Real estate price growth: a primer on how the Bay Area stacks up against California and the nation

Bay Area home prices appreciated faster than the national average over the last year — but not by the wide margin we’ve grown accustomed to hearing about since the regional market caught fire more than five years ago.

That’s the conclusion reached by the CoreLogic real estate information service in its latest Home Price Report. It shows home prices up 6.9 percent nationally between August 2016 and August 2017.

Compare that with a 7.4 percent year-over-year gain in the Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley metropolitan area; a 7.7 percent increase in the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco metro; and a 9.7 percent gain in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro.

Keep in mind that Bay Area prices are rising from an exceptionally high baseline. The median sales price of a single-family home in the region is close to $800,000 and exceeds $1 million in some counties. Coming on top of that, single-digit price growth remains a frustration for many potential buyers, including some who earn healthy salaries in the tech industry.

Another recent report says the median household income required to buy a single-family home in the Bay Area is $179,000.

According to CoreLogic, the year-over-year price gain for California as a whole was 7.1 percent — far less than Washington state (13.0 percent) and Utah (11.2 percent). A number of other states also outstripped California in the rate of price growth, including Idaho (8.7 percent), Oregon and Maine (8.6 percent) and Nevada (8.5 percent), the report says.

Among the slowest-growing states were Alaska (1.6 percent), Oklahoma (1.9 percent) and New Jersey (2.2 percent). Only one state registered a year-over-year decline in prices: West Virginia, where prices fell 1.7 percent.

Overall, the report comments, the tight housing supply is helping to “stabilize” the appreciation in prices around the United States.

“While growth in home sales has stalled due to a lack of inventory during the last few months, the tight inventory has actually helped stabilize price growth,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the last three years, price growth in the CoreLogic national index has been between 5 percent and 7 percent per year, and CoreLogic expects home prices to increase about 5 percent by this time next year.”

Photo: This 1,193-square-foot, single-family house recently sold for $410,000 in Vallejo, which — despite rising prices there — remains a relative pocket of affordability in the Bay Area.  (Courtesy of Skip Dodge/Kennon Realty)


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