• Last month was the strongest January for sales activity in three years.
  • January and February home sales figures aren't predictive of what's to come in the Bay Area.
  • Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties contributed the most January sales.

Spanning December to January there was a 38.3 percent drop in new and existing single-family home and condo sales within the San Francisco Bay Area. However, CoreLogic cautions not to read too much into this.

According to its data, a total of 4,845 homes sold last month in the nine counties that comprise the Bay Area – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma. This sales total compared to 7,849 sales in December 2015.

A noticeable drop in sales between December and January is normal for the region, as activity historically dips by an average of 28.6 percent.

“January and February tend to be relatively weak months for closings and, as such, they’re not especially predictive of what’s to come for the rest of the year,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic.

In each Bay Area county month-to-month home sales activity was down anywhere from 29 percent to 42 percent last month.

These declines in sales can be contributed to the tight inventory of homes for sale, affordability constraints and the extra boost that December sales got from the impact of recently implemented TRID rules.

Year-over-year stats paint a different picture

While down in comparison to December, last month was the strongest January for home sales in three years. On a year-over-year basis sales activity was up in all Bay Area counties, with Alameda experiencing the largest uptick of 14 percent.

Last month, Santa Clara (1,054 sales), Alameda (979 sales) and Contra Costa (978 sales) counties contributed the most overall sales to the Bay Area’s total.

Notable Bay Area stats

According to CoreLogic, home sales priced at $500,000 or more accounted for 64.5 percent of all January sales, up from 54.7 percent in January 2015. Entering February the median price paid for a Bay Area home was $625,500.

Investor activity and the frequency of cash deals appear on the decline, as absentee buyers, mostly investors, bought 19 percent of all Bay Area homes sold in January 2016. This figure represents a year-over-year dip in investor activity of nearly 5 percent.

Additionally, roughly one out of every five home sales (20.5 percent) was a cash transaction last month. The volume of cash sales in January 2015 was 24.3 percent.

Email Erik Pisor

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