Four Bay Area cities ranked as the coldest real estate markets in the U.S.

Bay Area real estate has long been hailed for its sizzling hot prices, million dollar tear-downs and bidding wars. But a new report from housing website RealtyHop shows that what goes up does tend to come down eventually.

The study investigated the strength of the 100 largest housing markets across the United States. Researchers analyzed over 300,000 real estate listings on RealtyHop to identify the market health of each city based on the median change in asking prices. And it may surprise you to learn that four Bay Area cities got ranked among the weakest real estate markets in the nation. San Francisco was ranked #97 out of 100, the fourth coldest housing market in the country in December. The average listing required a drop of -5.63 percent in order to be taken off of the market. Despite this, the city by the bay continues to be the most expensive housing market in the United States.

“The Bay Area housing market seems to be going through a correction period,” says analyst Shane Lee. “It is no news that the Bay Area is one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation with a median home price of $1.4 million in San Francisco, $725,000 in Oakland, and $849,000 in San Jose. In fact, the Bay Area housing market is one of the least affordable markets in the U.S. A home buyer making median income would have to spend over 60 percent of income on the home. The truth is, not everyone makes over $150k each year, and at some point, the home prices would reach a ceiling, which seems to be what the Bay Area is experiencing.”

c9f68 SJM L TRAVTOPTEN LIST 0407  Four Bay Area cities ranked as the coldest real estate markets in the U.S.
A classic postcard view of the Victorian houses lining San Francisco’sAlamo Square. (Getty Images) 

Next up near the bottom of the barrel was Oakland, ranked number 95. The East Bay city saw a median price slump of -4.98 percent. Both San Francisco and Oakland made the bottom 10 of the rankings.

Fremont ranked #88, with a median price slide of -3.93 percent. San Jose fared slightly better: It was ranked #84 out of 100 cities included in the report, in terms of having a strong housing market. San Jose saw a -3.70 percent change in the asking price in December.

Some experts say this cooling of the market is all part of a normal stabilization period that will keep the housing bubble from suffering a big burst down the line.

“As the housing market cools down, sellers have to lower the prices in order to attract buyers and close the deal,” notes Lee. “In San Francisco, listings saw a median price drop of -5.63 percent, which translates to around $100k. That is not to say, however, that the Bay Area market is entering a housing recession, the supply and demand are still strong. It is a good thing that we are seeing a small market correction now as opposed to a big dip over 15 percent, a nightmare no one wants to live through again.”

For those keeping track, the hottest market in the country is Gilbert, Arizona, according to this report, and the coldest market is Detroit, Michigan. In the motor city, the median price plunge is -8.33 percent.

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