Bay Area median home prices drop


Bargain hunters can find some amazing deals, because the housing prices in the Bay Area have plunged to near record lows over the past year.

The average amount paid for homes is still high-priced, but far lower than it's been in more than four years.

The DataQuick real estate tracking service shows home prices in the Bay Area dropped 27.1 percent in June, to the lowest level since March 2004. Homes and condos dropped from $665,000 to $485,000 last month.

Contra Costa County saw the biggest drop in a year with homes down 37 percent.

San Francisco home prices dropped nearly 12 percent. Santa Clara County is down nearly 12.5 percent.

Those foreclosed properties are a huge pool on the median home prices. Foreclosed properties can retail for nearly $100,000 less than a regular home on the market.

Jim Matzen operates Silicon Valley Foreclosure Tours.

Even though the sign outside doesn't indicate it, a Cambrian area home is bank owned. The condition is one hint. The price is another.

"The last time this house sold in June of 2006, it sold for $680,000 and it's currently listed for $554,900," said Matzen.

That's a 20 percent drop in two years.

Median home prices in Santa Clara County that hovered near $700,000 dollars a year ago, slid to $612,000 last month. That's a year-to-year decline of more than 12 percent.

June home sales are also down dramatically, nearly 25 percent from a year ago.

Cherie Colon with Windermere Properties says foreclosure bargains are starting to entice buyers.

"This morning I found that I had four offers on one foreclosed property and three on another," said Colon.

Deena Shi is one of those shopping around and ready to take advantage of what is clearly a buyer's market.

"I got out a couple of years ago, been renting and now I kind want to feel like I've got my home back again," said Shi.

Deena likes what she sees in this home. It is not a foreclosed property and the owner is actually spending about $15,000 in improvements to help close a sale.

Colon says two years ago, the home was worth nearly $800,000. This month it will be listed for $639,000. It's those kinds of values that have pending sales going in a new direction.

"We have almost 5,200 houses for sale in our MLS, and we have almost 1,800 pending. So that's right at 33 percent, the reason that's happening however is that prices continue to slide," said Colon.

Even as home prices are coming down, the mortgage meltdown and the bank tightening crisis are still happening. So it's hard for borrowers to get home loans.

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