Southern California home prices hit 6-month high

Sales of homes for at least $500,000 jumped 36 percent in March from February, outpacing the total sales increase of 28.1 percent for those months, DataQuick said.

DataQuick said about half of the purchases of existing homes were distressed sales. Homes that were foreclosed upon in the previous year made up 31.1 percent of existing home sales. Short sales – where the seller owes more than the purchase price – accounted for 18.9 percent.

Absentee buyers – largely investors and second-home purchasers – continued to drive the recovery, buying 28 percent of all homes.

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Why people walk away from home loans

Now that the country is about five years into one of the worst economic periods in its history, it’s become more clear what factors motivate the financially able to stop making their mortgage payments. Homeowners say they are unable to modify their home loans with difficult lenders, need to move but can’t sell their homes, and can’t keep justifying paying for a home that’s already lost so much equity.

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