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San Francisco Bay Area home sales surge at year end

January 23, 2004

La Jolla, CA.--Home sales in the Bay Area experienced their strongest December in more than sixteen years as prices moved to new highs, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 11,354 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county region last month. That was up 18.3 percent from 9,594 for the month before, and up 26.3 percent from 8,987 for December last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

An increase from November to December is normal for the season. Last month's sales count was the highest for any December in DataQuick's records, which go back to 1988. The strongest December prior to last month in 1988 when 10,870 homes were sold.

"Obviously there is still quite a bit of demand out there. This shows that potential buyers will do what it takes to get into the home they want. Today's interest rates help them to do that," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $458,000 last month, a new record. The median was up 0.7 percent from $455,000 for November and up 10.1 percent from $416,000 for December a year ago.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying was $2,045 in December. A year ago it was $1,913. The peak was in May 2000 at $2,124.

Indicators of market distress are still largely absent. Foreclosure rates are low, flipping rates are low, down payment sizes are stable and there have been no significant shifts in market mix, DataQuick reported.

All Homes No Sold
No Sold
Alameda 1,713 2,315 35.1% $404K $425K 5.2%
Contra Costa 1,843 2,195 19.1% $364K $401K 10.2%
Marin 362 414 14.4% $554K $629K 13.5%
Napa 202 186 -7.9% $389K $447K 14.9%
San Francisco 559 756 35.2% $546K $565K 3.5%
San Mateo 732 995 35.9% $518K $570K 10.0%
Santa Clara 2,039 2,793 37.0% $451K $494K 9.5%
Solano 786 848 7.9% $290K $323K 11.4%
Sonoma 751 852 13.4% $343K $408K 19.0%
Bay Area 8,987 11,354 26.3% $416K $458K 10.1%

Soure: DataQuick Information Systems,

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