S.F. Bay Area real estate sales fall 26%
Price-drop steepest since February 2002By Inman News, Thursday, December 14, 2006.
About 7,204 new and resale homes and condos sold in the San Francisco Bay Area in November, down 25.9 percent from November 2005 and down 9.7 percent compared to October, real estate research company DataQuick Information Systems reported today.
It was the lowest sales count for the month of November since 2001, when 6,644 homes sold, DataQuick reported. Since 1988, the average monthly sales total for November is 7,725 -- with a low of 5,579 in November 1997 and a high of 10,897 in November 2004.
The median price of a home in the nine-county Bay Area fell 1.4 percent in November to $616,000, compared with $625,000 in November 2005. The median price rose 0.3 percent compared to October 2006, though it was 4.3 percent below the $644,000 peak in June.
The year-over-year decline in prices in November was the steepest since prices dropped 2.1 percent in February 2002, according to the DataQuick report. The median price of Bay Area homes dropped 0.8 percent in September 2006 compared to September 2005 and also declined 1.3 percent in March 2002 compared to March 2001.
"Much of the drop is seasonal: summer buyers pay around 3 percent more for their homes than those who purchase between November and February," DataQuick reported.
Median home prices fell 9 percent in Solano County in November 2006 compared to November 2005 while falling 7.7 percent in Sonoma County, 4.6 percent in Contra Costa County, 1.5 percent in Napa County, 1 percent in Alameda and San Mateo counties, and rising 0.7 percent in San Francisco, 1.8 percent in Santa Clara County and 4 percent in Marin County.
Sales fell 31.7 percent in Napa county in November 2006 compared to November 2005 and dropped 28.3 percent in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, 27 percent in Solano County, 25.8 percent in San Francisco and Marin counties, 23.1 percent in San Mateo County, 22.9 percent in Santa Clara County, and 22.5 percent in Sonoma County.
Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president, said in a statement, "Right now it looks like the Bay Area market is settling in on a price level that could last until spring. What happens after that depends on broader economic factors including interest rates, job growth and household incomes. As prices stabilize and sellers get real about asking prices, a lot of the fence-sitters will jump in. We could see a moderate increase in sales counts."
The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,865 in November, compared with $2,901 in October and $2,921 in November 2005. This level reached $3,183 in June, the report states. Adjusted for inflation, mortgage payments are 12.9 percent higher than they were at the peak of the prior real estate cycle in early 1990, according to DataQuick.
"Indicators of market distress are still at a moderate level. Financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is flat. Foreclosure activity is rising but is still within the normal range. Down-payment sizes are stable, as are flipping rates and non-owner-occupied buying activity," the company reported.
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