Strong spring market brings median home sales prices bouncing back to 2018 peaks. San Mateo luxury home sales hit new high.

Short-Term Median House Sales Prices

This spring and last spring both had months with unusually large spikes in median sales prices, which should be considered abnormal but certainly speak to a prevailing high demand dynamic. June sales will mostly reflect accepted-offer activity in May, and it will be interesting to see that final bit of Q2 data. Quarterly data is more meaningful than monthly data, which is much more prone to anomalous fluctuations.

Market activity typically begins to significantly slow for the summer, hitting its mid-year low in August.

Long-Term Median House Sales Prices

San Mateo County Luxury Home Sales

Sales of homes selling for $3 million and above hit a new monthly high in May 2019, well above the previous peak in May 2018. Taken together, April-May sales are 15{54bc1435cd71aa00925c3aa31b7104f31e484951741fe811a4593813f1a6413d} higher on a year-over-year basis. San Francisco had a similar spike in high-price homes. In fact, market dynamics in the two counties have been quite similar this spring: Both have also seen median price bounces up to, but not significantly above last year’s highs.

Median Home Price Changes
in Selected County Markets

Comparing annual median home prices to partial year prices is not really an apples-to-apples comparison because of the effect of market seasonality on sales prices. Some cities are up a little, some down a little, and some are basically unchanged – it mostly speaks to a basic stability in county home prices. Atherton saw a big increase in median sales price, but that is based on a relatively small number of sales. (Atherton is the most expensive housing market in the Bay Area.)

Full-year 2019 median home prices may be significantly different than the year-to-date figures.

City Median House Prices by Bedroom Count

Click here to go to our updated map of Bay Area median house prices.

Selected Market Indicators

April-May sales volume is almost the exactly the same year-over-year.

Average days on market are well up from the historic lows of spring 2018, however they are not high by long-term standards. Still, it does speak to some year-over-year cooling in the intensity of demand.

Overbidding is significantly down from the extremely high levels of last spring, and buyer competition – bidding wars – for new listings is perhaps the single biggest factor in home price appreciation.

Selected Economic Snapshots

This next chart graphs Bay Area unemployment rates from 1990 through January 2019. By April 2019, they had typically fallen another half percentage point.

Bay Area housing affordability – the percentage of county households that could afford to buy a median priced house with a 20{54bc1435cd71aa00925c3aa31b7104f31e484951741fe811a4593813f1a6413d} down-payment – ticked up in Q1 2019 due to the significant drop in interest rates, and, in some counties such as Santa Clara and Sonoma, a year-over-year decline in median house sales price. The affordability percentage in San Mateo County is among the lowest in the country.

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