LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The number of distressed properties sold in Southern California and statewide has plunged dramatically over the last five years, resulting in higher home prices, according to a real estate industry group.

In January 2014, nearly 16 percent of all homes sold in Los Angeles County were distressed — a category that includes short sales and real estate-owned (REOs) properties — compared with 62 percent of all homes sold countywide in January 2009, according to data cited by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

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Data also showed REOs comprised 60 percent of all sales statewide in January 2009, while short sales made up 9.1 percent of all sales but rose to as high as 25.6 percent in January 2012. Short sales currently make up 9.2 percent of all sales.

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Of all reporting counties, Orange County had among the lowest share of distressed sales — 9.5 percent — in the state in January 2014.

“The dramatic drop in the share of distressed sales throughout the state reflects a market that is fully transitioning from the housing downturn,” CAR president Kevin Brown said. “Significant home price appreciation over the past five years has lifted the market value of many underwater homes, and as a result, many homeowners have gained significant equity in their homes, resulting in fewer short sales and foreclosures.”

During the same time period, California’s median home price also soared more than 64 percent from $249,960 in January 2009 to $410,990 in January 2014.

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