From the, where Eric┬áhas the rather large shoes to fill of Zach Fox – note the trouble he had in finding an explanation:

The median price of detached, single-family homes in North County surged 21.9 percent higher in November compared with the same month last year —- the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year increases, a Realtors association said.

Last month’s big price move owed much to the comparison with abysmal sales in November 2008, along with a shift in the mix of home sales, as the middle tiers of the market showed signs of life after a long recession. The median resale price for houses reached $436,250 last month, according to the HomeDex report from the North San Diego County Association of Realtors.

“My buyers have kind of shifted,” said Diane Conaway, an Escondido-based Realtor and board member for the association. “I’ve still got first-time buyers, but the last four have all been in the $500,000-$700,000 range. Those people are finally coming out.”

Indeed, the report shows a decline in the number of homes sold for less than $300,000 compared with November 2008, but an increase in the number of homes sold in all other price categories below $1 million.

The report shows that inventory grew a bit. There were enough homes on the market for 5.7 months of sales at last month’s pace, up 9 percent from October, but still down 31 percent from last year.

Conaway also credited the increase in November to activity among buyers who thought a federal tax credit would be expiring. Congress later extended it to April.

Real estate agent Jim Klinge thinks the price statistic itself is misleading.

“It goes to show you how whacky the median price is for an indicator,” he said. The median, which is the point at which half the sales prices were higher and half were lower, can be skewed when buying activity shifts to varying sectors of the market.

Homes sold in parts of Escondido, Oceanside and Poway drove much of the growth, with each of those areas showing double-digit increases compared to last year.

The appearance of a sudden jump in annual numbers may also reflect a period beginning in November 2008 when first prices dropped into the $360,000 range, an apparent trough that ended in April.

Still, agents and analysts were surprised by the new median price.

“Wow,” Conaway said. “That’s quite a jump.”

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