San Francisco East Bay Real Estate in 2012: a Summary of the Numbers

by arlene on February 9, 2013

The story of the real estate market in the San Francisco East Bay area in 2012 can be summarized easily: buyer demand increased dramatically and available inventory decreased dramatically. During the fourth quarter our East Bay area (for this analysis defined as Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland and Piedmont) our absorption q4absorption rate was 4/10ths of a month. That means that all of the available inventory would satisfy less than half a month’s demand. The available inventory was 25% of what was available at the same time the previous year!

That dearth of inventory resulted in the most desirable (and actively marketed) properties receiving lots of attention and multiple offers, which drove up prices. Average sale prices for single family homes were up in the region by 16% from the previous year.

Here’s a quick look at some of the crucial numbers. The time on market decreased in all the cities I track compared to this time last year, and all were quick: less than a month. Short sales and foreclosures, including “shadow inventory” continued to decrease in all markets.

In Berkeley during the fourth quarter:

  • Average price was $790K for single family homes (median was $708K), up 17.5% from Q4 last year.
  • 66% of the homes sold for list price or above
  • 40% went at least 10% over list price; 16.5% went 20% or more over list. In that list were several of the homes I sold, as well as ones that clients of mine pursued!
  • More than 1/3 of the homes sold in less than two weeks, usually with just one open home, really putting the pressure on buyers to react quickly.

In Albany there were fewer than 50 sales in the entire second half of 2012; 79% of homes sold at list or above; 38% of single family homes went at least 10% over list. Average sales price crested over $650K, up 8.5% from second half 2011.dif in neighds q4 2012

In Oakland in the last quarter:

  • Average sales price for single family homes was just below $434K, up 20% from Q4 last year.
  • 66% of the homes sold for list price or above (same as Berkeley)
  • Of  the just over 800 sales, 35 properties went more than 30% over list, about half of those being distressed properties.

Homes in some key neighborhoods were selling on average as much as 11% over list. In all of these neighborhoods it was a huge shift in behavior from the previous year, when most properties  were selling below list prices. I’m always happy to provide details for other cities, and by neighborhood and by price point, as that’s what really matters in such a diverse urban area.

Here’s to a more balanced market in 2013!

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