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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

California Bay Area: Home Sales Slowest Since '95

by Calculated Risk on 8/15/2007 02:44:00 PM

From DataQuick: Bay Area home prices steady, slow sales

Bay Area homes continued to sell at their slowest pace since 1995 last month ... median prices remain stable at near-record highs...

A total of 7,423 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county Bay Area in July. That was down 6.8 percent from 7,964 in June, and down 12.4 percent from 8,476 for July a year ago, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Sales have decreased on a year-over-year basis the last 30 months. Last month's sales count was the lowest for any July since 6,666 homes were sold in 1995. The strongest July in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988, was in 2004 when 14,258 homes were sold. The July average is 9,800.

"The trend we're seeing statewide is that more expensive neighborhoods are doing better than less expensive neighborhoods. The Bay Area has always been a high-cost market, and we're not seeing the declines in prices or sales volume that we're seeing elsewhere in California. There certainly is a lull in sales, but it appears that both buyers and sellers are taking a wait-and-see stance," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.
Foreclosure resales accounted for 4.5 percent of July's sales activity, up from 4.1 percent in June, and up from 1.5 percent in July of last year. Foreclosure resales do not yet have a regional effect on prices.
The more expensive areas will probably start seeing price declines soon with rising rates on jumbo prime loans. The sales decline in California is stunning, with sales running at about half the rate of a few years ago.