Real Estate Roundup: Bay Area Home Prices Hit New Peak -- Again

May 26, 2017   by Tom LeMieux

Here’s a look at recent news of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious.

BAY AREA, THREE LOCAL COUNTIES SEE ALL-TIME HOME PRICE HIGHS IN APRIL
The Bay Area’s exceptionally tight supply of homes for sale caused sales to plummet in April and drove prices up to a new record high.

Citing data from CoreLogic, The Mercury News reports that the median sales price for an existing single-family home in the Bay Area rose to $800,000 in April, surpassing the previous high of $752,000 set in June of last year. Three Bay Area counties also saw record-high home prices: San Mateo ($1,400,000), Santa Clara ($1,050,500), and Alameda ($805,000).

Rising prices and eroding affordability conspired to slow Bay Area home sales in April, which were down by 9.4 percent year over year. There were a total of 4,990 single-family home sales across the region last month, making for the slowest April in nine years.

Several other real estate industry sources — including the California Association of Realtors and Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp — also noted a slow April for Bay Area real estate markets. CAR says that pending home sales in the nine-county region declined by more than 17 percent in April, an indicator that the traditionally busy spring selling season may be weaker than usual.


THE SALARY NEEDED TO BUY A HOME IN SAN FRANCISCO RIGHT NOW
It’s a good thing that the Bay Area is home to most of the best-paying U.S. companies in 2017, as residents will need a large chunk of that paycheck to become homeowners.

An analysis by HSH.com says that the average household in the San Francisco metropolitan area needed to earn $161,110 per year to afford the median-priced $815,000 home in the first quarter. That’s the highest of the 27 U.S. metro areas included in the study and one of two to require a six-figure income.

That calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 4.36 percent mortgage rate. Buyers who can put down only 10 percent need to earn an additional $30,000 per year to afford the monthly mortgage payments.

HSH.com’s numbers line up with those from the California Association of Realtors’ latest affordability index, which puts the minimum qualifying annual income for a single-family home in the nine-county region at just more than $160,000 as of the first quarter. The required incomes across the Bay Area range from $80,290 in Solano County to $267,130 in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.


NEW, SMART APPLIANCES POPULAR WITH HOME RENOVATORS
In a final piece of news from National Home Improvement Month, upgraded appliances are appearing in most kitchen remodels, and like other home amenities, they’re getting smarter.

As realtor.com reports, almost 80 percent of homeowners that fully remodeled their kitchens in 2015 replaced the appliances, according to survey results from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Eighty-five percent of respondents replaced the refrigerator, three-quarters upgraded the oven, and 69 percent got a new dishwasher.

The association’s Elle H-Millard told realtor.com that consumers are increasingly using smart-home devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to connect appliances and save both time and money, though perhaps convenience is the most important benefit.

“You can now use your phone to identify what’s inside of your refrigerator,” Millard said. “This way you know whether it’s time to swing by the grocery store after yoga to pick up a gallon of milk. If you’re at work and you want to preheat your oven, you can do that now.”

(Image: iStock/G0d4ather)