Some March, 2006 Results
I know I said I wasn't going to use DataQuick's data so much any more, but look at Marin. It's flat for March, 2007. Slightly negative in fact. Recall the changes in how DataQuick calculates the median and then realize that negative appreciation is probably worse; worse for small counties like Marin but not for larger counties like Sonoma.
But appreciation is flat? In Marin? What about that big 'ol 10% jump in appreciation in January that some of our RE trolls wet their undies over? And this is the beginning of the infamous Spring selling season. Is -0.1% a harbinger of things to come?
And I'll throw this one in for free. I know I've said it before...but how can it be that median county-wide sales price can rise in a down market? Why isn't that paradoxical? Because the higher end still sells while the lower end does not. In fact, every single house that sells can be selling at a price reduction and yet still the county median can go up if the net proportion of more expensive houses that sells is greater than the lower end. It's just something to keep in mind and a big reason why people should not put much weight into the reported county medians. I don't, but since most people do you find it talked about on this blog. And as this down market progresses and as lending tightens, that line separating the "lower end" from the "higher end" rises. Sooner or later it will become obvious in Marin. It just takes longer here because prices are so much higher to begin with; the low end for us is the mid to high end for others:
The Union Tribune reports from California. “Sales of San Diego County homes in March dropped to their lowest level since 1995, but prices bounced back, DataQuick reported. There were 3,218 sales, up 12.4 percent from February, but sales were down 26.3 percent from a year ago, the biggest year-over-year decline for any March since 1995.”
“It was also the 34th straight month to show year-over-year sales volume drops.” “DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said in a statement that the medians are rising because of a drop off in starter home sales in Southern California.”
And I better throw this one about inventory into the mix too; sorry to be in such a rush:
Home inventory is on the rise in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the month of March, Bay Area home listings increased at one of the highest rates in the nation. The large amount of inventory could cause prices in the Bay Area to fall even further.
San Francisco Bay Area homes are selling at the slowest rate since 1996, and unsold inventory is on the rise. But that isn't stopping anyone from putting their home on the market.
According to a survey by ZipRealty, home listings in the Bay Area increased at nearly double rate in March. In fact, the Bay Area had one of the highest increases in all of the metropolitan areas surveyed-second only to Los Angeles.
In all, the number of home listings increased 12.2 percent in March compared to the previous month. That's almost twice the 6.5 percent average increase recorded for the other metropolitan areas.
According to the California Association of Realtors, the increase in home listings between February and March usually averages somewhere around 2 percent.