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Thursday, July 17, 2008

DataQuick on Calif Bay Area Housing: Prices "Dive", Sales Near Record Low

by Calculated Risk on 7/17/2008 02:47:00 PM

From DataQuick: Bay Area median price dives below $500K; sales near record low

The median price paid for a Bay Area home plunged to $485,000 in June, marking the first time in more than four years that it was below the half-million mark, DataQuick Information Systems reported.

The price barometer fell an unprecedented 27 percent from its record level a year ago as more sellers settled for less, lenders unloaded more aggressively-priced foreclosures and more sales activity shifted to less- expensive areas, mainly inland. Credit remained tightest for potential high- end buyers on the coast, where sales were generally anemic and prices showed signs of increased erosion, the real estate information service reported.

June's $485,000 median was 6.2 percent below May's $517,000 and 27.1 percent lower than the peak $665,000 median reached in June and July of 2007. Last month's median was the lowest since it was $469,500 in March 2004. The median first surpassed $500,000 in May 2004.

The median has fallen on a year-over-year basis for seven consecutive months, the result of both widespread depreciation, most pronounced inland, and a shift of sales towards lower-priced markets.
A total of 7,178 new and resale houses and condos sold across the nine- county Bay Area in June. That was up 15.5 percent from 6,216 in May but down 9.9 percent from 7,964 for June 2007.

Although last month's sales were the highest since last August, it was still the second-lowest June in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. The last time June sales were lower was in 1993, when 7,118 homes sold.
Last month foreclosure resales made up 28.7 percent of all Bay Area resales, up from 27.6 percent in May and 3.5 percent a year ago. They ranged from as little as 3 percent of resales in San Francisco to as much as 57.7 percent in Solano County.
Foreclosure activity is at record levels ...
Median prices are distorted by the mix - so I prefer the Case-Shiller repeat sales index for prices. Just like in SoCal, foreclosure resales are dominating the market in the lower priced areas - and foreclosures are increasing almost everywhere (although only 3% of San Francisco sales).