Ouch! Bay Area Home Prices Plunge a Whopping 41%

The median home price plunged 41 percent last month across the nine county region. Deal-seeking buyers snapped up foreclosed homes and other homes deeply discounted.

DataQuck released figures today that show the median sale price in the area declined to $375,000 in October, compared to $631,000 just one year ago.

October's median was down 6.3 percent from September and nearly 44 percent below the peak median of $665,000 in the summer of 2007.

"The dramatic, near free-fall in the Bay Area's median sale price in recent months stems mainly from the shift toward more sales occurring in lower-cost inland markets," John Walsh, MDA DataQuick's president, said in a statement. "At the same time, the role of foreclosures continued to grow across the region, adding more downward pressure to the median."

Despite efforts by government, lenders and others to help strapped homeowners with mortgage payments, foreclosures have continued to rise in California, particularly in inland counties with metro areas such as Stockton, Merced, Riverside, San Bernardino and Modesto.

The U.S. financial crisis, rising unemployment and fears over the prospects of a deepening U.S. recession apparently is not dissuading buyers with bargain home prices in their sights, although the latest figures represent homes that closed escrow in October on sales that were initiated probably as far back as August.

Home sales in the San Francisco Bay area climbed nearly 39 percent last month from a year ago to 7,613 and nearly 5 percent from September.

October's sales were the highest for any month since June 2007, when 7,964 homes were sold.

Once more, foreclosure resales accounted for a major slice of those sales -- nearly 45 percent of the preowned homes sold last month. Most of those distressed sales took place in Contra Costa, Napa and Solano counties.

In pricier San Francisco County, where the median price slipped 12.1 percent to $699,000 from a year ago, sales plunged 21 percent.

Contra Costa County saw the steepest drop in price, with the median tumbling more than 46 percent to $285,000 from a year ago. Sales in the county soared by nearly 87 percent.

It's the same story in the Los Angeles area, where numbers were released yesterday. They showed the median sale price fell to $300,000.

But those discounted homes were flying off the market.  21,532 sold in the Southland.

That's a 20 month high.

Foreclosure resales amounted to 51 percent of all transactions in the region.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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