Bay Area home sales hit the brakes in slowest October

“Sellers are needing to adjust” as number of deals drops to 15-year low; luxe sales fall 44%

Compass' Jessica Grimes (Compass, Getty)
Compass' Jessica Grimes (Compass, Getty)

Home sales across the Bay Area last month were the slowest in 15 years.

The 11-county Greater Bay Area region had the lowest number of home sales in October since 2007, the San Francisco Business Times reported, citing Compass data.

Bay Area home sales fell year-over-year by 37 percent, Compass Chief Market Analyst Patrick Carlisle said. Sales of homes for more than $3 million fell 44 percent last month.

The low sales came during a 20-year high in interest rates, volatile financial markets and mounting layoffs throughout the region.

Unsold inventory is piling up for ultra-luxury homes — over 11 months of inventory for listings priced $10 million or more — suggesting a super luxury buyers’ market, Carlisle said.

San Francisco had 425 homes sold in October, down 38 percent from the 682 homes that closed during the same period last year, according to the Compass report. It was the worst October in city sales since 2011.

The median three-months sales price in San Francisco was $1.65 million, down 8 percent year-over-year.

Across the Bay Area, San Mateo County led with a $1.91 million median home sales price, followed by Marin County at $1.72 million, with San Francisco in third place.

Cooling demand and declining sales extended across the region, Carlisle said. Sellers have responded to market conditions with increased price cuts since spring, or delisting homes without selling.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In San Francisco, 12 percent of the city’s active listings were withdrawn from the market in October, a big increase from 4 percent last spring. The percentage of price reductions on active listings rose in October by more than double what it was in August.

In Santa Clara, home sales fell 40 percent last month from a year earlier. In the East Bay cities of Oakland and Berkeley, home sales fell 32 percent.

The high end of the market is holding onto its cash and waiting for better opportunities, Compass agent Jessica Grimes told the Business Times.

“We do really see opportunities because we welcome a balanced market, which it wasn’t before,” Grimes said. “Our buyers are seeing possibilities when they were dismayed before, and our sellers are needing to adjust to current market demands driven by savvy investors.

“The market always speaks.”

With mortgage rates approaching 7 percent, a cooling trend in the Bay Area housing market has caused a steep drop in the number of homes selling above their asking price, with the Bay area leading the nation in home price declines.

The Bay Area home price plunge went from an up to 7-percent drop in home prices from spring to summer to a 17.5-percent decline this fall.

Dana Bartholomew

Read more