High-End Sales Recovering in Bay Area

Home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area were at their highest July level in four years as activity rose in more expensive neighborhoods, according to MDA DataQuick. There were 8,771 new and resale single-family homes and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month, up 15.6% from 7,586 in July 2008 and up 1.5% 8,664 in June 2009. While the median sales price in the nine-county area was $395,000, down 16% from $470,000 in July 2008, it was up 12.2% from $352,000 in June. The July median was 36.2% higher than this housing cycle’s low of $290,000 in March 2009, it 40.6% below the June and July 2007 peak median price of $665,000. MDA DataQuick said a reduction in real estate owned (REO) inventory on the market contributed to the increase median price. In July, 34.2% of homes were foreclosure resales, the lowest since the share was 33.3% in July 2008. The share of foreclosure resales peaked at 52% in February 2009. “Evidence is mounting that in some areas we’ve approached at least a soft bottom for home prices,” MDA DataQuick president John Walsh said in a statement. “But we continue to view that possibility with an abundance of caution, given all of the uncertainty over future foreclosure inventories and ongoing job cuts. The market remains vulnerable.” The media price was also bolstered by increased sales in the Bay Area’s more expensive neighborhoods. “The high end of the market finally has a pulse and that has led to a swift rise in the median sale price,” Walsh said. “It’s the opposite of what we saw two years ago, when the credit crunch slammed the brakes on jumbo lending and sales of more expensive homes screeched to a halt. That triggered a near free-fall in the median sale price.” Sales of homes at or above $500,000 also continue to accelerate. They represented 35.6% of all home resales in July, up from 34.1% in June, and the highest share since September 2008. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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