Bay Area Real Estate Shifting to a Seller's Market, U.S. Still Slipping

Bay Area home sales in August may have dropped to an 18-year low (an 11% decline from last year), but the median sales price rose 6.9% from August 2009, according to a report released by MDA DataQuick this September. And viewed with a wider lens, things have been steadily improving in the Bay Area:

Last month was the second in a row to post a month-to-month decline in the median, which so far this year has peaked at $410,000 in May and June. On a year-over-year basis, the Bay Area median has risen for 11 straight months, though before July those increases had been in the double digits – ranging from 10.6 percent to 31.0 percent – since last November.

The San Jose Mercury News posted two stories on the report, asking Are Silicon Valley homebuyers holding out for lower prices? and stating that although the market is falling, it's not falling as fast as it was.

While the real estate prognosis changes from county to county and even neighborhood to neighborhood, the big picture drawn by DataQuick's numbers shows things pretty much bouncing along, with the market neither going off a cliff nor shooting for the stars.

While on a national level, Bloomberg News took a gloomier viewpoint on the real estate outlook, reporting that home purchases in August were at their second-lowest level since 1963, when experts first started recording the data; and the median selling price of $204,700 was at its lowest level since December 2003.

The slide in U.S. home prices may have another three years to go as sellers add as many as 12 million more properties to the market. ... “Whether it’s the sidelined, shadow or current inventory, the issue is there’s more supply than demand,” said Oliver Chang, a U.S. housing strategist with Morgan Stanley in San Francisco. “Once you reach a bottom, it will take three or four years for prices to begin to rise 1 or 2 percent a year.”

Which is where currently the Bay Area differs from the rest of the nation. Stated at the end of the Mercury News article, the inventory of unsold homes is shrinking to the point where in the next couple of months Bay Area real estate could turn into a seller's market. _

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