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State O' The Market

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Investors and cash buyers helped make last month the busiest January in six years for house sales. According to the latest numbers from DataQuick, Southern California's "median home price notched a sharp 23.5 percent gain from the same month a year earlier, a reflection of both rising prices and a shift in the buying mix from lower-end starter homes to pricier digs." Absentee and cash buyers accounted for more than 65 percent of sales. [LAT]