Home Sales Up in Bay Area

DataQuick reports increased sales in the Bay Area for the month of November, making it the fifth straight month for gains in the region. Lower median sale prices …

DataQuick reports increased sales in the Bay Area for the month of November, making it the fifth straight month for gains in the region. Lower median sale prices likely helped spur sales growth despite tighter lending restrictions and a lapse in interest in luxury property. Even so, jumbo loans made up 29.7% of lending for purchases, an increase from the previous month of 1.8%. Distressed property sales were up for the month, with foreclosure sales up 26.5% and short sales up 21.3%. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

Bay Area home sales were ahead of 2010 for the fifth month in a row in November, despite limited mortgage availability and sluggish high-end sales.

The median sale price fell again on a year-over-year basis, partly because of the slowdown in sales above the mid point for prices, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 6,317 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month. That was down 2.0% from 6,444 in October, and up 3.4% from 6,111 in November 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Bay Area last month was $363,500. That was up 3.9% from $350,000 in October, and down 4.3% from $380,000 in November 2010. The median has declined on a year-over-year basis for the last 14 months.

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Last month distressed property sales — the combination of foreclosure resales and "short sales" — made up 47.8% of the resale market. That was up from 45.2% in October and 46.7% a year ago.

Foreclosure resales — homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months — accounted for 26.5% of resales in November. That was up from 25.3% in October, and down from 28.6% a year ago. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52.0% in February 2009. The monthly average for foreclosure resales over the past 15 years is about 10%.

Short sales — transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property — made up an estimated 21.3% of Bay Area resales last month. That was up from 19.9 % in October and 18.1 % a year earlier. Two years ago the estimate was 16.5%.

Last month 31.0% of Bay Area sales were for $500,000 or more, down from a revised 31.3% in October, and down from 37.2% in November 2010.

Government-insured FHA home purchase loans, a popular choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 22.3% of all Bay Area home purchase mortgages in November. That was up from 21.2% in October and down from 23.9% a year earlier.

One indicator of mortgage availability that had seen improvement earlier this year dropped again in November, when 11.6% of the Bay Area’s home purchase loans were adjustable-rate mortgages, down from a revised 12.9% in October, and up from 9.9% in November last year. Over the last decade, ARMs have accounted for 51.0% of all purchase loans.

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 29.7% of last month’s purchase lending, up from a revised 27.9% in October, and down from 33.4 % a year ago. Jumbo usage dropped to 17.1% in January 2009. Before the credit crunch struck in August 2007, jumbos accounted for nearly 60% of the Bay Area purchase loan market.

Last month absentee buyers — mostly investors — purchased 22.6% of all Bay Area homes sold, up from 22.3% in October and 19.1% a year ago.

Buyers who appear to have paid all cash — meaning no corresponding purchase loan was found in the public record — accounted for 27.9 % of sales in November, down from 28.5 % in October but up from 25.2 % a year ago.

This article was republished with permission from TheStreet.

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