Sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California jumped 8.6% from July to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 497,390, up 10.2% from August of last year, the California Association of Realtors reported Thursday. The median price rose modestly to its highest level of 2011.

The Realtor group, however, was guarded in its optimism. "While the increase in August sales is encouraging, these sales are based on closings that occurred before the debt ceiling debate in early August and subsequent heightened concern about the future direction of the economy," said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R. vp and chief economist . "How these events and the impending reduction in the conforming loan limits will impact home sales and prices in the coming months remains to be seen."

The statewide median price for single family detached homes crept up 1% from July to $297,060, still 7.4% below the price of August, 2010. Still, said Beth L. Peerce, C.A.R. president, "August's median price marked the highest since December 2010, signifying that prices may be stabilizing in some market segments as investors and first-time buyers continue to see value and opportunity in the market."

The Unsold Inventory Index fell to 5 months in August, down from 5.5 months in July and down from a revised 5.8 months in August 2010. The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 52.7 days in August 2011, compared with 45.5 days for the same period a year ago.

The median price data was mixed. Losses in the L.A., San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Orange County were offset by gains in the Inland Empire, Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Alameda counties, based on unadjusted data. Condominium and townhouse sales were not reported, but the median price, also not seasonally adjusted, fell 2% to $228,060.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.