The San Francisco Bay Area experienced a second month of year-over-year gains in home sales prices in November, MDA DataQuick reported. The San Diego-based real estate information service provider said the increase is a sign of widening price stability for the Northern California market. The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos in the nine-county Bay Area was $387,000 in November. That’s a slight decrease of 0.8% from $390,000 in October, but a 10.6% increase from $350,000 in November 2008. Year-over-year prices increased 4% in October, the first time since November 2007, when prices increased 1.5%. The November median was 33.4% higher than the 2009 low of $290,000 and 41.8% Sales volume took a dip in November, but stayed above year-ago levels for the 15th straight month. A total of 6,878 new and resale houses and condos closed in November, down 13.3% from 7,933 sales in October but up 19.5% from 5,756 sales in November 2008. MDA DataQuick said a October to November decline is considered normal. “The latest stats show just how much the Bay Area market has changed in a year,” said MDA DataQuick president John Walsh. “Financial distress is still a problem with many borrowers, but for now cheap foreclosures have lost their leading role in this housing drama.” “In the short run, we’ll be comparing the new data to some ridiculously low median sale prices a year earlier – medians severely skewed back then by so many inland foreclosures selling, and so few coastal high-end sales,” Walsh added. MDA DataQuick said the market improvements came in part because of a decline in foreclosures. Lenders and servicers are increasingly pursuing short sales and loan modifications as an alternative to the foreclosure process. Foreclosure resales accounted for 32.5% of all resale activity, up from 31.3% in October but down from 46.8% in November 2008. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52% in February 2009. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans accounted for 26.3% of purchase loans, an increase from 25.4% in October, 19.7% in November 2008 and less than 0.5% two years ago. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) accounted for 8% of loans, down from 8.3% in October but up from 5.9% a year ago. From January 2000 to August 2007, ARMs accounted for 61% of purchase loans. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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