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It is slightly more “affordable” to buy a home in Napa County these days.

Napa County home prices — as well as the number of homes sold — dipped this past August, reported one real estate data service.

A news release from CoreLogic showed that 122 homes were sold in Napa County in August. That’s an 18.7 percent decrease compared to the 150 homes sold in August 2018.

At the same time, median home prices in Napa County dipped 3.8 percent – from $660,000 one year ago to $635,000 this August.

The Napa County median also dipped slightly month-over-month: from $638,500 this July to $635,000 in August.

For the greater Bay Area, CoreLogic showed a total of 7,247 new and existing houses and condominiums were sold in Napa, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties in August.

This number is down 2.3 percent month over month from 7,416 sales in July 2019, and down 5.7 percent year over year from 7,682 sales in August 2018.

“Although Bay Area home sales in August fell nearly 6 percent from a year earlier, the recent drop in mortgage rates likely helped temper that decline,” said Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic analyst.

“From March through August this year, when mortgage rates trended lower, home sales fell about 7 percent compared with that same six-month period last year. In the second half of 2018, when mortgage rates climbed, home sales fell nearly 12 percent compared with the second half of 2017,” LePage said.

“Some buyers no doubt remain parked on the sidelines, concerned about the possibility of buying near a price peak, and affordability remains a huge hurdle for many. But for some, this year’s drop in mortgage rates has been meaningful,” said LePage.

“While the median price paid for a home last month was down 2.4 percent compared with August 2018, the principal-and-interest mortgage payment on that median-priced home was 13 percent lower because of a roughly 1 percentage point drop in mortgage rates.”

“The combination of the drop in the median price as well as mortgage rates translates into a savings of about $450 on the monthly payment for the median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment and a fixed-rate 30-year loan.”

CoreLogic reported that total home sales in the greater Bay Area in August 2019 were the lowest for that month since August 2010, when 6,698 homes sold. For the past 13 consecutive months, sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis.

Since 1988, the average change in San Francisco Bay Area home sales between July and August is an increase of 2.3 percent. August sales have ranged from a low of 6,688 in 1992, to a high of 13,940 in 2004. August 2019 sales were 21.6 percent below the August average of 9,246.

In August 2019, sales of newly-built homes (detached houses and condos combined) were 45.8 percent below the month’s historical average, while resales (detached houses and condos combined) were 18.8 percent below the month’s average.

Ignoring the 2003-2006 housing boom that was fueled by risky home loans, August 2019 resales were 14.1 percent below the long-term average for the month.

The median price paid for all homes sold in the San Francisco Bay Area in August 2019 was $810,000, down 0.7 percent from $816,000 in July 2019 and down 2.4 percent from $830,000 in August 2018.

This is the fourth consecutive month in which the regional median sale price has fallen on a year-over-year basis, beginning with a 1.9 percent year-over-year decline this May, followed by a 2 percent dip in June and a 4 percent drop in July.

The median also dipped 0.1 percent year over year this March but, compared with a year earlier, remained flat in April. Before this March, the median sale price had risen on a year-over-year basis for 83 consecutive months – since April 2012. The $875,000 median in June 2018 was the highest ever. The highest median so far this year was in May, when it reached $858,000.

“The region’s median sale price has remained flat or has fallen modestly on a year-over-year basis for the past six months, dipping as much as 4 percent in July,” LePage said.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.