rates, plentiful low-down-payment (FHA) financing, an extended and expanded tax credit for home buyers, and programs and political pressure aimed at reducing foreclosures.

The real question now is how well can the market perform next year as some of the government stimulus disappears. The more upbeat outlooks suggest a strengthening economy and job market will help pick up the slack, and that demand for lower-cost foreclosures will remain robust. The more negative forecasts assume, among other things, a much slower economic recovery, more foreclosures than the market can readily digest, and more turbulence in the credit markets.

A note on the median price: You might remember we switched our emphasis in reporting pricing data at to the Case-Shiller index some time ago. (Read our explainer on that switch.) But I do think it’s worth noting that the median price — the price exactly at the midpoint of the prices recorded for all home sales in October, new or resale — was up slightly last month compared to October 2008.

The last time the median price logged such a year-over-year increase was June 2006. Why did this change for the median catch my eye in particular? A little KB and VOSD history: I started covering the housing market and San Diego economy for in July 2006, and the first set of DataQuick numbers that came out after I got here showed June 2006’s median price had fallen year-over-year from June 2005 — the first year-over-year decrease in a decade. (My first story for VOSD focused on the condo piece of those numbers.)

Warning: Since then, DataQuick has revised its numbers to show that month’s prices actually increased and that July 2006 — not June — was the first year-over-year drop. In any event, DataQuick has shown year-over-year drops each month for more than three years, and October’s numbers ended that streak.

For more: The U-T includes more analysis from DataQuick’s Andrew LePage. And DataQuick also reports that a six-county picture of Southern California also showed signs of strength in October.


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