Bay Area housing market worsening

February 16, 2008 6:46:00 PM PST
The housing market continues to tumble in the Bay Area. New statistics show home sales dropping to a 20 year low and housing prices falling nearly 9 percent and it doesn't sound like things are going to get better any time soon.

Hundreds of people packed a hotel conference room in Oakland to bid on more than 200 Bay Area foreclosed homes.

California had the fourth most foreclosure listings in the nation last year. And with more homes for sale, people were here looking for a bargain.

"I'm looking at paying 50 cents on the dollar," says Sanjoi Kaushish, home buyer.

Kaushish was outbid for his desired homes in the East Bay, but Dave Gomberg landed a condo in bay point.

"It's a two bedroom, one bath in Baypoint," says Dave Gomberg, home buyer.

But an economist working for real estate research firm Beacon Economics says the California market has not hit rock bottom and the stats back him up.

"Your average homeowner in San Francisco, if they wanted to buy the average home, would have to have spent 70 percent of their household income to pay for that home," says Christopher Thornberg, Beacon Economics.

Real estate information company, DataQuick, shows total sales in the Bay Area are down close to 42 percent from last January and dropped more than 29 percent since December.

And when homes do sell, it's for a lot less. Prices dropped about 6.5 percent from December and 8.5 percent from January.

That means, on average, homes in the Bay Area lost $51,000 dollars in value in a year.

"The reality is prices are going to fall 35 percent in the state and in the Bay Area. I suspect they are going to fall between 25 and 30 percent before this is all over," says Thornberg.

So, people who are trying to buy a home at rock bottom may have to wait another year. Thornberg believes the Bay Area housing market will begin to stabilize in 2009. He also advises sellers to sell as fast as possible because prices will only drop even more.