OAKLAND, Calif. - Despite a continued downturn in home sales in California, median home prices reached its highest level in more than a year, with the Bay Area recording the biggest annual gain in the state, according to new figures.
The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) released a new report on Monday that found the median home prices in the state reached its highest level in 15 months to $859,800 in August. That’s a 3% increase from a year ago.
The Bay Area housing market, as a whole, recorded the biggest annual gain of all the regions in California, up 5% last month to record a median of $1,260,000. It marked the first year-over-year hike in 14 months, C.A.R reported.
"Despite persistently high mortgage rates and availability of homes remaining extremely tight, there’s still solid interest from prospective buyers," explained C.A.R. President Jennifer Branchini, a Bay Area realtor who works out of Pleasanton. "The highly competitive housing market continued to provide support to home prices," Branchini added.
Notably, Santa Clara County registered a double-digit gain of 12.3% from the previous year to land the median at $1,852,500 in August. Alameda County saw the second-largest gain, with its 2.5% year-over-year price increase, which brought the median to $1,250,000.
San Mateo County had the highest median in the Bay Area, at $1,950,000, with prices remaining about the same from a year ago.
But home prices dropped in most other Bay Area counties including Marin, which saw a nearly 12% decline last month from a year ago, placing the median in August at $1,475,000.
San Francisco experienced a month-over-month increase of nearly 8%, but saw a decline of more than 3.5% from the previous year, for a median of $1,576,000 last month.
Solano remained the county with the lowest median in the Bay Area, with prices slightly lower from the year before, placing the median just under $600,000.
While the figures suggested home prices were stabilizing, home sales continued to decline across the state, with the Bay Area seeing a more than 18% drop from a year ago. The Central Valley was the only region to see a bigger decline in sales, down 19%.
All nine of the Bay Area’s counties saw sales fall, with Marin marking the both the greatest year-to-year and month-to-month decline in the region, a 36% and 24% drop respectively.
San Francisco also saw a significant decrease, with sales falling more than 22% in August compared to a year ago.
"A reacceleration of interest rates since April, combined with tight housing inventory pushed down California home sales to a seven-month low in August," said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine, who predicted that mortgage rates would likely ease gradually in the coming months, "and provide a much-needed boost to both the supply and the demand sides of the housing market."
The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 7.07 percent in August, up from 5.22 the year before, the realtor group said.