Bay Area home sales increased in September from a year earlier, but the results remained significantly below historic levels.
The nine-county region reported the sale of 6,749 homes and condominiums last month, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
That was up nearly 7 percent from a year ago. But the sales remained 22 percent below the average of the last 23 years.
Sales also were 10 percent lower than in August, a typical pattern for the end of the summer buying season, analysts said.
DataQuick President John Walsh suggested that despite sluggish sales and economic worries, potential buyers are still out there.
“Empty-nesters want something smaller, growing families want something bigger,” Walsh said. “People still die, they get married, retire – all of this generates demand. And only a fraction of that demand is being met in today’s market.”
The median sales price last month was $365,000, down 1 percent from August and nearly 8 percent lower than a year earlier.
The median price hit its low point in the current real estate cycle at $290,000 in March 2009. The peak was $665,000 in the summer of 2007.
About half of that price drop resulted from a decline in home values, while the other half reflected a shift in the sales mix.
Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – made up 26 percent of resales in September. Short sales – transactions where the price was less than the amount of the mortgage — accounted for an estimated 20 percent of resales.
Foreclosure resales peaked at 52 percent in February 2009.

Last month 13 percent of home purchase loans were adjustable-rate mortgages, compared to 9 percent a year earlier. The monthly adjustable-rate mortgages hit a low of 3 percent in January 2009 but have averaged 45 percent of purchase loans for the past 10 years.
— Robert Digitale