Bay Area house prices flat as buyers are "getting their health back"

Bay Area house prices went out for another straight month in April, a sign they may have reached their limit despite the region's robust economy and bedrock unemployment.

The median price paid for a new or existing home or apartment in the nine county was $ 850,000 in April, an increase of 2.4% from the previous month, but unchanged from April 2018. In March, the median price was reduced by 0.1 % from the same month last year, according to a report released Thursday by research company CoreLogic.

"We see more price reductions, more contingent sales, we don't have the spring we had last year," said Joan Ulibarri, a compass real estate agent on the peninsula.

Last April, the median home price was 13.3% the year after, CoreLogic said, and alone in Santa Clara County it was up with a fantastic 27.6%.

According to a separate study by the California Association of Realtors, the median price paid for an existing single-family home in April fell 2.2% from April 2018 in the Bay Area, the only region in the state with price declines. Throughout the country, the median price increased 3.2%. For existing condos, the median price went 5.2% in the Bay Area and fell 0.3% statewide.

"There are several active entries, much more to choose from" in the Bay Area, says Jordan Levine, the Association's Deputy Economist. There has also been a shift in the mix of sales, with fewer high-end sales and more sales at the sales level. It reduces the median price, which is the price at which half of homes are sold for more and a half for less.

When looking at the median price per Square foot, slightly adjusted for the mixture of homes sold. For the Bay Area, the median price was paid for a detached house $ 563 per square meter in April, up slightly from $ 561 in April last year. For condos, the median price per square foot fell to $ 596 from $ 629.

"Compared to other regions of the state, the Bay Area is far past past heights set during the last cycle," which ended around 2007, Levine said. "Affordable price undermines demand (in the Bay Area). It is becoming increasingly difficult and harder to see the same rise in prices we maintain throughout the current cycle. The economy is strong, but at the end of the day people still have to make monthly mortgage payments. There is an upper limit in Bay Area where people can actually afford home. "

Compass agent Virginia Supnet put it another way.

"The buyers are getting a lot of pickier," she said. "They get sanitation back."

Supnet, working on the peninsula and coast, agreed that sales are still strong at the lower end, but weak at the upper end. Where these two ends meet depends on the location.

In Half Moon Bay, everything from $ 900,000 to $ 1.5 million is still moving fast. But Supnet has a listing on Miramar Drive in Half Moon Bay which has been on the market since December. After two price reductions, it's listed at $ 2,390,000, with 4,140 square feet of space, ocean views, home theater, gym and wine cellar.

"People love it," she said, "but it's also not in their price range or they could afford it, but they believe," Do I really need all this space? ""

In Menlo Park "everything under $ 2 million would go away in an instant. When you start coming to $ 3 million or $ 3.5 million," things slow down. "I think people are tired of overpayment," she said.

In some cases, they go elsewhere. New score figures show that Bay Area's estimated population growth over the past two years has slowed dramatically compared to the previous six.

Steve Salta and his wife move July 1 from San Francisco to Portland because they have grown up in two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot homes they share with their two boys, 6 and 2 years old, and a dog.

"My wife and I really wanted to stay here," he said. "I love the idea of ​​raising my children in an urban environment, a big market where you go out and some kind of food is there, some people are there. We love it."

But a three-bedroom home in A good school area would have cost at least $ 2 million, including likely renovations.

"If we tried to stay here, with our financial situation and income," You should be home poor and in a very risky situation "if one of them lost her job, Salta said." As much as we love the Bay Area , it would be irresponsible for us to spend our money this way considering that we have two young children we are trying to provide. "

In Portland, where Steve Salta grew up, they can move into a home family The family owns. His wife, Michelle, is self-employed and Steve can keep his job in business development at Healthline, a medical information site, and come to the San Francisco office once a month.

It's too early to say what impact this has This year's infatuation has by the Bay Area original public offerings on the housing market.The two largest companies that will be public – Lift in March and Uber in May – are trading below their IPO prices.A number of smaller – like Shockwave Medical, Zoom Vid eo Communications, Silk Road Medical and PagerDuty – have increased. But employees generally can't cash in the company's shares or options for six months after their IPO dates, and it won't be in the fall.

Although the number of Bay Area homes on the market in April was higher than last April, it was still low by historical standards. That means "there's still a lot of demand," Levine said. "If you inject the local economy with a lot of money, it will exacerbate the existing supply constraints."

There is nothing worth the median price in San Francisco County alone hit record highs – $ 1.4 million – in April, which surpassed the $ 1.38 million record set in March, according to CoreLogic. Many of the companies with this year's largest IPOs, including Uber, Lyft, Pinterest and Levi Strauss, are based in San Francisco.

Kathleen Pender is a column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: Twitter: @kathpender

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