Although California home sales eased a bit as the summer wound down, activity is at its highest level in nearly three years. Here in the Bay Area, a lack of available homes caused sales-volume drops across the board — and will likely keep prices rising for the remainder of 2015.
According to the California Association of Realtors’ August home sales and price report, there were 431,800 single-family home sales in August, the most since October 2012 and the fifth straight month that sales were above 400,000. Statewide, home sales were down 3.9 percent from July but up 9.3 percent from August 2014.
In a statement accompanying the report, CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said that home sales should finish the year on a high note, with more affordable regions helping to boost the state’s totals.
“We’re on track to post stronger than expected home sales for 2015, with the last quarter moderating but still solid,” she said. “Strong sales in the Central Valley and Inland Empire markets should help to propel statewide sales higher, thanks to better affordability and greater housing supply, while sales soften in the Bay Area.”
Across the nine-county Bay Area, sales volume declined by 12.9 percent from July and was up just 0.2 percent from one year earlier. All nine counties saw sales decline from July to August, ranging from 31.8 percent in Napa County to 6.1 percent in Solano County.
Statewide, the median sales price for a single-family home was $493,420, a year-over-year gain of 2.5 percent, the smallest such increase in more than three years. According to CAR President Chris Kutzkey, the modest annual gain is a sign that California housing prices are stabilizing, but Bay Area home shoppers should expect continued escalation throughout the remainder of 2015 due to supply constraints.
The median sales price for a single-family home across the nine-county region was $804,190 in August, a year-over-year gain of 10.4 percent. Prices were up in all nine counties on an annual basis, with eight of them posting double-digit-percentage gains.
San Francisco was the state’s most expensive county in August, with a median single-family home price of $1,242,650, an increase of 26.9 percent from a year earlier. San Mateo County ranked No. 2, at $1,234,000, followed by Marin ($1,087,500), Santa Clara ($973,000), Contra Costa ($814,390), and Alameda ($741,460) counties.
The nine-county region ended August with a 2.3 months’ supply of inventory (MSI), the lowest of any major metro area in California. All Bay Area counties recorded year-over-year MSI declines, and six of them have the state’s fewest homes for sale.
Consequently, CAR says that the Bay Area is the only California region where homes are selling for more than original price, an average of 103.4 percent in August.
(Photo: Flickr/Amara U)