Home prices drop 4 percent statewide

January 20, 2011 7:51:06 PM PST
2010 ended on a positive note for real estate -- sales of previously owned homes ticked up to the fastest pace in seven months. However, the National Realtors' Association says last year was the worst in 13 years -- down 4.8 percent from the year before. And here in the Bay Area, both sales and prices were down in December in almost every county.

Robert Stienstra is looking to downsize, so he's starting the New Year with an eye on both buying a home in San Jose and selling.

"Being a seller is a really uncomfortable position. There is not pressure for people to buy," says Stienstra.

Here's right; home sales across the nine-county Bay Area are down a little more than eight percent in the past year.

In Santa Clara County, there were 1,646 homes sold in December. That's a drop of 14 percent from the previous December. Prices fared much better though, dropping 3.2 percent to $460,000. Real estate agents say prices are stabilizing. Gone are the days of wild appreciation and investors flipping homes.

"We are probably easing into a more normal market. People are starting to buy homes in terms of long term thinking," says Cherie Colon from Windemere Silicon Valley Properties.

Many analysts are worried the market still faces problems with those adjustable rate mortgages and a steady stream of foreclosures.

Nearly one out of every three homes sold in the Bay Area last month was a foreclosure resale. Many say there's a pent-up demand that's being squashed by lending practices that have swung to the other extreme.

"We have the ready, willing, and able buyer. We have the ready, willing, and able seller, but we have to bridge the gap as to making loans easier to obtain for qualified people," says Michael Sibilia from the Santa Clara county Association of Realtors.

Stienstra is lucky. He's not worried about getting a loan, but he is caught in the middle because he wants to sell his property for at least $7000,000 and buy for less.