There’s may be some relief for San Francisco’s homebuyers.
The March home sales report from real-estate company RealtyTrac showed that prices fell year-over-year in San Francisco by 2%, following 47 straight months of increases.
As we reported last week, Redfin’s data showed that home prices in the city fell for the first time in four years in March.
For a while now, housing economists have been sounding the alarm on how tight inventories and healthy demand are ramping prices higher, especially in popular metro areas.
RealtyTrac senior vice president Daren Blomquist said in the report (emphasis added):
Home sellers in many markets are now seeing average price gains close to or above what home sellers experienced during the last housing boom. That should encourage more homeowners to take advantage of the prime seller’s market and list their homes for sale this year. Banks are already taking advantage of that market as evidenced by the uptick in the distressed sales share over the last two quarters.
Given that bank-owned homes are selling at a median price that is 40 per cent below the overall median sales price nationwide, the uptick in distressed sales combined with affordability constraints are contributing to faltering home price appreciation in some markets — most notably the bellwether markets of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
Distressed sales — urgent transactions because the seller needs the cash immediately — rose for a second straight quarter nationally.
Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson said last week that the March decline was because buyers had become fed up with prices and the crazy bidding wars they have to enter.
And as evidence of just how high prices have risen, RealtyTrac found that in March, sellers in San Francisco earned a 72% average gain over the purchase cost. This was the highest among metro areas that had at least 300 sales.