Bay Area Home Sales Decline Again

The March 2008 Bay Area real estate numbers are in and it’s yet another decline in Bay Area home sales – for the seventh straight month. Year over year sales are down 41% and median price is down 16%.

For a closer look, check out the county by county numbers provided by DataQuick. Sales volume is down evenly for the most part except for San Francisco with a 20% decline. It’s the median price that has wild fluctuations by county, with San Francisco actually going up a fraction of a percent while Contra Costa, Napa, Solano and Sonoma all have 20%+ declines.

“Other parts of the state have been hit harder by the downturn in the housing market than the Bay Area. Most of the distress is in areas that absorbed spillover activity during the 2004 and 2005 frenzy. For the most part that’s the Central Valley and inland Southern California. It still appears that a lot of Bay Area activity is just on hold, waiting for the mortgage markets to open back up,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

What you talking about?

Perhaps Mr. Prentice is looking at things as a matter of scale. Or maybe his definition of the Bay Area is composed of San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo. Whatever his reasons, I find this statement strange and almost … uninformed (which seems odd since he has so much data at his fingertips.)

March is the beginning of the seasonal real estate season, the shotgun start of sorts. It should have been stronger, and helped along by a very light rainy season. Yet, the numbers aren’t showing any real strength.

Reductions in both sales volume and median price; an increasingly nervous consumer; continuing foreclosures; high inventory; and tight credit all seem to point to continued weakness in sales volume which will ultimately drive median prices lower.

I know folks are trying to pump sunshine into the market in a self-fulfilling prophesy type of way, but it’s becoming a bit silly given the reality of the situation and market.

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4 Responses to “Bay Area Home Sales Decline Again”

  1. T Says:

    Just sold my ~$1.1m home in the Lafayette area. A 3% haircut on asking, 15% below the peak in 2006. Buyers are thin, and mostly corporate transfers or people who’ve had cash windfalls of some sort. Almost no move-up buyers, and I think as a consequence almost nothing is moving – at least not as fast as inventory is increasing. Everybody who is actually selling is taking 3-5% off their asking price to unload. People who are overpriced seem to be chasing the bottom in belated steps, constantly one step behind buyer’s declining sense of value. I feel lucky to get out – expect my home to be in the $900’s by this summer. I’m gonna sit out for 6mos to 1yr before buying something new.

  2. wcrealestate Says:

    Congrats T! It goes to show that a savvy seller can unload a property in this market. Too many still chase that elusive ‘paper value’ in 2006, or even get offended by having to actually take a haircut off asking. Nice job and I look forward to jumping into the market with you in the next 6-18 months!

  3. T Says:

    The wife WAS deeply offended. It took her a few hours to accept that we were better off taking the haircut than risking the house sitting on the market for a few more weeks at the risk of a further price adjustment. I’m toast if I’m wrong ;-). Or if for some unexplained reason houses in westside Danville (our target area) are immune to the bust. Sellers in Danville seem not to be acknowleging the increases and price cuts in inventory on the eastside or out towards Wendt/Windemere.

  4. Mike T Says:

    Luckily I think we’ve seen the worse.

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