Southland housing market posted big increases last month.

Southern California home sales rocketed to a three-year high in October and the median price was up a sharp 17 percent from last year’s corresponding month.

The Los Angeles Times reports near record-low interest rates and a continued shortage in available homes have fueled the increases in both sales activity and purchase prices. In October, the median price of a home sold in Southern California was $315,000. That’s level with September’s median and a 17 percent jump from last October, the Times reports.

Those numbers are based off an estimated 21,075 homes that were sold in the Southland last month, which was up 18 percent from the previous month and a whopping 25 percent surge from October 2011. The largest increases in sales activity again came along the coast. Orange County led the way with a 41 percent increase from October 2011.

The increasing home shortage in the Southland has largely stemmed from a steep decline in the number of foreclosed homes available, the Times reports. Thestory notes this has been particularly true among starter homes. This trend has led many investors to pay market rate for foreclosed homes, rather than the usual discount, and that has therefore driven up the overall median price.

Also helping to drive up home prices has been the emergence of absentee buyers in Southern California. They accounted for 28 percent of Southland home sales in October, which was nearly a record.