Bay area home price rises to 4-year high

SAN DIEGO -- Home prices in the San Francisco Bay area have risen to their highest level in four years.

The San Diego research firm DataQuick reports Monday that the median price for Bay area homes last month was $429,000. That's up nearly 5 percent from August and 17.5 percent from September of 2011.

It's also $139,000 higher than the mid-2009 low.

A total of 6,850 new and existing homes were sold in the six-county region last month. That was down about 20 percent from August but DataQuick says that's a normal seasonal decline.

DataQuick says an improving economy and low mortgage interest rates are helping the market. Foreclosure sales are half the level of a year ago, sales of more expensive homes have increased and so has the practice of home flipping.