Bay Area home sales hit 4-year high; median price up again

August 21, 2009

La Jolla, CA.----Bay Area home sales rose last month to the highest level for a July in four years as deals above $500,000 continued to accelerate. The median sale price climbed above the prior month for the fourth consecutive month, lifted by the combination of more high-end transactions and fewer sales of lower-cost, lender-owned foreclosures, a real estate information service reported.

The median price paid for a home in the nine-county region rose to $395,000, up 12.2 percent from $352,000 in June, but down 16.0 percent from $470,000 in July 2008, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

Although last month’s median was 36.2 percent higher than the current cycle’s low of $290,000 in March this year, it was still 40.6 percent below the peak $665,000 median reached in June and July of 2007.

The median’s $43,000 gain between June and July was mainly the result of a shift toward a greater portion of sales occurring in higher-priced neighborhoods. The trend has been fueled this summer by several factors, including: More distress in high-end areas, leading to more motivated sellers; more buyers sensing a bottom could be near; and increased availability of larger home loans, which had become more expensive and far more difficult to obtain after the credit crunch hit two years ago.

Loans above $417,000 accounted for 30 percent of Bay Area home sales last month – the highest since they represented 31.9 percent of sales in August 2008. Before the August 2007 credit crunch, such “jumbo” loans over $417,000 represented more than 60 percent of sales.

In another sign of a gradual comeback in home financing, the percentage of Bay Area homes purchased last month with an adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 6.6 percent – up from a record low of 3.0 percent in January 2009. The median sale price for homes purchased with those adjustable-rate loans last month was $766,500, while the median loan amount was $523,500. Adjustable-rate mortgages averaged about 61 percent of all Bay Area purchase loans this decade up until the credit crunch, after which they began to dry up quickly.

Sales of $500,000-plus existing single-family detached houses rose to 35.6 percent of all house resales last month, up from 34.1 percent in June and up from a low this year of 22.7 percent in January. Last month’s $500,000-plus sales were the highest since they were 38 percent of sales last September.

As high-end sales have taken off in recent months, sales of foreclosures in less-expensive inland areas have tapered off. Last month 34.2 percent of the Bay Area homes that resold were foreclosure resales – homes resold in July that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months. Last month’s foreclosure resale level was the lowest since it was 33.3 percent in July 2008. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52 percent of all Bay Area resales in February this year.

The drying up of the lower-cost foreclosures helps explain why July sales of sub-$300,000 existing single-family houses dropped to 37.8 percent of house resales. That was down from a high this year of 48.9 percent of resales in March.

“In the San Francisco Bay Area and across California we continue to see the market moving gradually back toward a more normal balance of sales across all price ranges. The high end of the market finally has a pulse and that has led to a swift rise in the median sale price. It’s the opposite of what we saw two years ago, when the credit crunch slammed the brakes on jumbo lending and sales of more expensive homes screeched to a halt. That triggered a near free-fall in the median sale price,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

“Evidence is mounting that in some areas we’ve approached at least a soft bottom for home prices,” he said. “But we continue to view that possibility with an abundance of caution, given all of the uncertainty over future foreclosure inventories and ongoing job cuts. The market remains vulnerable.”

A total of 8,771 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month. That was up 1.5 percent from 8,664 in June and up 15.6 percent from 7,586 in July 2008.

Although last month’s sales were the highest for the month of July in four years, and the highest for any month since August 2006, they were still 7.8 percent lower than the average of 9,512 homes sold during the month of July going back to 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. July sales have varied between a low of 6,666 sales in 1995 and a peak of 14,258 in 2004.

San Diego-based MDA DataQuick is a division of MDA Lending Solutions, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates. MDA DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts. Because of late data availability, sales counts were estimated in Alameda and San Mateo counties.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $1,739 last month, up from $1,585 the previous month, and down from $2,359 a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current payments are 33.7 percent below typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They are 51.0 percent below the current cycle's peak in July 2007.

Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions. Foreclosure activity is off its recent peak but remains high by historical standards, while financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is edging higher but remains low, as does financing with multiple mortgages. Down payment sizes are stable and non-owner occupied buying activity is above-average in some markets, MDA DataQuick reported.

 

Sales Volume Median Price
All homes Jul-08 Jul-09 %Chng Jul-08 Jul-09 %Chng
Alameda         1,428 1,780 24.6% $440,000 $340,000 -22.7%
Contra Costa    1,730 1,888 9.1% $350,000 $261,000 -25.4%
Marin           277 265 -4.3% $770,000 $650,000 -15.6%
Napa            125 134 7.2% $440,000 $342,500 -22.2%
Santa Clara     1,660 2,199 32.5% $585,500 $490,000 -16.3%
San Francisco   609 543 -10.8% $749,000 $642,426 -14.2%
San Mateo       648 692 6.8% $670,000 $574,750 -14.2%
Solano          592 715 20.8% $275,000 $200,000 -27.3%
Sonoma          517 555 7.4% $362,500 $328,000 -9.5%
Bay Area        7,586 8,771 15.6% $470,000 $395,000 -16.0%

