Hi Becky and thanks for your question.
Unfortunately, in Caifornia, especially if the home is listed on the MLS, the sales price will be disclosed. Our database websites (available to Realtors and Title Companies) will also readily disclose the purchase price of the home as it becomes a comparable sales amount for use in determining prices of other homes.
The casual buyer may see the sales price when the home's deed and paperwork are recorded as this information is available through records at the County where you live. In some communities, such as up here in Santa Clara, the local newspapers will regularly publish the addresses, the names of the buyers and the amounts of the home purchases to fulfill the growing interest of many readers to know current prices in their market.
Unfortunately, the day when information was harder to find and research has been shunted aside by the advent of the internet. If there is a way to make the information harder to see or find, your escrow officer may know the way to do that. However, as Fred noted, even if the sales price is hidden, anyone with a calculator can determine the price you paid by multiplying the amount of the transfer taxes paid by the transfer tax rate.
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA