The East Bay's luxury housing market began the new year with a bang as sales in January were up sharply from a year ago and the median sale price rose as well, according to a new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
The figures are based on Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold for more than $1 million last month in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
A total of 90 luxury homes sold last month, up from 77 transactions in January 2013, a 17% increase. High-end sales were down from December's 160 units, although it's not unusual to have a drop from year-end closings.
Meanwhile, the median sale price of a luxury home in January rose to $1,325,000, up 6% from a year ago when the median stood at $1.25 million and up 1.1% from the previous month when it was $1,310,500.
There were nine sales of more than $2 million in January, up from eight at the same time last year. Homes also sold faster on average than they did the previous month and a year ago.
"The East Bay's luxury housing market began the new year right where it left off last year with very strong sales gains and a solid increase in prices," said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. "Well qualified buyers see good value in the local luxury market and continue to push sales and prices higher."
Turley said the one hurdle facing the luxury market in the East Bay, as well as throughout much of the Bay Area, is a serious shortage of homes for sale. Inventory of available homes is down more than 50% from a normal market, and there aren't enough properties to meet the tremendous demand from buyers.
"Homeowners who have even kicked around the idea of selling should think seriously of jumping into the market now," he said. "Real estate has always been a business of supply and demand, and right now this is very much a seller's market. Savvy homeowners who sell now are in a very favorable position."
Some key findings from this month's Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage luxury report:
* The most expensive sale in the East Bay last month was a five-bedroom, five-bath, approximately 6,600-square-foot home in Alameda that sold for $3.4 million. Danville boasted the most luxury sales with 13, followed by Pleasanton, Alamo and Fremont with eight each, and Oakland and Lafayette with seven each;
* Homes sold in an average of 46.5 days, down from 50.9 days a year ago and 52 days the previous month;
* Sellers received an average of 100% of their asking price, the same as a year ago but down from 102.5% the previous month.
The East Bay Luxury Housing Market Report is a monthly report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which has offices in Pleasanton and specializes in high-end real estate sales.