Bay Area home prices just hit a record high. Will the buying spree last?

Among the counties in the region that saw sale prices jump the most between this April and last: Contra Costa, up 39% to a median $990,000; Napa, up 27% to $950,000; Alameda, up 26% to $1.3 million; and Santa Clara, up 19% to $1.7 million.

Despite the overblown panic about people leaving for Austin, Miami or elsewhere, those on the front lines of the region’s frenzied housing market say the pressure has been building for months.

“We’ve actually had more people move here from the East Coast than any other year,” said Haneen Hayder, a Realtor who specializes in the affluent Peninsula region home to tech giants like Facebook and Oracle.

As hot home markets in California shift during pandemic lockdowns and reopenings, even those selling the houses wonder how long prices can keep climbing at the current pace.

Some warn of “buyer fatigue” and bidding wars that shut out less affluent and more diverse qualified applicants. While brokers plan their first open houses in more than a year, Bay Area housing advocates are seizing the moment to push governments to build more homes, often running into staunch resistance.

Hayder, who leads the Haneen Hayder Associates team at real estate brokerage Compass, is mostly working with first-time buyers between the ages of 35 and 50. Many cash in stocks or borrow from their families to up their down payments, or offer well over the asking price for houses with more square footage, outdoor space and separate offices.

International buyers have also jumped back into the market in recent weeks, Hayder said. Of late, condos close to downtowns have gained currency. Take a $2.4 million downtown San Mateo penthouse that she just sold after it sat on the market for a year in pandemic limbo.

“We just closed escrow last week,” Hayder said. “Four all-cash offers.”

Statewide, single-family home prices jumped to a median $813,980 in April, compared to $606,410 when pandemic lockdowns were in effect last April. Condo and townhome prices are up 127%, to a median $570,000 statewide, in what is likely a sign of overflow from the cutthroat market for houses, said Jordan Levine, vice president and chief economist of the California Association of Realtors.

“You want to get your foot on the property ladder,” Levine said. “You take what’s available.”

More striking to him is the shifting geography of demand. Outlying areas like San Benito and Mariposa counties are still way up compared to a year ago, but prices dipped slightly there this spring as cities like San Francisco reopened and made big gains.

The state also set a record last month for the shortest median number of days a home is on the market before it goes into contract: seven. It’s a testament, Levine said, to the “imbalance” between housing supply and demand across California.

To David Oliphant, the founder of Half Moon Bay’s Ocean Blue Real Estate, parts of the past year have felt strangely familiar. Just as he saw prices skyrocket in the ski town of Truckee during the dot-com boom, Oliphant has watched demand for coastal Bay Area real estate explode during the pandemic.

First, it was concentrated in Half Moon Bay, near the highway over the hill to Silicon Valley. He’s now seeing an influx in surrounding areas like Moss Beach and El Granada. Some longtime locals have cashed out and moved up the coast to Oregon or into the Sierra. Many aspiring first-time buyers have been shut out.

“I actually don’t love the market the way it is,” Oliphant said.

Lauren Hepler is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: lauren.hepler@sfchronicle.com; Twitter: @LAHepler

Article source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/local/article/Bay-Area-home-prices-just-hit-a-record-high-Will-16186890.php

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