Fall Predictions, Part 2: Pending Sales Data for the West Coast

We’re continuing our fall predictions today, moving to the West Coast to look at how many pending transactions on homes for sale there were in August 2012 compared to the year before. Today’s post comes on the heels of some great news for the housing market: July home prices posted the highest gains since 2005 according to the Case-Shiller index!

All 20 cities in the 20-city composite index have seen months of price gains, though they’re all far from their peak prices. Let’s look closely at the Bay Area—San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose—as well as take a quick look at both Seattle and San Diego to see what kind of fall we can expect for West Coast real estate.


The Bay Area in Detail: A Tale of Three Cities

Let’s start on the sunny side of the Bay: Oakland, CA! We recently did a post on the severe shortage of homes for sale in Oakland—the port city is leading the nation in declines of new listed homes for sale. There’s an upside for sellers here—because there are so few homes for sale, prices are up 13.56% year-over-year, and homes are going under contract at a median of 20 days.

That’s really quite remarkable, though it may be very frustrating for buyers. The chart below shows hundreds less homes for sale this August compared to last due to a totally shrunken inventory. But as prices rise, more sellers may jump in the game, and Oakland will be posting more pending transactions again.

San Francisco and San Jose are enjoying year-over-year price gains of 16.97% and 16.10%, respectively. These higher-dollar micromarkets (median home prices of $725K and $569K, respectively, compared to Oakland’s $385K) means sellers here have been quicker to get back in the game. One could guess that if you can afford to buy in one of these pricey markets, you can also afford to take a slight loss. Thus, we’re seeing more pending transactions in both markets, meaning stronger home sale numbers for September!


From North to South: Seattle and San Diego

Finally, a quick look at two other major West Coast cities: Seattle and San Diego. Seattle and San Diego are both experiencing year-over-year price increases, month-over-month price declines as summer comes to a close. Inventory is down in both, and homes are going under contract in less than 2 months.

Both the Bay Area and Seattle saw pending transactions peak in the spring time (May or March), where buyers were out early. Though their real estate season bloomed early, each city saw a cooler summer season (though all posted higher figures of pending sales than August 2011).

San Diego, on the other hand, peaked in August! Maybe it’s the warmer weather, but there looks to be around 1500 more pending sales in August 2012 as compared with the year before. If pending sales are a good benchmark for performance, we can expect a stellar September for sunny San Diego!


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Sarah Louise Green lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes about national real estate trends, home financing, advice for buyers, and DIY projects for the home and garden.

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