Bay Area home prices increased 23.9 percent from December 2012 to December 2013, according to figures released earlier this month by research firm DataQuick.
Although the median price declined a fraction of a percentage point from November, December marked the 14th straight month of 20-percent-plus year-over-year gains. The $548,500 median sales price is currently 47 percent higher than its March 2009 low, yet still 18 percent short of its July 2007 peak.
Across our nine local counties, Alameda showed the largest yearly price gains in December, at 28 percent. San Mateo, Solano, Contra Costa, Napa, and Sonoma counties also posted price increases of more than 20 percent in that same time period.
Though year-over-year gains in San Francisco were the smallest in the Bay Area — at 12.9 percent — the city’s December median price of $813,000 was the highest in the region.
In terms of sales volume, the final month of 2013 was the slowest December in six years. DataQuick reported sales of 6,714 single-family homes and condos, a year-over-year decline of 12.7 percent. Eight of nine Bay Area counties saw sales volumes slip by double-digit percentage points from December 2012. The lone exception was Alameda County, where home sales were down just 4.4 percent from last year.
According to DataQuick, a lack of inventory across the region spurred the sales-volume decrease, but company President John Walsh said continued price appreciation could help inventory expand over the next few months.
“If current trends hold, including year-over-year price appreciation of 20-plus percent, the typical home would be selling for $50,000 to $60,000 more by spring,” Walsh said. “That could loosen up quite a bit of inventory.”
Pacific Union’s recently released Q4 2013 quarterly report shows that in December, the months’ supply of inventory hit a yearly low in every one of our Bay Area regions except for the East Bay and Sonoma Valley.
Both investor activity and all-cash offers were up slightly from the previous month but down from December 2012.
Investors snapped up 23 percent of available homes in the Bay Area, 2.4 percent more than in November and 3 percent less than last December.
All-cash offers, which were commonplace throughout 2013, increased a slight 0.4 percent from the previous month and declined 7.4 percent year over year.
(Image: Flickr/401(K) 2012)