News Column

Bay Area Housing Market Losing Steam

September 14, 2013

By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News

bay area, housing market

The sizzling Bay Area housing market cooled a bit in August, according to a report released Friday.

Sales of all types of homes -- condos and resale single family homes -- were almost unchanged from last year and down 7.7 percent from July, according to the San Diego based real estate information company DataQuick.

The median sales price for all types of homes was $540,000, a drop of nearly 4 percent from July, but up 31.7 percent from a year ago. That continues several months of annual double-digit gains in prices, a trend that is expected to taper off in the coming months.

Existing single family home sales dropped 3.2 percent from a year earlier, DataQuick reported.

The median sale price of a single-family home in the nine-county Bay Area was $588,000, up 35 percent from a year earlier, continuing a trend of strong annual price gains that began earlier this year. It dropped 4 percent from July.

In Alameda County, the median single family home sold for $570,000, up annually 32.6 percent but unchanged from July. Contra Costa County's median price was $435,000, up 39.4 percent annually but down 3.3 percent from July. Santa Clara County's median price was $744,500, up 24.1 percent from last year but almost unchanged from July. San Mateo's median price was $867,500, up 33.5 percent from last year and up 4.1 from July.

Bay Area condos sales, which made up about a fifth of all sales, were up 9.5 percent, an 8-year high for the month of August. The median price of a condo was $445,000, up 39 percent from a year ago.

DataQuick's chief executive officer John Walsh said the report shows a "market pendulum" swinging back toward normal, In a normal market, he said, trends will be affected by "mundane" things like interest rates, the economy and mortgage availability.

Still, the report showed August sales about 10 percent below the average going back to 1988.

Distressed sales -- foreclosures and short sales where the home is sold for less than the amount owed on it -- were 15 percent of all sales, down from nearly 38 percent a year ago.

Absentee buyers, typically investors, accounted for 21 percent of all sales, up slightly from July but down from 22.8 percent a year ago.

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Original headline: Bay Area housing market cooling


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