The median price for homes in the San Francisco Bay Area held steady in October compared to the same month in 2005, according to real estate research company DataQuick Information Systems, while sales were down 24.1 percent.

A total of 7,979 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county region in October, which was up 0.9 percent compared to October but down from 10,508 for October 2005, DataQuick reported.

The sales count in October was the lowest for the months since October 2001, when 7,867 homes were sold, according to the report. Dating back to 1988, there are an average 8,445 sales in the month of October, the company reported. The lowest October sales count since 1988 was 5,767 in 1994, while the highest was 11,728 in 2003.

“The market is in the midst of its post-frenzy rebalancing phase. The sky is probably not falling, as some have predicted. But there will be those who bought near or at the peak, and who could find themselves in financial trouble if they need to sell and move sooner than they had planned,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president, in a statement.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $614,000 last month, up 0.5 percent from September’s $611,000. The median was about $630,000 last spring and during the early summer, reaching $644,000 in June before dropping.

In Napa County, median prices dropped 8.7 percent in October compared to October 2005, based on data for 140 sales. The median price fell 5.9 percent in Sonoma county, 5.4 percent in Contra Costa County, 2.9 percent in Solano County, 1.8 percent in San Mateo County, and 0.9 percent in San Francisco in October compared to October 2005, while rising 3.3 percent in Marin County, 3 percent in Santa Clara County and 1.2 percent in Alameda County.

Sales fell 35.4 percent in Solano County, 28.9 percent in Sonoma County, 27.6 percent in Marin County, 27.5 percent in Alameda County, 25.1 percent in Napa County, 22.9 percent in Santa Clara County, 21.2 percent in Contra Costa County, 13.6 percent in San Francisco, and 13.4 percent in San Mateo County in October 2006 compared to October 2005.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,901 in October. That was down from $2,924 in September and up from $2,876 for October a year ago, the company reported. This amount peaked in June at $3,183.

Adjusted for inflation, mortgage payments are 14 percent higher than they were at the peak of the prior cycle 14 years ago, according to the report. “Indicators of market distress are still at a moderate level. Financing with adjustable-rate mortgages is flat. Foreclosure activity is rising but is still below average. Down payment sizes are stable, as are flipping rates and non-owner occupied buying activity,” DataQuick also announced.

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