SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – A research firm says home sales rose sharply in the San Francisco Bay area last month as prices fell.

DataQuick said Thursday that more than 5,700 new and existing homes and condominiums sold in a nine-county region in February, up more than 14 percent from the same period of 2011. It is the highest February tally in five years, though sales got a boost from Leap Day.

The median price was $325,500 down nearly 4 percent from last year. It is the 17th straight month that Bay area home prices registered an annual decline.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

The San Diego-based firm says about half of existing home sales were for properties in foreclosure during the previous year or “short sales”—when the price is below the amount owed by the seller.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)