Bay Area existing home sales surge in November

The Bay Area’s expensive housing market shows little sign of letting up.

Higher home prices and increased sales in November compared with a year ago may continue to put the cost of a home further out of reach for many in the region. And upward pressure on mortgage rates isn’t helping.

Overall, the number of existing homes sold in the Bay Area’s nine counties last month soared 21.3 percent higher than sales in November 2015, according to real estate information service CoreLogic. That made it the strongest November in four years.

The year-over-year boost in November home sales followed the slowest October in three years.

2d8d8 sjm housing 1229 90 Bay Area existing home sales surge in NovemberMeanwhile, in a region obsessed with home prices, existing single-family houses that sold in November fetched a nearly 8 percent higher median price than a year earlier. While November’s $727,000 median was below the Bay Area record of $752,000 set in June, the numbers Wednesday from CoreLogic show buyers are getting little relief.

Tight housing supply continued to prop up home prices on a year-over-year basis — a trend that has persisted for years. November marked the 56th straight month that the region’s median sale price increased from a year earlier.

However, while the market showed solid gains in sales of existing, or resale, homes, November’s numbers benefited from a comparison to lower than typical sales a year ago. In November 2015, new federal loan rules pushed the closing of many deals into December.

According to CoreLogic data, 5,266 resale houses were sold across the nine Bay Area counties last month. That was 1 percent less than the November average for the region going back almost 30 years.

Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic, said that November’s gains were bolstered, to a degree, by the new federal guidelines regarding disclosures to borrowers during the loan process.

“Looking at the big picture, it was a solid month for home sales in the Bay Area,” LePage said.

The figures included sales in the counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Solano, Marin, Napa and Sonoma.

“One of the things when looking at this information is it’s coming from a number of micro-economic areas,” said Chris Iverson, an agent and sales associate with Dreyfus Sotheby’s International Realty, in Palo Alto.

San Francisco County had the highest median sale price in the region at $1.251 million, and San Mateo County was in second place at $1.227 million.

Among the other seven counties included in the data, the median resale home price was $965,000 in Marin, $933,750 in Santa Clara, $743,500 in Alameda, $589,500 in Napa, $539,500 in Sonoma, $515,000 in Contra Costa and $351,000 in Solano.

Only Marin County saw a year-over-year drop in its median price. In Alameda County, the median price was up 9.8 percent from November 2015 while San Mateo County saw a 9 percent increase. Contra Costa saw a 4 percent increase while Santa Clara’s median was up 5.7 percent.

LePage said that while there have been concerns that the region’s real estate market might be affected by Donald Trump’s election on Nov. 8, the election wasn’t likely as much a factor as some may think.

“There weren’t that many deals that could hatch and close within a few weeks and be impacted by the election,” he said.

Instead, LePage said the region’s home sales reflect long-standing trends and the change in interest rates since Trump’s presidential victory. Since the election, the average 30-year fixed-rated mortgage has risen to 4.3 percent from 3.57 percent, according to survey data by Freddie Mac. Mortgage brokers have said they expect that may motivate some potential buyers to act sooner, but eventually it could push others out of the market.

“When rates go up like that, it can be demoralizing,” said Iverson, of Dreyfus Sotheby’s. “When that happens, it can knock out a piece of someone’s purchasing ability. It’s like getting a pay cut, and we may see some impact down the road.”

Still, while some sellers have been concerned over a possible cooling of the region’s housing market, CoreLogic numbers show home prices rose from October to November.

Of all homes sold in the Bay Area in November — existing homes, new homes and condominiums — the median price was $695,000, a gain of 0.7 percent from the previous month.

 

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/28/bay-area-home-sales-have-best-november-in-four-years/

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