March home sales slowest in 11 years, median price drops for the first time since 2012

Bay Area home sales in March were the slowest the region has seen in 11 years, according to new data released Monday by real estate research firm CoreLogic.

In fact, that's been the case for every month since December. Year-over-year sales have been dropping steadily for 10 consecutive months, with double-digit drops from 12 to 21 percent for the last five months.

March sales of newly built homes, including detached houses and condominiums, were roughly 42.6 percent below the month's historical average. Resales of existing homes were 25.5 percent below average.

"Beginning in late spring last year, some potential buyers got priced out and others simply stepped out of the market amid concerns prices were near a peak," analyst Andrew LePage said in a news release Monday.

"The next two months will likely clarify whether many of those who put plans on hold in 2018 are being lured back into the market by this year's lower mortgage rates, higher inventory and buyers' improved negotiating position," he said.

Median home sale prices have been rising year-over-year since April 2012, 82 consecutive months, but they dropped slightly for the first time in March 2019 to $830,000, down from $831,000 in March 2018.

Sales over $500,000 accounted for 79.1 percent of total home sales, up from 78.8 percent the year before.

The data presented was taken from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties. It does not include Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.