I would like to apologize in advance if you saw “Fourth Quarter Bay Area” and came here looking to read about the 49ers. I’m going to leave that to the sports writers. On the other hand, if you’re here to find out what’s going on with the housing market you’ve come to the right place.
The 2012 fourth quarter numbers are out for the Bay Area market and it’s almost all good news. The nine-county Bay Area as a whole remains red hot with prices up an average of 27% over this time last year. Some cities that are leading the way are Oakland (up 32%), Albany (30%), and Richmond (29%). The other great news is that homes are still flying off the shelves. Bay Area homes are averaging 15 less days on the market than the end of 2011. The total number of homes sold is up a slightly more modest 4% over this time last year.
Of course the real question is always “what does this mean to me?” Well, it depends who you are. If you’re a seller there’s a lot to like here. The continued low inventory is creating a ton of demand, which is what is causing these prices to rise and homes to sell so quickly. If you’re a buyer you can still take advantage of the super low interest rates and snag a mortgage that is likely to be less than renting a similar property. The low inventory does create a challenge to buyers since there’s so much competition, but with a little patience and determination it remains a really good time to buy.
2013 also brings a lot of optimism for the real estate industry since the fiscal cliff deal preserved two major tax provisions that could have had negative affects on the market had they gone by the wayside. Now will 2013 also bring an increase in inventory? Stay tuned…