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The median price per square foot of existing homes sold in San Diego County, after having gone pretty much nowhere since last fall, rose dramatically in the month of March.

Between February and March, prices by this measure rose 5.9 percent for single family homes, 2.8 percent for condos, and 5.1 percent for a volume-weighted aggregate of the two.

As it happens, March of last year marked the post-crash low point for this indicator of San Diego prices.  In the one year since, the median price per square foot has risen by 19.6 percent for single family homes, 29.1 percent(!) for condos, and 22.0 percent in aggregate.

A single month move of this size in either direction usually contains an element of “noise,” primarily changes to the composition of what’s being bought.  In example form: the median price per square foot could rise based solely on people buying more homes in La Jolla and fewer in La Mesa.  (For those interested, I described the trials and tribulations of measuring home prices in great detail a while back).

Yet while the magnitude of the price increase may not be as big as it seems, its unlikely that the median price per square foot would have risen so much if home prices themselves were not rising significantly as well.  It would appear that the rally is back on.

— RICH TOSCANO

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