SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – A research firm says home prices across much of the San Francisco Bay area are leveling off as March sales hit their highest point in five years.

DataQuick said Thursday that nearly 7,700 new and existing homes and condominiums sold in a nine-county region in March, up more than 9 percent from the same period in 2011.

READ MORE: Splash Brothers Curry, Thompson Lead Warriors Past Pistons, 102-86

It’s the highest tally for the month since more than 8,300 homes sold in March 2007.

The median price was $358,000, a decline of less than 1 percent compared to the same time last year.

The San Diego-based firm said about one-quarter of existing home sales were for properties in foreclosure during the previous year. Another 19 percent were “short sales”—when the price is below the amount owed by the seller.

READ MORE: Friends, Loved Ones Remember Michelle Go, Killed In NY Subway Attack At San Francisco Chinatown Vigil

DataQuick also reported that more than 37,000 new and existing homes and condominiums sold in the state last month.

That’s almost a 3 percent rise over the same time last year and the highest number since nearly 40,000 homes sold in March 2007.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $251,000, up less than a percent compared to a year ago.

More than half of last month’s sales statewide were of homes either in foreclosure or being sold for less than what the seller owed.

MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Feds Launch Website Distributing Free At-Home COVID Testing Kits; Here's How To Get Your Free Tests

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)