SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A research firm says California home sales soared last month as more expensive properties drew strong interest from buyers.

DataQuick said Thursday that sales of new and existing houses and condos jumped 18 percent from last year to nearly 42,000. It is the highest May tally in six years.

The state's median sales price rose more than 8 percent from May 2011 to $270,000, the highest in nearly two years. The median price is still well below a peak of $484,000 reached in early 2007 but up from $221,000 in April 2009.

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