April 23, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and existing homes in California bounced back from a dismal February and even improved upon the previous year’s tally while home prices saw their first year-over-year increase in a year and a half according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

An estimated total of 37,481 new and existing homes and condos were sold in the Golden State in March. That was 26.5 percent higher than the 29,630 homes sold in February and 2.9 percent higher than the 36,417 homes sold in March 2011.

Home sales in the state typically increase between February and March and despite being 14.6 percent below the historical average of 43,883 sales for the month, it was still the best showing for the state since 2007.

The median sales price for a home in California increased 5.0 percent to $251,000 from $239,000 in February and was 0.8 percent higher than the median price of $249,000 posted in March of 2011. It was the first increase in year-over-year prices in the state in 18 months.

The statewide current cycle peak price was $484,000 in early 2007, while the low during the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009.

Distressed property sales accounted for 51.4 percent of all re-sales in March, down from a revised 54.3 percent in February, with homes that had been foreclosed on in the previous twelve months accounting for 32.5 percent of the existing home sales. That was down from a revised 33.9 percent in February and down from 40.1 percent in March of 2011.

Short sales accounted for an estimated 18.9 percent of all re-sales last month, down from a revised 20.4 in February. In March of last year, short sales accounted for 18.5 percent of all existing home sales.

Tags: DataQuick, California, new and re-sale homes, condos, sales, median home prices, distressed properties, short sales, typical mortgage payment