Although median home prices in the San Francisco Bay Area climbed nearly 16 percent from July 2003 to July 2004, they fell 0.4 percent from the previous month, according to DataQuick, a real estate data company based in La Jolla, Calif.

The median price of new and resale Bay Area houses and condos in July 2004 was $514,000, down slightly from the record $516,000 in June 2004 but up 15.8 percent from the $444,000 median price in July 2003, DataQuick reported. There were 12,862 Bay Area home sales in July 2004, up 11.8 percent from the 11,501 homes sold in July 2003. However, this was down 8.8 percent from a record 14,104 sales in June 2004.

“Because of expected interest-rate increases, the market has been pulling future activity into the present,” said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president. “Along with an increased number of homes for sale, that’s why the last two months have been the two strongest on record. Now that interest rates have edged down the past couple of weeks, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with fall sales activity.”

DataQuick also reported, “Indicators of market distress are still largely absent. Foreclosure rates are low, down payment sizes are stable and there have been no significant shifts in market mix. Flipping rates are increasing somewhat, but are still relatively low.”

Solano County, with a 20.1 percent gain in median price from July 2003 to July 2004, had the highest year-to-year increase of the nine Bay Area counties tracked by DataQuick, rising from $308,000 in July 2003 to $370,000 in July 2004. Despite this increase, Solano County is still home to the lowest median price among Bay Area counties, DataQuick reported.

Alameda and San Francisco counties had 19.7 percent gains in median home price from July 2003 to July 2004, followed by Sonoma County with an 18.9 percent year-to-year rise. Marin County, which has the highest median home price among all Bay Area counties, had the smallest year-to-year gain in median home price, at 9.8 percent.

The median price of a Marin County home in July 2004 was $726,000, up from $661,000 in July 2003. San Francisco County had the second highest median price in July 2004, at $650,000, and San Mateo County was third on the list with $646,000.

San Francisco County had the highest gain in home sales from July 2003 to July 2004. San Francisco County home sales increased 22.9 percent, from 656 sales 806 sales. Alameda County was second in home-sale gains, with sales jumping 19.1 percent from July 2003 to July 2004 and 2,804 sales reported in July 2004. Sales in Santa Clara County were up 13.6 percent, and the county topped the list in sales volume with 3,056 sales in July 2004. Napa County, with 209 home sales in July 2004, had the smallest volume of home sales among Bay Area counties.

San Mateo County was the only county in which home sales dropped from July 2003 to July 2004. That county’s sales dropped 2.9 percent, from 1,1015 in July 2003 to 986 in July 2004, DataQuick reported. Marin County’s home sales grew 2.3 percent from 471 sales in July 2003 to 482 sales in July 2004.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,361 in July, compared with $2,450 in June and $1,953 in July 2004, DataQuick also reported.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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