Sorry: No Black Friday discounts for Bay Area homebuyers

Wednesday’s Mercury News story about Black Friday and the housing market is full of the wrong kinds of surprises.

To recap: Trulia has issued a report that investigates whether a Black Friday phenomenon exists for housing. It looks at this question: Is there a time of year when homebuyers can count on discounts? Nationally, it turns out August is when the most price cuts happen — that’s when 13.9 percent of listings in the nation’s 100 largest housing markets have price cuts.

But here’s the surprise you don’t want to hear: Among the 100 markets, the San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland metropolitan areas – in that order – are the least likely places to find a price cut on a home for sale. Looking at the year ending in October, Trulia finds that only 6.3 percent of San Francisco properties saw one or more discounts. In San Jose, the share of discounted properties was 7.2 percent, while in Oakland it was 8.0 percent.

Looking at six years of data, Trulia says a Black Friday sort of happens every August in San Jose and Oakland, but only 9.2 percent and 8.3 percent of homes, respectively, see price cuts. In San Francisco, Black Friday arrives in October, according to the Trulia analysis, but only 7.6 percent of homes there see price cuts.

And realistically, what does it even mean for buyers when prices are cut in the Bay Area? Any “discount” typically comes on top of already sky-high prices.

The most recent report from the CoreLogic real estate information service says September’s median price for a single family house in the nine-county Bay Area was $768,000, up from $665,000 in September 2016. In San Mateo County, the median was $1,225,000. In Santa Clara County, it was $1,075,000. In Alameda County, it was $820,000 and in Contra Costa County, which still has pockets of affordability, it was $560,000.

Last month in the Mercury News, another story laid out just how dire the affordability crisis has become. In Santa Clara County, “homes selling for $500,000 or less accounted for just 8.7 percent of all sales (in September) – down from 12.8 percent of the single-family homes sold in September 2016. Meanwhile, houses selling for $800,000 or higher, accounted for 75.8 percent of all sales – up from 62.4 percent a year earlier.

“Across the bay in Contra Costa County, a relative bastion of affordability, the share of homes selling in the lower-price ranges is also shrinking. Homes selling for $500,000 or less accounted for 37.5 percent of September sales in Contra Costa County – down from 50.2 percent a year ago. During the same time period, the share of homes selling for $300,000 or less was halved, dropping from 14.1 percent of all sales to 7 percent.”

Of course, you already know about the rash of over-asking bidding around Silicon Valley. A new roundup by Alain Pinel agent Mark Wong shows that at least 60 properties went for $200,000 or more above the listing price in Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino and West San Jose in the past month. Nine fetched $500,000 or more above the listing price.

For homebuyers here, there is no Black Friday in sight.

Photo: This 2,400-square-foot house in Portola Valley has three bedrooms and three baths and lists for $2.2 million. (Courtesy Trulia)


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  • Michael Richard

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