Home sales in Southern California continue to climb, according to Experian, the real estate information company formerly called TRW Redi Property Data.

In the third quarter, escrows on sales of new and existing homes in the six-county area topped 54,000, up from less than 49,000 a year before.

Orange County experienced the largest gain, with sales increasing 19%, followed by San Diego County at 15.6%.

Still, sales are 40% below the level of the housing boom in the late 1980s, said Nima Nattaugh, market analyst at Experian.

Despite increased demand, home prices in the region continue to fall. Homeowners in the metropolitan areas of Southern California continue to lose equity by about 5% a year, Experian reported. The rate of decline in home values has slowed in the past years, indicating that the market should be stable by 1997.

Home values in Northern California metropolitan areas have remained solid this year, Experian reports.

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