DataQuick: Bay Area home sales fall 14% in "weird" lending environment
Home sales in the San Francisco area plummeted 13.9% in July as the debt-ceiling debate and negative economic reports kept buyers on the sidelines, DataQuick said Tuesday. July's decline comes after the Bay area experienced a 14.5% increase in home sales in June. DataQuick said July home sales rose 1.7% from a year earlier. Last month, 6,887 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the area, down from 7,998 in June and up from 6,773 in July 2010. "We’re still looking at a dysfunctional market. Distribution curves are lopsided, bottom-feeding is still prevalent and the lending market is just plain weird," said John Walsh, president of DataQuick."We’re off bottom by all metrics, but far from anything resembling normal." What is normal is a sales dip between June and July, as it has happened every year since 1988, according to the real estate data provider. Higher-priced homes fared the worst last month, with the number of closing on home $500,000 or more fell 25.4% from June and decreased 19.2% from last year. Sales below the $500,000 mark declined 17.1% in July from the prior month and increased 3.5% from last year. "There’s certainly a lot more discretionary buying in the higher price ranges," Walsh said. "A lot of those buyers have the option to just take it or leave it and, lately, it looks like more have been leaving it. There was a lot of uncertainty out there over the economy, home prices and the nation's future. And that was before the stock market turbulence hit in early August." The median home price in the Bay area fell 1% from June, hitting $374,000 in July and declined 7% from last year when the median sales price was $402,000. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.