As the Bay Area’s housing inventory continued to decline through the end of 2013, so did the number of homes sold. December’s existing home sales fell 12.7 percent from 2012. Meanwhile, home prices exploded 23.9% year-over-year.
More, from DataQuick:
Sales almost always increase from November to December, usually around 8 percent. Last month’s sales were 21.3 percent below the December average of 8,529 since 1988, when when DataQuick’s statistics begin. Bay Area sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than seven years. The most active December was in 2003 when 12,349 homes sold, while the least active was in 2007, when 5,065 sold.
The median price paid for a home in the Bay Area last month was $548,500. That was 0.3 percent lower than $550,000 in November, and 23.9 percent above $442,750 for December 2012. While the median has been at roughly the current level since last summer, it has increased year-over-year for 21 consecutive months.
The Bay Area median peaked at $665,000 in June and July 2007, then dropped to a low of $290,000 in March 2009. While much of the median’s ups and downs in recent years can be attributed to shifts in the types of homes sold, it now appears most of the current year-over-year gain reflects a rise in home values.
For 14 consecutive months the Bay Area median has risen more than 20 percent on a year-over-year basis.
“If current trends hold, including year-over-year price appreciation of 20-plus percent, the typical home would be selling for $50,000 to $60,000 more by spring. Perhaps twice that at the upper end of the market. That could loosen up quite a bit of inventory. The question then is, how much of the pent-up demand that accumulated during the down years is still there? An additional issue is the fussy mortgage market, although things are moving in the right direction there, slowly,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
I can tell you from in the trenches, typical homes are already selling for $50,000 more and we’re still in January. The market is absolutely on fire.