From: John Karevoll []
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:25 AM
To: Andrew LePage
Subject: DataQuick: September Bay Area Home Sales
For immediate release
     Business editors/real estate writers
     Slight uptick in Bay Area home sales and prices
     La Jolla, CA ----Home sales in the Bay Area edged up in September as
buyers scrambled to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates as well as
a tax credit due to expire at the end of November. The median sale price
rose slightly from August, a real estate information service reported.
     A total of 7,879 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-
county Bay Area last month. That was up 4.8 percent from 7,518 in August and
up 8.4 percent from 7,271 in September 2008, according to MDA DataQuick of
San Diego.
     The month-to-month gain was atypical: sales normally decline around 11
percent from August to September. In DataQuick's statistics, which go back
to 1988, September sales have increased three other times, in 1988, 1992 and
2008. September sales have averaged 8,835, ranging from 5,014 in 2007 to
13,343 in 2003. Last month's year-over-year sales gain was the 13th in a
     "This market may be closer to normal than it was a a half year ago, but
it's still out of kilter, fueled in large part by incentives and the
processing of distressed properties. The sales mix is still lopsided,
tilting toward the low end, and lending institutions are only making really
safe mortgage loans. For those who can buy, there are some very attractive
opportunities. But it still looks like a lot of normal supply-and-demand
activity has been put on hold until the economy comes back," said John
Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.
     The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $365,000 last month. That
was up 1.4 percent from $360,000 in August, and down 8.8 percent from
$400,000 for September a year ago. The year-over-year decline was the
smallest since January 2008, when the $550,000 median was off 8.5 percent.
The Bay Area median peaked at $665,000 in June 2007. About half the decline
in median since then is due to a drop in home values, the other half can be
attributed to the shift in market mix.
     A slight rebound in the availability of so-called "jumbo" mortgages,
home loans for more than $417,000, has leveled off. Before the August 2007
credit crunch hit, 60 percent of the Bay Area's home purchase loans were
jumbos. By last January that had dropped to 17.1 percent. By July it was
30.1 percent, and last month it was 29.3 percent.
     Last month 32.8 percent of all homes resold in the Bay Area had been
foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, down from 34.4 percent in August and
the lowest since the figure was 29.9 percent in June 2008. The peak was 52.0
percent this February. By county, foreclosure resales ranged last month from
9.6 percent of all resales in San Francisco to 56.9 percent in Solano.
     The use of government-insured FHA loans a common choice among first-
time buyers represented 29.3 percent of all Bay Area purchase loans in
September, down slightly from 28.8 percent in August, but up from 13.7
percent a year ago.
     The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed
themselves to paying was $1,578 last month, down from $1,580 the previous
month, and down from $1,927 a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, current
payments are 40 percent below typical payments in the spring of 1989, the
peak of the prior real estate cycle. They are 55.7 percent below the current
cycle's peak in July 2007.
     Indicators of market distress continue to move in different directions.
Foreclosure activity remains high by historical standards. Financing with
multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, and non-owner
occupied buying is above-average in some markets, MDA DataQuick reported.
All homes         Sep-08   Sep-09    %Chng      Sep-08     Sep-09     %Chng
Alameda            1,410    1,681     19.2%   $389,500   $358,000     -8.1%
Contra Costa       1,780    1,607     -9.7%   $300,000   $262,000    -12.7%
Marin                231      223     -3.5%   $680,000   $636,000     -6.5%
Napa                 132      114    -13.6%   $439,000   $360,000    -18.0%
Santa Clara        1,607    1,907     18.7%   $505,500   $450,000    -11.0%
San Francisco        458      536     17.0%   $675,000   $650,000     -3.7%
San Mateo            462      624     35.1%   $603,000   $570,000     -5.5%
Solano               646      678      5.0%   $263,500   $199,000    -24.5%
Sonoma               545      509     -6.6%   $347,500   $320,000     -7.9%
Bay Area           7,271    7,879      8.4%   $400,000   $365,000     -8.8%
Source: MDA DataQuick,
Media calls: Andrew LePage (916)456-7157