Bay Area home sales fell in September to their second-lowest level in 19 years.
The nine-county region reported the sale of 6,334 new and resale houses and condominiums last month, down 20 percent from September 2009, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego. In nearly two decades, the lowest total for September occurred in 2007 with the sale of 5,014 homes.
For Sonoma County, sales of homes and condos were down 7 percent in September from a year earlier. Six of the nine counties posted bigger drops.
“The sidelines are getting awfully crowded in this housing game,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. “They’re lined with people who have the ability to buy now but are waiting for the right moment, and with people who have the means but lack job confidence. Then you have all of the folks who don’t have the equity, don’t have a job or can’t qualify for the larger, so-called jumbo mortgages that were once so common in the Bay Area.”
Walsh maintained that “significant pent-up demand is accumulating.” When it gets released will depend largely on when the economy rebounds, producing more jobs and greater consumer confidence.
The median price for all houses and condos in September was $395,000, up nearly 3 percent from August and 8 percent from a year earlier.
The median has risen on a year-over-year basis for 12 straight months. However, before July those increases had been double-digits jumps each month since last November.
The September median price remained nearly 41 percent below the $665,000 peak in June/July 2007. The low following the boom of $290,000 occurred in March 2009. The plunge was caused not only by a decline in home values but also by a huge shift in sales toward lower-cost homes, especially foreclosures in inland regions.
Homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months rose to 28 percent of the Bay Area’s resale market last month. That was up from 26 percent in August but down from 32 percent a year earlier.
Foreclosure resales peaked at 52 percent in February 2009. The monthly average for foreclosure resales over the past 15 years is about 8 percent.
— Robert Digitale