Bay Area housing: Sales dwindled in October and prices shot up — again

Once again reflecting the tight supply of available homes, Bay Area housing sales fell in October from a year earlier as prices rose across the nine-county region by nearly 11 percent. The median price of a Bay Area home was $765,000.

“October home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area were the lowest for the month of October in six years,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with the CoreLogic real estate information service which analyzed market trends for single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes. “This is a reflection of low inventory, affordability constraints and market disruptions caused by the destructive and deadly North Bay wildfires that began in early October.

“The number of transactions recorded last month in Sonoma and Napa counties, where fires destroyed thousands of homes, fell significantly both month-over-month and year-over-year. Across the nine-county region, total home sales between January and October were roughly 1 percent lower than during that same period last year, and were the lowest for that 10-month period since 2014.”

Median sale prices hit new peaks in Santa Clara County ($972,000, up 16.7 percent from a year earlier) and Alameda County ($775,000, up 13.1 percent).

With buyers bidding up prices on scant inventory, the cost of housing in the Bay Area has been rising relentlessly for years now. The region’s median sale price has climbed for 67 straight months — since April 2012 — and there has been double-digit appreciation for the past three months, according to CoreLogic. Between May and October, the nine-county region posted an average year-over-year gain in its median sale price of 10.5 percent — up from 5.9 percent during the same six-month period in 2016.

Here are a few more numbers.

In Contra Costa County, the median rose 13.0 percent to $580,000 on a year-over-year basis. The median rose 16.2 percent to $1,220,000 in San Mateo County, and 5.0 percent to $1,260,000 in San Francisco. Solano County, the most affordable in the region, saw its median rise 8.0 percent to $404,955.

The region’s “nearly 11 percent annual increase in October’s regional median sale price stems primarily from a severe imbalance between housing supply and demand,” LePage said. “However, a portion of this increase reflects a subtle shift toward a larger share of sales occurring in mid-to-high-priced areas. One of the potential solutions to the region’s high housing costs – new-home construction – hasn’t provided much relief. The number of newly built homes sold between January and October fell about 6 percent year-over-year, and it was about 30 percent below the average new-home sales tally for the January-through-October period over the last 30 years.”

Looking specifically at the market for single-family homes, CoreLogic showed more dramatic price gains.

Across the region, the median sale price of a single-family home rose to $800,000, up 13.5 percent from October 2016.

The median rose 3.9 percent to $1,356,500 in San Francisco; 4.0 percent to $1,316,000 in San Mateo County; 13.8 percent to $815,000 in Alameda County; 16.2 percent to $580,000 in Contra Costa County; and 19.7 percent to $1,125,000 in Santa Clara County.


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