Somehow, Bay Area home prices went up yet again in February

The Bay Area’s residential real estate market showed strong year-over-year price gains in February, though sales activity was down from a year earlier.

As shown in a new report from the California Association of Realtors, the numbers sustain a months-long trend in the region, where inventory is extremely tight and buyers — by hook or by crook — remain competitive enough to push up already high median prices.

February’s Bay Area median price for a single-family home was $784,470, up 12.2 percent from $698,950 in February 2016. Meanwhile sales dipped 2.7 percent across the nine-county region during the same one-year period.

Statewide, the median price of a single-family home rose 7.6 percent year-over-year to $478,790.

Though they followed on January’s year-over-year price gains, the latest numbers left C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh wondering exactly where the market is headed.

“While it’s encouraging to kick off the year with back-to-back yearly sales increases, moving forward, California’s housing market could lose steam in the long term as the Fed begins to adjust the federal funds rate,” McIntosh said.

He was referring to Wednesday’s 0.25 percent boost of the benchmark interest rate by the Federal Reserve. More increases are anticipated later this year from the Fed, which began pushing up rates late in 2016.

“In the short term, however,” McIntosh went on, “the specter of higher interest rates may push buyers off the fence to purchase a home before mortgage rates move even higher.”

Here are some key Bay Area numbers from the C.A.R. report:

San Mateo County’s median price hit $1,352,000 in February, up 12.7 percent from a year earlier. Santa Clara County’s $1,100,000 median was up 16.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Across the bay in Alameda County, the $786,000 median was up 9.9 percent, again year-over-year, while Contra Costa County’s $554,250 median was up 4.8 percent.

San Francisco’s $1,276,000 median was up 2.1 percent from a year earlier.

You can view some highlights of the C.A.R. report here.

Photo: A home for sale in Pleasanton, California. (Courtesy of Redfin)



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