Thursday, March 19, 2009

DataQuick: Foreclosure Resales now 52% of Sales in California Bay Area

by Calculated Risk on 3/19/2009 01:04:00 PM

From DataQuick: Bay Area home sales climb above last year as median falls below $300K

Note: Beware of the median price. That is skewed by the change in mix towards the low end.

Bay Area home sales beat the year-ago mark for the sixth straight month in February as the winter market sizzled in many foreclosure-heavy inland areas offering the deepest discounts. The median price dipped below $300,000 for the first time since late 1999, pushed lower by an abundance of inland distressed sales and a dearth of coastal high-end activity ...

A total of 5,032 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the nine-county Bay Area last month. That was essentially unchanged from 5,050 in January but up 26.1 percent from 3,989 in February 2008, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.
...
The allure of such discounted foreclosures helped lift sales of existing single-family houses to record levels for a February in Vallejo, Brentwood, Antioch, Pittsburg, Oakley and Gilroy.

The use of government-insured, FHA loans – a common choice among first-time buyers – represented a record 24.9 percent of all Bay Area purchase loans last month.

Conversely, use of so-called jumbo loans to finance high-end property remained at abnormally low levels. Before the credit crunch hit in August 2007, jumbo loans, then defined as over $417,000, represented 62 percent of Bay Area purchase loans, compared with just 17.5 percent last month.
...
Last month 52 percent of all homes that resold in the Bay Area had been foreclosed on at some point in the prior 12 months, up from a revised 51.9 percent in January and 22.3 percent a year ago.

At the county level, foreclosure resales last month ranged from 12.1 percent of resales in San Francisco to 69.5 percent in Solano County. In the other seven counties, foreclosure resales were as follows: Alameda, 46.2 percent; Contra Costa, 65.1 percent; Marin, 18.9 percent; Napa, 63.1 percent; Santa Clara, 42.9 percent; San Mateo, 31.3 percent; and Sonoma, 57.1 percent.
emphasis added
And there is this interesting comment:
Only 321 newly constructed homes sold last month, down 55 percent from 713 a year ago, the lowest on record for a February, and the second-lowest for any month back to 1988. Many builders have had a difficult time competing with falling resale prices – especially foreclosures.
Only 321 new homes in the entire Bay Area? Wow.

This really shows what is happening. Volumes have all but disappeared for high end homes (and jumbo loans), and the low end is dominated by foreclosure resales (and more FHA loans). The builders can't compete with the foreclosure resales, so new home sales have declined sharply.