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Bay Area home sales in February at 11-year low

More listings, improving mortgage rates could help put would-be buyers back on market

Over the course of February in the Bay Area, 4,354 new and existing homes and condominiums were sold, up nearly 13% from the previous month, but the year-over-year trajectory is trending downward, according to a report issued last week by CoreLogic, a housing research firm.

February's sales represent a drop of 12.8% from the 4,993 sold in February 2018. The year-over-year fall in sales has continued for the past nine consecutive months. This February's numbers are the lowest for that month since 2008, when 3,989 homes were sold, according to the report.

Sales of newly built homes in particular fared even worse this February, with a decline of 43.9% from the month's historical average of new home sales. Additionally, resales of existing houses were down 25.3% from the February average.

Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic analyst, said in a statement, "For the third month in a row, Bay Area home sales were at an 11-year low for that month. However, the year-over-year decline in sales has ratcheted down the past two months."

"The lessening of the declines likely reflects, among other things, a significant drop in mortgage rates since they hit a seven-year high last November, as well as more listings compared with early last year and an improving stock market in early 2019. Those factors are likely putting some would-be buyers back into home-shopping mode," LePage said.

The homes sold in the Bay Area in February commanded a median price of $770,000. This represents an increase of 5.5% from $730,000 in January and 2.7% from $750,000 in February 2018.

Year-over-year, median home prices have been rising since April 2012, a streak of 83 consecutive months. And of homes sold, prices over $500,000 have accounted for increasing shares of the market: 76% of all sales in February, up from 74.8% of sales in February 2018.

— Bay City News Service

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