Bay Area home sales remain at five-year low
By Ari Burack, Bay City News Service
November 16, 2006
Home sales in the Bay Area were much slower this October than
at the same time last year, part of a trend that has buyers and
sellers waiting to see how the housing market turns, a national
real estate information service reported.
Figures drawn from October home sales in the nine-county region
revealed that the median value of a home sold in the Bay Area
remained at $614,000, while the number of homes purchased shrank
by more than 24 percent over last October, amounting to a continued
"five-year low'' in home sales in the Bay Area, according
to the study by DataQuick Information Systems.
According to DataQuick president Marshall Prentice, "The
market is in the midst of its post-frenzy rebalancing phase.''
"The sky is probably not falling, as some have predicted,''
The number of homes sold this October as compared with last October
decreased in all Bay Area counties, though the largest decrease
took place in Solano County at 35.4 percent lower than in October
2005, followed by Sonoma, Marin and Alameda counties.
The smallest decreases in homes sold were in San Mateo and San
Francisco counties, where the number dropped around 13 percent.
Though the median home sale price in October remained the same
throughout the Bay Area as in October of last year, median sale
prices did change from county to county.
Sale prices decreased the most in Napa County, down from $608,000
in October 2005 to $555,000 this October. Prices increased the
most in Marin and Santa Clara counties, from $817,000 to $844,000
in Marin County and from $639,000 to $658,000 in Santa Clara County.
The highest sale prices in October were reported in Marin County,
where the median sale price of a home was $844,000, followed by
San Francisco County, where the median was $771,000.
Typical mortgage payments for Bay Area buyers were slightly lower
in October than in September, though they remained slightly higher
than at the same time last year, according to the study. Taking
inflation into account, mortgage payments are 14 percent higher
than they were at the peak of the previous cycle, 14 years ago,
the study reported.
The study also reported that foreclosure activity has been rising,
though it is "still below average.''
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