Posts Tagged ‘housing sales’

Sales of single-family Bay Area homes continuing to surge (Alameda county sees a 26.2% increase in sales)

March 16, 2012


Posted:   03/16/2012 06:22:59 AM PDT
Updated:   03/16/2012 06:23:29 AM PDT

Continuing a promising trend, sales of existing single-family homes in the Bay Area increased by 10.7 percent in February compared with a year ago — the biggest hike for that month in five years, according to a report released Thursday.

“Sales have been up on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive months,” said Andrew LePage of DataQuick, the real-estate information service that issued the report. “That is significant. It’s been driven by lower prices and ultra low mortgage rates. So that’s a good sign. People are out buying. We’re working our way back to a more normal level in the Bay Area, which you would expect with a gradually improving economy.”

Home sales were at their highest February level since 2007 for the Bay Area as a whole, as well as in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, LePage said. February sales in Contra Costa County were the most since 2009, when a huge number of foreclosed homes were snapped up in that area, he said.

The median price of single-family home in February was $348,000 in Alameda County, $242,500 in Contra Costa County, $490,000 in Santa Clara County and $565,000 in San Mateo County. It was $350,000 for the Bay Area as a whole, a 1.4 percent drop from a year ago. The median price fell in every Bay Area county except San Mateo County, where it rose 1.8 percent.

Condo sales rose 14.4 percent in the Bay Area as a whole, 32 percent in Alameda County, 10.6 percent in Contra Costa County, 5.2rcent in Santa Clara County and 91.9 percent in San Mateo County.


LePage cautioned that “it won’t be until March and April when we have a much better understanding of where we are at,” because it’s hard to make predictions based upon February sales. It was a leap year, which added an extra day of sales that month, he noted. Moreover, traditional homebuyer tend to be scarce during the first part of the year and usually don’t start shopping in earnest until spring.

Of all Bay Area homes sold last month, 26 percent were to so-called absentee buyers, mostly investors who don’t plan to live in the homes. Absentee purchases were 23.4 percent a year ago and have averaged 14.2 percent for every month since January 2000, DataQuick reported.

“The market definitely has turned,” said Barbara Lymberis, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. She noted that the number of houses on the market continues to be low, because prices have been so low many homeowners have resisted listing their properties for sale. Consequently, she said, “if a home is priced right and the condition is decent, there will be a buyer.”

In fact, these days, “multiple offers are pretty much the norm” for any house with a for-sale sign out front, Lymberis said.

Barbara Safran, president of the Contra Costa County Association of Realtors, said she also has seen “a definite increase” in sales, fueled by multiple offers on many properties.

“The buyers have waited long enough and they are finally ready to purchase,” she said, adding that she expects more people to soon start putting their houses on the market, especially those who don’t owe more on their homes than they can get from a new buyer.

Distressed property sales made up about half of the Bay Area’s resale market in February.

Homes foreclosed on in the past 12 months accounted for 27.4 percent of resales, according to DataQuick. That was up from a revised 27.2 percent in January and down from 32.6 percent a year ago. Foreclosure resales had been as high as 52 percent in February 2009. Over the past 15 years, the monthly average for foreclosure resales has been about 9 percent.

About 23 percent of Bay Area resales in February were so-called short sales, where the transaction price was less than was owed on the property. That was up from about 20 percent a year ago.

Original article can be found…