Sales hit a three-year high for an October, rising 25% from the same month last year. The median sale price for a Southland house last month was $315,000, equal to September and up 17% from October 2011, according to real estate research firm DataQuick.

A decline in the number of foreclosed homes has caused a shortage of inventory in entry-level neighborhoods, pushing up home prices. Demand from investors also remains strong, with these buyers snapping up a near-record level of homes last month.

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