So you thought Bay Area home prices were cooling? Well, kind of, maybe…

You may have heard that home prices have reached a plateau around the Bay Area, or at least that the rate of appreciation is slowing. The November report from the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), however, still shows prices going up — in some counties by considerable amounts on a year-over-year basis.

Before diving into the crux of the report, here’s a snapshot: San Francisco County had the state’s highest price per square foot in November at $804, followed by San Mateo County ($783) and Santa Clara County ($602). For a per-square-foot bargain, you’d have to move to Siskiyou ($124), Madera ($127) or Kings ($130) counties.

Now about home prices.

The median cost of an existing single-family house last month was $1,360,500 in San Francisco, up 4.7 percent from a year earlier; $1,216,750 in San Mateo County, up 1.8 percent; $1,010,000 in Santa Clara County, up 4.7 percent; $800,000 in Alameda County, up 9.6 percent; and $569,000 in Contra Costa County, up 3.5 percent. The inland push continued: the median price in Solano County was $380,000, up 7.0 percent.

Despite limited inventory, demand from buyers drove up the volume of sales on a year-over-year basis: by 26.7 percent in Solano County; 25.8 percent in Santa Clara County, 22.4 percent in Contra Costa County; 20 percent in Alameda County; 16.1 percent in San Mateo County; and 11.7 percent in San Francisco.

And what can we expect, heading into 2017?

The Federal Reserve’s decision last week to raise the federal funds “should only have a minor, if any, adverse impact on the housing market in the next couple of months since rates are still historically low,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, C.A.R.’s chief economist. “Yet, future rate hikes will further increase the cost of a mortgage, which could impact home sales in 2017 and beyond.”

She concluded with this disturbing prediction: “With the specter of rates drifting higher, more buyers may rush in to buy homes and compete for a dearth of homes available for sale, which could put upward pressure on home prices and lead to a further decline in affordability.”

Read C.A.R.’s report here.

More numbers – along with a story in the Mercury News – are coming next week from the CoreLogic real estate information service.

Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker.


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