Southern California home prices hit another all-time high in December, capping a year of sharp growth that left many first-time buyers frustrated while homeowners counted their equity gains.

The six-county region’s median sale price reached $697,500 last month, up 16.3% from a year earlier, real estate data firm DQNews said Friday. It marked the 10th time the median set a record in 2021, a frenzy driven by low rates, millennial buyers and a desire for more living space during the pandemic.

Some economists forecast that prices will rise again this year, but the increases are expected to be smaller as affordability — already an issue for many — becomes an increasing barrier to homeownership.

Whether that happens is another question.

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