Bay Area suddenly heats up again

Home sales increased substantially in the Bay Area this November, according to data from the California Association of Realtors.

California home sales and home prices had been the hottest market in the U.S. until July when home prices tumbled back down to earth. Since then, California homeowners have struggled to sell their home, and numbers slipped back down to 2008 levels.

However, home sales in the Bay Area increased in November by 10% from last year. While they still decreased 6% from October to November, this is compared to the four-year average decrease of 16% during that time.

Sales of homes priced between $2 million and $3 million saw substantial growth of 38% from last year. Home sales of those priced between $1 million and $2 million saw the second-highest jump of 26% annually.

However, the median home price of $785,000 in the Bay Area remained unchanged from last month, but did increase 8% from last year. Some counties, Napa, Marin and San Francisco, saw annual decreases of 4%, 5% and 1% respectively. However, Napa’s home prices peaked in November 2015, which is part of the reason for the annual decline.

November also reversed the downward spiral of the number of listings sold above asking price with an increase of four percentage points in some areas. Homes priced above $3 million saw the most increase in homes sold over asking price with an increase of 10 percentage points from last month.

However, this increase does not seem to be permanent, but rather, a reaction to higher interest rates.

“The spike in activity was in large part due to increasing mortgage rates following the election and anticipation over further hikes — particularly in light of the belief that the Fed is going to raise interest rates at its December meeting,” Selma Hepp, Pacific Union chief economist and vice president of business intelligence, said in her analysis. “Buyers may continue to feel pressure to take advantage of current rates ahead of future increases.”

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