Home sales in Southern California hit a seven year high in April spurred by pent up consumer demand and high levels of investor activity.  Prices rose along with sales to a 58 month high. 

DataQuick, in a report released on Tuesday, said a total of 21,415 houses and condos sold in the southern counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino, an increase of 4.1 percent from March and 9.5 percent from April 2012. 

DataQuick said some of the month -over-month increase could be seasonal as March to April prices have risen an average of 1 percent every year since it began tracking them in 1988.   April sales have averaged 24,291 over the years with a low of 15,303 units in 1995 and a peak of 37,905 units in 2004.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos in the region was $357,000, up 3.3 percent from March and 23.1 percent from the median of $290,000 in April 2012.  This was the highest median price since June 2008 when it was $360,000.  DataQuick said the dramatic price increase was reflective of home price appreciation, a simultaneous plunge in foreclosure resales, and a surge in mid and up-market home sales as buyers sought to move up.  

John Walsh, DataQuick president said that this is a market that is still rebalancing.  "Sales of deeply discounted properties in affordable neighborhoods are way down. Activity in middle and high-end communities is on its way up. Now it's catch-up time, with a healthier economy spurring more demand and rising prices tempting more people to put their homes up for sale.

The median sales price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 13 consecutive months, and those gains have been double-digit since last August, the report says. Some of the region's most affordable housing markets, where prices were beaten down the most during the foreclosure crisis, posted some of the largest price gains. In April, the lowest-cost third of the region's housing stock saw a 20.7 percent year-over-year gain in the median price paid per square foot for resale houses. The annual gain was 18.5 percent for the middle third of the market and 15.2 percent for the top third.

The number of homes that sold below $200,000 last month declined 29.8 percent year-over-year, while sales below $300,000 dipped 21.1 percent. Sales in many affordable markets have been limited not by a lack of demand, but by a lack of supply, DataQuick said