Bay Area home sales actually increase in some counties even though supply keeps shrinking

The number of homes for sale statewide — and particularly in the Bay Area — remains stubbornly low, according to a new report from the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) In October, all nine Bay Area counties saw double-digit declines in the number of active listings compared with a year earlier.

That’s pretty shocking, and one result is predictable. With buyers fighting over the shrinking supply of available homes, prices went up again. The median sale price of a single-family home in the region was $892,720, up 11.1 percent from October 2016, C.A.R. says.

Less predictable is this: The number of homes sold actually increased across the nine counties, despite the dwindling number of listings. It didn’t increase by much — just 0.5 percent year-over-year. But still, the fact that the region eked out any sales gain at all speaks to the fierce level of competition here; buyers are burning through whatever inventory exists.

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In some counties, the sales gain was even greater.

In Alameda County, where the median price of a single-family home rose 11.3 percent year-over-year to $862,450, sales surged 12.2 percent. In Contra Costa County, where the median rose 14.8 percent to $615,000, sales rose 6.1 percent. In San Francisco, where the median climbed 13.3 percent to $1,594,000, sales were up 2.7 percent.

Granted, these increases are relative, building upon a chronically low volume of transactions. But again, whatever is getting listed is getting sold, quickly. In Alameda County, for example, homes spent 13 median days on market, compared to 15 a year earlier.

In some counties, buyers may already have burned all the fat away from existing inventories. For instance, in Santa Clara County, where the median price rose 18.6 percent to $1,242,500, sales fell 5.7 percent. Homes typically sold there in nine days. In San Mateo County, where the median climbed 12.8 percent to $1,522,500, sales dropped 2.3 percent, with homes spending 11 days on market.

Statewide, October sales were down 3.4 percent from October 2016. Year-to-date sales are 1.7 percent ahead of last year’s pace, according to C.A.R., but the annual sales pace has been dropping since the first quarter.

“As we enter the fall homebuying season, we’re seeing signs of the market slowing as eroding affordability and persistently low housing inventory cut into home sales,” said 2018 C.A.R. President Steve White.

Statewide, the median price of a single family home in October was $546,430, up 6.1 percent from one year earlier.

Here’s another tidbit. San Francisco had the state’s highest price per-square-foot in October: $946. Next highest was San Mateo County ($888), followed by Santa Clara County ($703). The best per-square-foot bargains were to be had in a trio of Central Valley counties: Kern ($133, lowest in the state), Glenn ($134) and Kings ($137).

Photo: This 1,950 square-foot, four-bedroom house on Paseo Presada in Saratoga is on the market for $1.7 million. (Courtesy Redfin)



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