Home/Mortgages/Bay Area Sales Down in October, Up From Last Year

November 17, 2011 (Jeff Alan)

Monthly sales of new and existing homes in the San Francisco Bay area declined in October but remained above year ago levels while home prices continued sinking according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 6,444 new and resale homes were sold in October 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 4.5 percent lower than the 6,749 home sales in September but 5.3 percent higher than the 6,122 sales posted in October of 2010.

The housing market is typically flat from September to October in the Bay area with sales varying from a low of 5,486 in 2007 to a high of 13,392 in 2003 with a monthly average of 8,620 sales.

In the first month following the reduction in the loan limits, the share of homes sold over $500,000 dropped to 30.3 percent of all homes sold, down from 34.2 percent in September and 37.2 percent a year earlier. The monthly average over the last 10 years has been 47.5 percent.

Most of the counties in the Bay area had previously qualified for the higher loan limits that expired on September 30th, consequently, the impact on transactions in the area would expected to be greater.

“We’ve been watching the real estate market take itty bitty baby steps in the direction of normalcy, but that trend paused last month. ARM and jumbo loan usage went back down, cash and investor sales went back up as a portion of the market. This may well be a short-term pause while the market recalibrates changes in loan thresholds. We’ll know more in a few months,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The median sales price for new and resale homes and condos in October fell to $350,000, a decline of 4.1 percent from the median price of $365,000 in September. The median price was also 8.6 percent lower than in October of 2010 when the median price was $383,000. It was the thirteenth straight month that year-over-year home prices have dropped and the lowest median price posted since last February.

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 June/July 2007.

Distressed home sales accounted for 45.4 percent of the Bay Area’s re-sale market last month, down from 45.7 percent in September. Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 25.3 percent of all existing home sales in October, down from 25.6 percent in September, while short sales made up about 20.1 percent of the Bay Area’s existing homes sales last month, which was about the same as in September.

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

Cash buyers accounted for 28.7 percent of the homes sold for the month, up from 27.5 percent in September, paying a median price of $240,000 for their purchases. Absentee buyers accounted for 22.4 percent of all sales, up from 19.4 percent in September, paying a median price of $240,681 for the homes they purchased.

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