Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bay Area August Home Sales and Median Price Fall

MDA DataQuick reported today that the Bay Area home sales bucked the seasonal norm and fell last month from July, though they remained higher than a year ago for the 12th consecutive month. The region’s overall median sale price also declined as a greater portion of sales occurred in more affordable areas, a real estate information service reported.

The Island numbers are smaller than the overall performance for Alameda County. Here in Alameda, August 2009 was slightly better than 2008 with a 2 percent increase in sales; and a 15 percent decline in the median home price year-over-year. The County saw 21 percent increase in sales and a 22 percent decline in median home price for the a same period.

Alameda's median price for August of $505,500 is $165,500 higher than the county median.

The Bay Area saw 7,518 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the nine-county area last month. That was down 14.3 percent from 8,771 in July and up 4.0 percent from 7,232 in August 2008.
Last month’s sales were 24 percent below the average number of sales, 9,886, for the month of August since 1988, when DataQuick’s stats begin.

In the Bay Area, August sales have ranged from a low of 6,688 in 1992 to a high of 13,940 in 2004.

A thinner inventory of distressed properties for sale, hence fewer “bargains,” helps explain the relatively sharp drop in sales between July and August. The number of foreclosed properties that resold in August fell 15.2 percent from July.

Moreover, July was a relatively strong month for escrow closings – the strongest for any month since August 2006. July closings mainly reflect purchase decisions made in early summer, whereas August closings reflect home shoppers’ ability and willingness to buy in the middle of summer.

The 14.3 percent drop in sales between July and August was atypical, given the average change between those two months is a gain of 3.4 percent. However, sales also fell between July and August in the past two years and in seven other years back to 1988. Two of those years saw July-August dips greater than this year’s: a drop of 15.2 percent in 1992 and 14.8 percent in 1998.

In Alameda, we saw an increase of sales from July (39) to August (52), a 25 percent increase.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos last month fell to $360,000, down 8.9 percent from $395,000 in July and down 19.5 percent from $447,000 in August 2008.
Despite the August median’s plunge from July, it was the second-highest for any month since last October, when it was $375,000. August’s median was 24.1 percent higher than the current cycle’s low of $290,000 in March this year, but it was 45.9 percent below the July 2007 peak median of $665,000.

the Island has seen the median continue to drop from $599,000 in June to $505,500 in August, a 16 percent decline.

The median’s $35,000 drop between July and August was mainly the result of a shift toward a higher percentage of sales occurring in lower-cost inland areas. Although sales fell across the region and home price spectrum, some costlier areas saw the biggest declines. Sales fell the most – 21.1 percent – between July and August in Santa Clara County. Its share of total Bay Area sales fell to 23.1 percent in August, down from 25.1 percent in July.

Across the Bay Area, sales of existing single-family detached houses above $500,000 fell to 34 percent of all existing house sales in August, down from 36.2 percent in July and down from 44.7 percent in August 2008. Sales of existing houses above $800,000 fell to 12.2 percent of sales in August, down from 14.1 percent in July and 18.9 percent a year earlier.

Foreclosure resales made up 32.5 percent of total August resales, up from 31.2 percent in July but down from 36.0 percent a year ago. The August percentage was higher than July’s, despite fewer foreclosed homes selling last month, because of the sharp drop in non-foreclosure resales in August.

Link to Chart
Breakdown of August Sales by County -- Source MDA DataQuick


Sales Volume Median Price


All homes August 2008 August 2009 %Chng August 2008 August 2009 %Chng


Alameda 1,271 1,538 21.00% $440,000 $340,000 -22.70%


Contra Costa 1,733 1,587 -8.40% $330,000 $261,500 -20.80%


Marin 247 235 -4.90% $675,000 $713,000 5.60%


Napa 124 120 -3.20% $453,500 $350,000 -22.80%


Santa Clara 1,648 1,736 5.30% $555,500 $451,000 -18.80%


San Francisco 529 514 -2.80% $725,000 $635,000 -12.40%


San Mateo 560 606 8.20% $632,000 $559,000 -11.60%


Solano 598 677 13.20% $270,000 $200,500 -25.70%


Sonoma 522 505 -3.30% $350,000 $315,000 -10.00%


Bay Area 7,232 7,518 4.00% $447,000 $360,000 -19.50%


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