Home/Mortgages/Bay Area April Home Sales Flat, Prices Improving

May 30, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

Monthly sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums in the San Francisco Bay area remained virtually unchanged from March to April while home prices record their first annual increase in 19 months according to real estate information provider DataQuick..

A total of 7,675 new and resale homes were sold in April in the nine county Bay Area, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma Counties. That was slightly less than the 7,694 home sales in March and 13.1 percent higher than the 6,789 sales posted in April of 2011. Year-over-year home sales have improved for ten consecutive months.

Home sales typically increase slightly from March to April in the Bay area with last month’s sales still 15.5 percent below the historical average of 9,088 sales, but it was still productive enough to be the highest amount of sales for an April in six years.

Cash buyers accounted for 28.8 percent of the homes purchased for the month, down from 29.4 percent in March and they paid a median price of $270,000 for their purchases, up from $250,000 the previous month.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 23.7 percent of all sales, down from 24.2 percent in March, paying a median price of $270,500 for the homes they purchased.

The median sales price for new and resale homes and condos in April increased 8.9 percent to $390,000, up from $358,000 in March. The median price was 8.3 percent higher than in April of 2011, when the median price stood at $360,000. It was the first time in 19 months that home prices have improved year-over-year in the Bay area.

By comparison, the lowest median price posted during the current real estate cycle was $290,000 in April 2009, while the peak median price was $665,000 in June/July 2007.

John Walsh, president of DataQuick, stated, “It appears that the market is taking a step in the direction of normalization, but only a step. We’re still watching technical indicators more than top-line sales counts and median prices. The mortgage market is critical, as is market mix and the receding importance of foreclosure resales.”

Distressed home sales accounted for 39.8 percent of the Bay Area’s re-sale market last month, down from a revised 44.4 percent in March. Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 21.7 percent of all existing home sales in April, down from a revised 25.5 percent in March, while short sales made up about 18.1 percent of the Bay Area’s existing home sales last month, down from a revised 18.9 percent in March.

Tags: Bay Area, DataQuick, home sales, home prices, spring selling season, median sales price, new homes, re-sale homes