Bay Area $500K-Plus Home Sales Jump


rose across the Bay Area last month in many mid- to high-end neighborhoods, helping to push the median sale price over $400,000 for the first time in 21 months, MDA DataQuick reports. But as tax credits, low mortgage rates and an ample supply of homes for sale fueled the $500,000-plus market, sales fell in many affordable inland areas, where investors and first-time buyers faced a dwindling inventory of low-cost foreclosures. Last month, a total of 8,264 homes closed escrows in the nine-county Bay Area – up 18% from 7,003 in April and up 11% from 7,447 in May 2009, according to MDA DataQuick. On average, Bay Area sales have risen 6.9% between April and May since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin. Last month's sales tally was the highest for a May since 9,935 homes sold in May 2006, but it was 16% below the May average of 9,842 sales since 1988. Last month, sales over $500,000 rose 33.8% from May 2009, when the high end was just starting to emerge from a deep slump. Conversely, May sales of homes priced below $300,000 fell nearly 22.7% below the year-ago level. Last spring, sub-$300,000 sales were unusually high, thanks to robust sales of low-cost inland foreclosures, MDA DataQuick says. "For now, at least, we're seeing a more normal mix of sales across the region and across price categories, thanks, in large part, to the state and federal tax credits coupled with incredibly low mortgage rates,’ explains MDA DataQuick President John Walsh, adding that high-end financing is ‘gradually loosening up.’ "In the second half of the year, there's obviously going to be less wind in the market's sails, given the fading tax credits," he says. "A healthier job market and low mortgage rates will be key to driving demand. Price stability would be threatened if lenders suddenly pushed much larger numbers of distressed properties onto the market." Foreclosure resales, which are homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 27.3% of the Bay Area's resale market last month – their lowest level since April 2008. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52% in February 2009. Home flipping has trended higher over the last year but eased in May, MDA DataQuick adds. Last month, 2.1% of the homes that sold on the open market had been flipped, meaning bought and resold within a six-month period. That was down from a Bay Area flipping rate of 2.6% in April and up from 1.1% a year earlier. SOURCE: [link=]MDA DataQuick

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