median

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. _

Recommended Reading:

Palo Alto Housing Market – Second Quarter 2010 Update

palo-alto-2nd-quarter.jpg

Because Palo Alto has a wide range of home prices, the entry-level market remained strong as buyers looked for bargains and the high-end market slowly recovered through the second quarter of 2010.

The median sales price in Palo Alto is 5.3% lower than the same period in 2008, at $1,468,000. A huge jump of 82.2% from last quarter and just 5.5% lower than in 2008 was realized in total sales volume, at $205,188,388. Average days on market is just over a month and there were 123 sales this past quarter, similar to 2008.

Palo Alto holds its title as a premier housing market with the highest total sales volume of our four comparison cities, and will continue to become increasingly difficult for buyers to enter the market as the sales price to list price ratio continues its rise to 100%.

Mountain View Housing Market – Second Quarter 2010 Update

mountain-view-2nd-quarter.jpg

Mountain View serves as a good example in our four comparison cities to see that the strongest competition after the housing crisis is for entry- and mid-range homes.

The standout numbers this quarter for Mountain View are 102 closed sales, 121.7% more than last quarter and 50% more than 2008; and $98.5 million in total sales volume, 136.3% more than last quarter and 35.3% more than 2008.

Median sales prices and average days on market are creeping towards 2008 levels. The sales price to list price ratio is just above 100%, meaning seller and buyer perceptions are balanced, though slightly in favor of the seller.

Los Altos Housing Market – Second Quarter 2010 Update

los-altos-2nd-quarter.jpg

Los Altos burned through the summer months of the second quarter this year as it showed strong signs towards a sustained housing market recovery.

The median sales price slipped 1.4% from the quarter before, to $1.5 million. But the exciting news for home sellers is the precipitous drop in average days on market to 41, from 73 the quarter before, and 98 closed sales, which is equivalent to the same quarter in 2008. The sales price to list price ratio is 98.21%, meaning that more and more buyers are paying closer to list price, reflecting a shift to balanced buyer and seller perceptions. Total sales volume is $160,352,888, which is 17.3% lower compared to the same period in 2008.

Overall, Los Altos realized the greatest drop in mean sales price of our four comparison cities and has yet to recover the nearly 13% difference in price from the same time period in 2008 -- meaning home values are still depreciated in the area.

Sunnyvale Housing Market – Second Quarter 2010 Update

sunnyvale-2nd-quarter.jpg

Sunnyvale is one of two cities in our comparison that has turned into a seller’s market the past two quarters. Perhaps it is the urgency of the buyers to find an entry-level house (Sunnyvale has the lowest median sales price of our four comparison cities) before the effects of the housing crisis completely recede that is driving demand.

The median sales price jumped 12.7% compared to last quarter, to $851,000. Average days on market remained the same as last quarter, while number of homes sold was just higher than the same period in 2008, at 177. Sales price to list price ratio is 100.95%, meaning most sellers are encountering multiple offers over listing price.

Although the median sales price and total sales volume are still lagging compared to 2008 numbers, Sunnyvale is reporting strong numbers in other areas this quarter, showing that the city has pushed out of its slump.