Big Jump in April Home Sales, Prices

A Neighborhood scene from Alameda County.
Looking for a new neighborhood to call home? The housing recovery looks to be strong and sustained.

Any question of whether the housing recovery is on solid footing in the Bay Area has been put to rest with the latest numbers from the California Association of Realtors.

Across the region — and the state, as well — home sales jumped in April. Homes prices rose, too, a signal to homeowners waiting on the sidelines that the time may be right to put their properties on the market.

“A brighter economic picture, coupled with record-high housing affordability, pushed the spring home-buying season off to a strong start,” said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold. “With a continuing improving economy and interest rates declining to new record lows in recent weeks, we should see a steady improvement in the housing market throughout the end of the year.”

Sales of existing single-family homes in the Bay Area rose 5.3 percent in April from March – and 9.2 percent from April 2011.

The median price of Bay Area homes – the midpoint in the range of homes for sale – was $526,370 in April. That’s up 10 percent from previous month, and up 7.7 percent from April 2011.

Statewide, April home sales climbed to their highest level in more than two years, up 11 percent from the same month last year. The median sales price across California rose 4.7 percent over the past year to $308,050.

The C.A.R. report confirms the strong Bay Area sales numbers reported by Pacific Union international’s real estate professionals just a few weeks ago, with sales contracts in place for 48 percent of homes on the market in both Contra Costa and Marin counties, 46 percent in Sonoma County, 41 percent in Alameda County, 40 percent in San Francisco, and 55 percent for seven select cities in Napa County.

Here’s a breakdown of the C.A.R.’s April numbers, by Bay Area county:

County Median Price, April 2012 Price: Month-to-Month Change Price: Year-to-Year Change Sales: Month-to-Month Change Sales: Year-to-Year Change
Alameda $456,910 7.5% 1.1% 15.9% 12.5%
$626,970 7.7% 13.3% 21.7% 19.7%
Marin $783,850 16.5% 8.0% 21.0% 53.1%
Napa $363,890 3.5% 18.6% -5.8% 4.6%
$693,750 6.8% 8.9% -2.1% -4.2%
Sonoma $343,750 8.2% 3.3% 4.9% 24.9%

The report on April home sales and prices was released on the heels of the C.A.R.’s quarterly Housing Affordability Index, which found that the percentage of households that could afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in the Bay Area rose to 45 percent in the first three months of 2012, a big jump from the 39 percent who could afford to buy one a year earlier.


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