Bay Area real estate: sales slip, but prices jump again

Bay Area home sales dipped in February, but median prices rose once again from the year before as buyers competed for the region’s chronically thin supply of homes.

There were 4,767 homes sold last month, down 3.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. It was the slowest February in nine years, according to the CoreLogic real estate information service which issued its monthly report.

At the same time, the median price for all homes sold in the nine-county region — single family homes, condominiums and townhouses — was $662,000, up 7.6 percent from $615,000 in February 2016. On a year-over-year basis, it was the 59th consecutive month of increases in the median price. That run of increases began in April 2012, as the housing market was beginning its recovery from the recession.

“February 2017 sales were fairly weak — the lowest for a February in nine years,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst for CoreLogic, “and about 21 percent below the average February sales tally over the last 30 years. Sales have been restrained by declining affordability caused by both higher prices and, more recently, higher mortgage interest rates, as well as a tight inventory of homes for sale and, possibly, the very wet winter.”

The nearly 8 percent year-over-year growth of the median price was the highest in four months, he added. Around the region, homes sales of $500,000 or more accounted for 65.6 percent of all sales — solid evidence of just how costly the Bay Area market has become.

On the Peninsula, sales rose year-over-year by 7.1 percent in Santa Clara County where the median price hit $845,000, up 9.0 percent from February 2016. San Mateo County was a different story with sales down 7.7 percent. The median, however, rose 14.3 percent to $1,032,500.

In the East Bay, sales rose 4.4 percent in Alameda County where the median reached $682,000, up 6.6 percent year-over-year. In Contra Costa County, sales slipped 2.7 percent while the median rose 6.9 percent to $508,000.

In San Francisco, where inventory is exceptionally tight, sales slipped 27.2 percent from a year earlier and the median fell 2.0 percent to $1,120,000.

Similar patterns played out in the single-family home market, with sales down 2.0 percent across the region and price gains edging into double digits. The median price of a single-family home in the Bay Area last month was $675,000, up 11.4 percent year-over-year.

Sales of single-family homes rose 11.2 percent in Santa Clara County, while the median there rose 11.4 percent to $960,000. In San Mateo County, sales fell 1.4 percent, but the median gained 16.2 percent to hit $1,162,000.

Alameda County sales dipped 3.0 percent, while the median price leaped 12.3 percent to $730,000. Contra Costa County sales fell 4.4 percent, while the median rose 9.0 percent to $501,250.

In San Francisco, sales slid 5.9 percent, but, again, the median price rose 5.7 percent to $1,150,000.

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