The median price dropped to $304,000 from $518,000 a year earlier. That’s 54 percent below the peak reached two years ago, the San Diego-based research company said today in a statement. A total of 7,139 new and existing houses and condominiums sold in the nine-county area, a 13 percent increase from April 2008.
“Job losses and historically high foreclosure levels continue to pose serious threats to housing stability,” John Walsh, president of MDA, said in the statement. “In much of the Bay Area, there’s the added problem of ‘jumbo’ loan financing still being relatively expensive and, for many, hard to get.”
Low mortgage rates, the availability of home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and discounted foreclosure properties are driving sales across the U.S. Fixed rates for 30- year loans fell to 4.82 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said today, as the Federal Reserve purchases as much as $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities to push down rates.
In the Bay Area, foreclosed homes totaled 47 percent of all transactions, the lowest since November, as first-time buyers in lower-cost counties finance purchases with FHA mortgages and push sales to near-record highs, MDA DataQuick said.
Mortgages above $417,000, known as jumbo loans, were used to finance 22 percent of home sales, down from more than 60 percent before the credit crunch hit in August 2007. That’s kept sales in expensive coastal areas near record-lows, said MDA DataQuick, a unit of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates.
Sales rose 67 percent in Solano, 34 percent in Contra Costa, 22 percent in Sonoma and 17.5 percent in Alameda and 11.5 percent in Santa Clara, MDA DataQuick said. Sales declined 1 percent in Napa, 19 percent in Marin, 22.5 percent in San Mateo and 34 percent in San Francisco.
Prices tumbled in all nine counties and declined the most in Solano, dropping 44 percent to a median $180,000. Prices fell 43 percent to $225,000 in Contra Costa; 39 percent to $289,197 in Alameda; 37 percent to $315,000 in Napa; 34 percent to $405,000 in Santa Clara; 30 percent to $290,000 in Sonoma; 27 percent to $585,000 in Marin; 23 percent to $520,000 in San Mateo; and 16 percent to $628,500 in San Francisco, MDA DataQuick said.
The Bay Area median price fell 4.8 percent from March. The last time the median rose from the previous month was in October 2007, when it increased 1 percent, MDA DataQuick said. The peak price of $665,000 was reached in June and July 2007.