September 19, 2011 (Jeff Alan)

Bay Area home sales rebounded in August after a surprise drop in July but still remained far below historic levels according to data collected by real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 7,513 new and resale homes were sold in August 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 a gain of 9.1 percent from July’s 6,887 sales and also a gain of 12.2 percent from the 6,698 sales posted in August of 2010.

The Bay Area historically sees a sales increase of 3.4 percent between July and August. Home sales in the Bay Area were 22.4 percent below the historic August average of 9,682 homes sold. The lowest amount of homes sold in the Bay Area in August since 1988 was 6,688 in 1992, while the highest amount of homes sold was 13,940 in 2004.

However, because August had 23 business days in which home sales could be recorded compared to 20 days in July, the average number of homes sold per day in August was actually five percent lower than in July but were still 7.3 percent higher than in August 2010.

“The sliver of positive news here is that, no matter how you look at it, last month’s sales beat the year-ago numbers, which were pretty lousy. Lower prices and mortgage rates lured some homebuyers off the sidelines last month, but too many others lacked the confidence to step into the game. They worried about their job, or about prices falling more. Others couldn’t get a loan because credit remains drum-tight, or they couldn’t move because they’re underwater,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The median price for new and resale homes and condos declined 1.1 percent to $370,000 in August compared to $374,000 in July. The median price was down 3.9 percent from $385,000 in August of 2010, the eleventh straight month that year-over-year home prices have dropped.

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

Distressed home sales made up 45.0 percent of the Bay Area’s resale market last month, with foreclosure re-sales accounting for 26.4 percent of re-sales in August, up from 25.9 percent in July, while short sales made up about 18.6 percent of Bay Area’s sales last month, down from 18.8 percent in July.

Foreclosure re-sales peaked at 52.0 percent in February 2009 while the historic rate of foreclosure re-sales is about nine percent.

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