San Francisco Bay Area home sales surged to near-record levels in April as buyers scrambled to lock in mortgage financing before interest rates soared any more, reported DataQuick Information Systems, a real estate information service. Prices increased at the fastest pace in three years.

About 12,400 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county Bay Area region in April, up 12.8 percent from March and up 24.2 percent over April 2003, DataQuick reported.

The April sales count was the highest for any April in DataQuick’s records, which date back to 1988, and was the second-highest number for any calendar month, slightly behind the record of 12,488 for August of last year.

Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president, said, “Potential buyers figure that today’s mortgage interest rates are lower than they will be a few months from now. Current purchase activity is probably pulling in sales activity that would have happened a few months down the line if interest rates had been flat. Demand is strong, pushing prices up.”

The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $492,000 last month, a new peak. It was up 3.8 percent from $474,000 in March, and up 15.5 percent from $426,000 for April 2003. That year-over-year increase was the highest since March 2001, when the $386,000 median was 17.3 percent higher than $329,000 a year before.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,237 in April, a new high. A year ago it was $1,899.

Indicators of market distress are still largely absent, DataQuick reported, as foreclosure rates are low, flipping rates are low, down-payment sizes are stable and there have been no significant shifts in market mix.

Median home prices jumped a whopping 16.5 percent in Alameda County from April 2003 to April 2004, rising from $401,000 to $467,000. The number of homes sold in Alameda County soared 22.9 percent in that time, from 2,072 homes sold in April 2003 to 2,546 homes sold in April 2004. Sonoma County actually saw a drop in the volume of homes sold in that time, from 836 homes sold in April 2003 to 828 homes sold in April 2004.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.


Send tips or a letter to the editor to or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription