Bay Area For-Sale Inventory of Homes Plummets At Three Times National Rate

By Sharon Simonson

Bay Area housing markets have seen the largest declines in for-sale inventory of any in the country in the last year, according to Movoto.com, a Bay Area-based residential real estate brokerage that does business in 32 U.S. states.

Bay Area San Francisco real estateAmidst an overall decline of 19 percent nationally in the inventory of for-sale homes to 88,000, Northern California housing markets including Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose have all seen declines in excess of 60 percent.

Not surprisingly, Movoto reports, metrics across all Northern California housing markets portray rapid recovery in underlying property fundamentals.

In San Francisco and San Jose, for-sale inventory of homes and condominiums is down 80 percent compared to January 2011. At the same time, the median price per square foot has risen a whopping 30 percent to $380 in San Jose in the last two years. In San Francisco, prices have taken an 18 percent jump up from two years ago to $640 today.

Sally Olsson, a Movoto spokesperson, said both existing homeowners and banks are holding properties off the market as they watch prices rise. “Inventory is down in part because people usually stay in a home for about five years. However, the housing bubble burst about five years ago, and homes lost significant value. People who would normally sell their homes around this time are waiting for the market to improve in hopes of recovering some of the money they invested in their purchase,” she said in an email message.

In Oakland, for-sale inventories of single-family homes and condominiums are down 76 percent from two years ago, with the bulk of that supply contraction in the last year. Today there are 289 homes and condos for sale in Oakland compared to 1,182 two years ago. Median price per square foot is up 23 percent to $238.

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