September 6, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

Monthly sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums in the San Francisco Bay area slipped for the second consecutive month in July according to real estate information provider DataQuick while home prices remained above last year’s levels.

A total of 8,461 new and resale homes were sold in July 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 1.4 percent lower than the 8,577 home sales in June but still 22.9 percent higher than the 6,887 sales posted in July of 2011. Year-over-year home sales have improved for 13 consecutive months.

Home sales typically decline 6.9 percent from June to July in the Bay area with last month’s home sales 9.7 percent below their historical average.

Cash buyers accounted for 27.3 percent of the homes purchased for the month, unchanged from June and they paid a median price of $270,000 for the homes they purchased, down from $277,000 the previous month.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 22.6 percent of all sales, down from 23.0 percent in June, paying a median price of $250,000 for the homes they purchased, down from $270,000 the previous month.

The median sales price for new and resale homes and condos in July increased 1.0 percent to $421,000, up from $417,000 in June. The median price was 12.6 percent higher than in July of 2011, when the median price stood at $374,000. It was the fourth consecutive month that year-over-year home prices have improved in the area following 19 straight months of declines.

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

John Walsh, president of DataQuick, stated, “The market has really been lopsided the past couple of years, tilted toward low-end bargain chasing. Now it’s re-balancing, slowly, with increased activity in mid and move-up markets. But mortgage availability remains one of the big challenges in the Bay Area.”

Distressed home sales accounted for 34.6 percent of the Bay Area’s re-sale market last month, down from a revised 36.6 percent in June. Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 15.7 percent of all existing home sales in July, down from 17.8 percent in June, while short sales also made up about 18.9 percent of the Bay Area’s existing home sales last month, up from a revised 18.8 percent in June.

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