LA JOLLA, Calif. ( DQNews) -- An estimated 36,215 new and resale houses and condos were sold in California last month. That was up 15.3% from 31,403 in November, and down 13.4% from 41,837 for December 2009.

California sales for the month of December have varied from a low of 25,585 in 2007 to a high of 66,503 in 2003, while the average is 44,338, according to MDA DataQuick. The San Diego firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988.

The median price paid for a home last month was $254,000, down 0.4% from $255,000 in November, and down 3.8% from $264,000 for December a year ago. The year-over-year decrease was the third in a row after eleven months of increases. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was at $484,000 in early 2007.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 38.1% were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. That was up from a revised 37.6% in November and down from 40.8% in December a year ago. The all-time high was in February 2009 at 58.5%.

The typical mortgage payment that home buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,055. That was up from $1,010 in November, and down from $1,125 in December 2009. Adjusted for inflation, last month's mortgage payment was 51.3% below the spring 1989 peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 60.5% below the current cycle's peak in June 2006.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity has declined somewhat but remains high by historical standards. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, cash and non-owner occupied buying is up, DataQuick reported.
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