Saturday, July 18, 2009
by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com
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Deadline Newsroom - With San Francisco Bay Area home prices nearly half what they were three years ago, during the peak of the market, sales jumped to their highest level in nearly three years.
The median home price of all homes in the 9-county Bay Area was $352,000 in June and the low price generated 8,644 new and resale house and condo sales, representing a 20.4 percent increase in sales from a year ago, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.
If only the mortgage market was cooperating.
"Getting mortgage financing this last year has really been an egregious process, especially for borrowers in the upper half of the market. We're just now seeing the beginnings of more normal mortgage lending patterns. There's still a long way to go, but it looks like the worst of the grind is over," said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.
Sales boomed most in Solano (66.5 percent); Santa Clara (Silicon Valley -- 28.5 percent), Alameda (21.7 percent) and Contra Costa counties where home price declines were also among the highest.
"This market continues to be positive for the buyer," said Santa Clara County Association of Realtors President Quincy Virgilio.
"Given that prices may start to go up and low interest rates may rise, value-shoppers need to act quickly," he added.
Last month 37.3 percent of all homes resold in the Bay Area had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, down from 40.5 percent in May and the lowest since 36.0 percent in August 2008. The peak was 52.0 percent in February this year. By county, foreclosure resales ranged last month from 6.3 percent of all resales in Marin to 62.7 percent in Solano.
While Bay Area home sales have increased on a year-over-year basis for the last ten months, they remain 16 percent below the June average.
Also, the current median is 47.1 percent below the $665,000 peak reached in June 2007. The median price hit a low of $290,000 in March this year. DataQuick attributed the lower prices to both value declines and the absence of more expensive high-end homes sales.
DataQuick said foreclosure activity remains near record levels, while financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is near the all-time low but has recently edged higher. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes and flipping rates are stable, and non-owner occupied buying is above-average in some markets.
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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group, including DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site, and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop.
Perkins is also the first Examiner to cover three beats for the Examiner.com news service:
National Offbeat News Examiner
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