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Friday, March 14, 2008

California Bay Area Homes: "Spectacularly low sales counts"

by Calculated Risk on 3/14/2008 10:12:00 AM

From DataQuick: Bay Area home sales remain at two-decade low

A total of 3,989 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine- county Bay Area in February. That was up 11.2 percent from 3,586 in January, and down 36.7 percent from 6,305 for February 2007, DataQuick Information Systems reported.

January and February are the two slowest months in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. They are the only months with sales below 4,000.

"The lending system has been in lockdown mode the last half year, especially when it comes to so-called jumbo mortgages which have traditionally been the majority of Bay Area loans. Sure there are price declines out there, especially in inland markets. But it's not realistic to think many sellers are going to drop a $600,000 or $700,000 asking price down to $550,000 just so a buyer can finance with a conforming loan. We can only conclude that a lot of activity is just on hold, hence the spectacularly low sales counts," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.
The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $548,000 last month, down 0.4 percent from $550,000 in January, and down 11.6 percent from $620,000 in February last year. Last month's median was 17.6 percent lower than the peak median of $665,000 reached last June and July.
Foreclosure activity is at record levels ...