Wednesday, March 16, 2005

New Price Peak for Bay Area Homes

Data Quick Real Estate News

La Jolla, CA.----Home prices in the Bay Area moved up to a new peak last month, as sales stayed at near-record levels, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 7,463 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county region in February. That was down 0.6 percent from 7,509 for the previous month, and up 0.7 percent from 7,412 for February last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Last month was the second-strongest February in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1988. Sales in February 2000 totaled 7,507.

"The strength of the market has certainly taken economic forecasters by surprise. Interest rates have been edging up the past month. Generally when that happens, buyers jump to get in before rates increase any further. We can expect a strong March and April, at least," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $549,000, a new record. That was up 2.8 percent from $534,000 in January, and up 20.1 percent from $457,000 for February a year ago.

Prices are going up at their fastest pace in four years.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,460 in February, an all-time high. A year ago it was $2,008.

Indicators of market distress are still largely absent. Foreclosure rates are low, down payment sizes are stable and there have been no significant shifts in market mix, DataQuick reported.


All Homes No Sold
Feb-04
No Sold
Feb-05
Pct.
Chg
Median
Feb-04
Median
Feb-05
Pct.
Chg
Alameda 1,497 1,422 -5.0% $429K $512K 19.3%
Contra Costa 1,465 1,456 -0.6% $403K $488K 21.1%
Marin 256 251 -2.0% $641K $760K 18.6%
Napa 136 173 27.2% $469K $559K 19.2%
San Francisco 485 475 -2.1% $575K $699K 21.6%
San Mateo 576 576 0.0% $567K $686K 21.0%
Santa Clara 1,865 1,882 0.9% $490K $579K 18.2%
Solano 575 705 22.6% $329K $413K 25.5%
Sonoma 557 523 -6.1% $390K $501K 28.5%
Bay Area 7,412 7,463 0.7% $457K $549K 20.1%

Source: DataQuick Information Systems, www.DQNews.com

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