More evidence that the regional housing market is taking a breather: For the first time since 2008, the median price of a single-family home dropped from May to June across five Bay Area counties, according to MLSListings Inc.
The dip was driven nearly exclusively by a 2 percent decline in Santa Clara County, the largest housing market in the five-county analysis that includes San Mateo, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey.
In Santa Clara County, the change took the median price from $825,000 to $811,000 for a single-family home. In Santa Cruz County, the median price recorded a more serious 6 percent dive, going from $625,000 in May to $585,000 in June.
San Benito, Monterey and San Mateo counties all recorded price increases month over month, with San Mateo County the clear humdinger with median prices climbing 6 percent to more than $1 million for the first time since 2007.
On a year-over-year basis, median prices continue to show impressive double-digit gains, up 40 percent and more in Monterey and San Benito counties, 22 percent in San Mateo County and 17 percent in Santa Clara.
But fewer homes are selling across all five counties not only on a month-to-month basis but year over year as well. Only Santa Cruz County saw more homes close this June than last, up 16 percent to 185 sold single-family homes last month.
Quincy Virgilio, incoming board chairman for MLSListings and vice chairman of Keller Williams/Quincy Virgilio Real Estate, cautioned against overreaction: “It’s a little chill. It’s all it is,” he said.
“I don’t think it indicates much other than a leveling of the market. We have been on a fairly unrealistic [price] climb over the last 12 months,” he said.
Buyers are often frustrated, and the market statistics may indicate some fatigue with the process; rising interest rates also might have pushed some from the market as more-expensive money reduces the cost of the new home they can afford.
Most of his time is spent trying to persuade existing homeowners to list their homes, he said. In many cases, owners who three years ago were carrying mortgage debt for more than their home’s value have recovered equity. Instead of selling, they are contemplating holding with the hope of capturing even more appreciation.
While single-family and condominium for-sale inventory is up nearly across the board on a month-over-month basis, it is far below the levels of a year ago. In June, owners were trying to sell 1,873 Santa Clara County single-family homes; a year ago, there were 2,589 on the market.
Virgilio expects inventory to continue to rise as the summer progresses and fades into fall, but “sales will stay steady right with it,” he said.
Graphs courtesy of MLSListings