Bay Area Home Sales Rise

ea home sales posted a year-over-year gain for the eighth consecutive month in April, with robust sales in lower-cost inland areas once again compensating for anemic sales on the coast, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego. The median price paid, which is down 41.3% from a year ago, edged slightly above the prior month for the first time since fall 2007. A total of 7,139 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the nine-county Bay Area last month. That was up 12.9% from 6,325 in March, and up 13.1% from 6,310 in April 2008. Foreclosure resales accounted for 47.4% of Bay Area resales. That was down from 50.2% in March and 52% in February. Last month's figure was the lowest since foreclosure resales made up 46.8% of existing home sales last November. A lower concentration of discounted foreclosure resales in the statistics is one reason the median sale price has recently begun to more or less flatten, or at least erode more slowly, in many markets, MDA DataQuick says. "For the past few months, we've seen faint but growing signs that would normally suggest many markets are nearing price stabilization," says John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. "But we'll need to see those vital signs continue to strengthen into the fall. Job losses and historically high foreclosure levels continue to pose serious threats to housing stability." While jumbo loans are still hard to come by, Federal Housing Administration mortgages represented a record 26% of all Bay Area home purchase loans in April, up from 3.2% a year ago. The combination of FHA financing, steep home price declines and low mortgage rates have fueled record or near-record-high sales this spring in many of the Bay Area's most affordable, foreclosure-heavy communities. SOURCE: MDA Da

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