Southern California home prices hit 70-month high

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A research firm says Southern California home prices reached a 70-month high in December as buyers competed for scant inventories.

DataQuick said Tuesday that the median price for new and existing houses and condominiums reached $395,000 in the six-county region, up 22 percent from a year earlier. It is the highest median since February 2008 and the 21st straight month of annual gains.

Sales dropped 9 percent from a year earlier to slightly more than 18,400 homes. It was the lowest December sales tally in six years.

DataQuick says investors are showing less interest, contributing to the drop in sales.