San Francisco Bay Area home prices set to surpass pre-crash record highs


Remember predictions that forecast San Francisco Bay Area home prices wouldn’t return to pre-crash levels for five, 10, 15 years or more?


If the current rate of home price gains continues, some San Francisco Bay Area markets are no more than a few months away from not only returning to pre-crash levels, but zooming beyond into uncharted price territory.

Some affluent markets have already surpassed peak market prices and in other hot areas, new record high median home prices could settle in with the arrival of summer just a little more than a month away.

The median single-family home (SFH) prices in Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) came in at $795,000 in April, just $70,000 off the peak $865,000 10-year high record set before the crash, according to MLSListings, Inc., the multiple listing service and industry statistics tracker for the five-county South San Francisco Bay Area-to-Monterey, CA (SSFBAM) region – San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Richard Calhoun, broker owner of Creekside Realty in San Jose, CA says the playing field isn’t level and some areas have already passed peak maket prices levels.

“What is happening in one area is not happening in other areas in the same county, so it is important to know what is happening in your own micro market,” Calhoun said.

“The affordable micro-market (East, Central, South San Jose) median reached (a peak of) $632,000 and now is only $450,000. That’s in sharp contrast to the most expensive micro-market (Los Altos, Palo Alto) where the previous peak was $1.9 million, but is now up to $2.2 Million.

San Francisco Bay Area home prices for SFHs

• In San Mateo County, the median SFH price for April came in at $915,000 or about $85,000 off the more than $1 million ten-year high.

• In Santa Cruz County the $641,000 April median for SFHs is $152,000 off the $793,000 ten-year high.

• San Benito’s $385,000 median April SFH price is still $265,000 off the $650,000 ten year hight high.

• In Monterey County April’s $380,500 April median for SFHs still remains $419,000 off the $799,500 high.

Prices for more affordable condo homes are rising even faster in some counties. They were up 47 percent for the year, to $509,450 in Santa Clara County and up 40 percent to $567,500 in San Mateo County.

Record low mortgage rates are contributing to buying demand, but the greatest pressure continues from demand in a tight inventory market.

“The frequency of overbidding is at 70 percent. The previous peak was 80 percent of homes selling for more than asking. The magnitude of over bidding is 106 percent. The previous record was 110 percent,” said Calhoun.

Santa Clara County inventories nearly doubled during the first four months of 2013, but MLSListings reports SFH inventories remain miniscule and down 41 percent in Santa Clara County, down 35 percent in San Benito County an down 33 percent in San Mateo County.

Condo inventories are down even more, by 67 percent in San Benito County, 51 percent in Santa Clara County and 46 percent in San Mateo County.

“Lack of inventory still remains a major factor impacting sales in all counties. Overall inventory of both condos and townhomes has fallen 61 percent from two years ago across the five counties,” according to

For the complete year-over-year, April-to-April numbers, click the chart below.

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