Home sales in California's Bay Area held at a six-year high last month, with the $500,000-plus market logging the biggest gains from last year, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
A total of 8,810 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month, a 14.8% increase from 7,675 in April and a 26.1% rise from 6,988 in May 2011. DataQuick determines that last month's sales were the highest for a May since 2006, when 9,935 homes sold.
The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Bay Area last month rose to $400,000, up 2.6% from $390,000 in April and up 7.5% from $372,000 in May 2011. Last month's year-over-year increase was the second in a row.
Furthermore, DataQuick notes that the year-over-year jump in home sales last month was most pronounced in the higher price categories. While sales below $300,000 rose 12.5% compared with May 2011, sales over $500,000 shot up 23.7%. Deals above $800,000 gained 19.1% year-over-year, while sales in the $400,000 to $800,000 category rose 26.2%.
‘It's not exactly a stampede, but people are starting to move off the housing market sidelines in numbers we haven't seen in quite a while,’ says John Walsh, president of DataQuick. ‘And it's not just first-time buyers and investors. There are more move-up buyers in mid- to high-end coastal counties. Many have likely concluded that it makes more sense to take advantage of ultra-low mortgage rates and a relatively low price on their next home than to wait for the value of their existing home to return to some lofty level. Of course, for those who don't have equity in their homes, it could be years before they're able to make a move.’