Source: MDA DataQuick Information Systems, www.DQNews.com

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157 or John Karevoll (909) 867-9534

Copyright 2009 DataQuick Information Systems. All rights reserved.
California November Home Sales

December 16, 2014

Bay Area Home Sales Slowest in Six Years; Single-Digit Price Increase

December 16, 2014

Southern California November Home Sales Fall Sharply; Median Sale Price Holds Steady Again

December 15, 2014

California October Home Sales

November 13, 2014

San Francisco Bay Area Home Sales Edge Higher; Price Growth Ratchets Down Again

November 13, 2014

Southern California Home Sales Dip To Three-Year Low; Smaller Year-Over-Year Gain for Median Sale Price

November 12, 2014

Las Vegas Region September Home Sales

October 30, 2014

Golden State Foreclosure Starts Continue to Decline

October 17, 2014

California September Home Sales

October 14, 2014

Strongest September for Bay Area Home Sales in Five Years; Prices Flat

October 14, 2014

Southland Home Sales Edge Higher; Price Growth Slows

October 13, 2014

Portland Region August Home Sales

October 2, 2014

Seattle Region August Home Sales

October 1, 2014

Miami Region August Home Sales

September 30, 2014

Las Vegas Region August Home Sales

September 29, 2014

California August Home Sales

September 11, 2014

Bay Area Home Sales Slow in August; Prices Increases Ease Back

September 11, 2014

Southland Home Sales Sputter; Median Sale Price Hits 80-Month High

September 11, 2014

Las Vegas Region July Home Sales

August 27, 2014

California July Home Sales

August 14, 2014

Sluggish Bay Area Home Sales in July; Prices Up – at a Slower Pace

August 14, 2014

Southland Home Sales Fall Yr/Yr Again; Prices Rise at Slower Pace

August 13, 2014

Las Vegas Region June Home Sales

August 8, 2014

Million-Dollar Home Sales Up Again in the Golden State

July 31, 2014

California Foreclosure Starts Lowest Since 2005

July 17, 2014

California June Home Sales

July 16, 2014

Bay Area Home Sales Up Slightly; Price Increases Slow

July 16, 2014

Southland Home Sales Down from Last Year Again; Price Gains Throttle Back

July 15, 2014

Seattle Region May Home Sales

July 1, 2014

Miami Region May Home Sales

June 30, 2014

Las Vegas Region May Home Sales

June 25, 2014

California May Home Sales

June 12, 2014

Bay Area Home Sales Constrained by Supply; Prices Continue to Rise

June 12, 2014

Southland Home Sales Slow; Median Price Rises Again but at Slower Pace

June 11, 2014

Portland Region April Home Sales

June 5, 2014

Phoenix Region February Home Sales

June 4, 2014

Las Vegas Region April Home Sales

May 28, 2014

California April Home Sales

May 14, 2014

Bay Area Home Prices Continue to Rise; Sales Up from March, Flat Yr/Yr

May 14, 2014

Faster Pace for Southland Home Sales; Median Sale Price Edges Higher

May 13, 2014

Seattle Region March Home Sales

May 9, 2014

Miami Region March Home Sales

May 7, 2014

Las Vegas Region March Home Sales

April 29, 2014

California Foreclosure Starts Hover Near 8-Year Low

April 22, 2014

California March Home Sales

April 16, 2014

Bay Area Median Sale Price Highest Since 2007; Slowest March Sales in 6 Years

April 16, 2014

Southland Home Sales Stuck at 6-year Low; Median Price Rises to 6-Year High

April 15, 2014

Phoenix Region February Home Sales

April 1, 2014

Las Vegas Region February Home Sales

March 27, 2014

California February Home Sales

March 13, 2014

Bay Area home sales slowest since 2008

March 13, 2014

Southern California February Home Sales Lowest Since 2008

March 12, 2014

Portland Region January Home Sales

March 6, 2013

Seattle Region January Home Sales

March 4, 2014

Miami Region January Home Sales

January 27, 2014

Las Vegas Region January Home Sales

February 25, 2014

California January Home Sales

February 13, 2014

Bay Area Home Sales Slowest for a January Since 2008

February 13, 2014

Southland Home Sales Drop in January; Price Picture Mixed

February 12, 2014

Las Vegas Region December Home Sales

February 7, 2014

Million-Dollar Home Sales Jump in the Golden State

January 30, 2014

California Foreclosure Starts Dip to Eight-Year Low

January 21, 2014

California December Home Sales

January 15, 2014

Bay Area Home Sales Drop to Six-Year Low; Prices Still Up Sharply Yr/Yr

January 15, 2014

Southland December Home Sales at Six-Year Low; Median Price Jumps

January 14, 2014

Portland Region November Home Sales

January 9, 2014

Seattle Region November Home Sales

January 2, 2014