Home sales in Southern California increased again last month, led by strong foreclosure resale activity in the Inland Empire. The median price paid for a home was unchanged from January and February, indicating that the market may be exploring price floor levels, a real estate information service reported. A total of 19,486 new and resale homes sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 27.9% from 15,231 for the prior month, and up 52.1% from 12,808 for March 2008, MDA DataQuick. The San Diego firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. An increase from February to March is normal for the season. Last month was the ninth in a row with a year-over-year sales increase. March last year was the slowest March in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. The March average is 25,138. "We're still waiting for the upper half of the mortgage market to open up. We know that sales of lower-cost housing, especially foreclosure resales in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, are driving today's market. What we don't know is how the recession has affected the more expensive neighborhoods," said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. "Those neighborhoods are dormant right now, but when so-called jumbo financing becomes available, possibly before summer, we expect enough sales to close escrow to generate more meaningful price statistics. Of late the statistics haven't represented the overall market. Rather, to a large extent they're simply a reflection of what is selling - mainly distressed properties and homes in the more affordable neighborhoods," Walsh said.