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Foreclosure influx kills new home sales, prices in Bay Area

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Sales of newly built San Francisco-Bay Area homes fell to a record low in January with builders overwhelmed by competition from the foreclosure resale market, real estate analytics firm DataQuick said Thursday. In January, 253 newly constructed homes were sold in the Bay Area, down from the previous record low of 264 homes in January 1993 and the lowest month-on-record for new homes sales in the history of DataQuick's survey. Median home sale prices for new and existing homes in the Bay Area also fell 9.9% between December and January and 3.4% over January of 2010. La Jolla, Calif.-based DataQuick says the median home sale price in January was $338,000, down from $375,000 in December of 2010 and from $350,000 a year ago. “January and February are the two months of the year that are the least predictive of upcoming trends. That said, last month’s activity was a continuation of trends we saw much of last year. The market is still dominated by distress sales and bargain hunting. We’re seeing little discretionary activity,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. At the same time, Walsh noted that foreclosure resales are now making up a substantial part of the market and luring buyers from new sales and sales of other existing homes. Foreclosure resales -- or homes foreclosed on in the past 12 months -- rose in January to represent 34.7% of the Bay Area's resale market, the highest level since February of 2010. Overall, the report says 4,966 new and resale homes sold in the nine-counties that make up the Bay Area in January. That is down 30.8% from December when more than 7,000 homes were sold and up 2.3% from January of last year when 4,853 homes were sold. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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