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North Bay Business Journal

Friday, December 14, 2012, 2:56 pm

November foreclosures fall, prices rise in North Bay, Bay Area

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    NORTH BAY — The North Bay housing market continues to show improvements last month, including rising home prices and a decrease in the number of new foreclosures, according to reports by market tracking firms RealtyTrac in Irvine and San Diego-based DataQuick.

    The number of new foreclosures trended downward over six months across the six North Bay counties in the month of November, with Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties posting rates beating the state average, according to RealtyTrac. However, rates for the North Bay and California still lagged significantly behind the average for the United States.

    Statewide, one in every 430 homes was the subject of a new foreclosure filing in November. There were 31,794 new foreclosures, compared to 52,808 in December 2011, the earliest comparable month in the report. There were 221,183 foreclosed properties in the state, with an average sale price of $267,354.

    In Sonoma County, one in every 545 homes was involved in a new foreclosure filing that month. There were 372 new foreclosures, down from 676 new foreclosures in December. The county had 2,636 foreclosure homes, and the sale price of a foreclosed home averaged $274,631.

    There were 153 homes that received a new foreclosure filing in Marin County — one out of every 711 homes, the lowest rate in the North Bay. That was down from 179 in December, and the county currently has 909 foreclosed properties. The average sale price for a foreclosed home in Marin was $751,301.

    Napa County saw a new foreclosure filing for one out of every 511 homes, with 105 new foreclosures down from 207 in December of last year. There were 650 foreclosed homes countywide, and the average sale price during the month was $360,346.

    There were 393 new filings in Solano County for the month of November, down from 949 last December and equal to one out of every 384 homes. There were 3,213 foreclosed homes in the county, and the average price of a foreclosure sale was $222,424.

    In Mendocino County, there were 100 new filings, representing one in every 385 homes. That number of filings compared to 108 in December of last year, and there were 495 foreclosed homes in the county. The average selling price for a foreclosed home was $178,350.

    Lake County had the highest foreclosure rate in the North Bay, with 130 new filings representing one out of every 270 homes. There were 93 foreclosure filings last December and 916 foreclosed homes in the county. The six-month trend is still downward for Lake despite the comparative increase, and the average sale price for a foreclosed home was $90,879.

    Looking at the United States as a whole, one in every 728 housing units received a foreclosure filing in November. There were 180,817 new foreclosure filings that month — down from 205,000 last December — and the average foreclosure sales price was $213,400.

    A summary report by RealtyTrac noted that November marked the 26th consecutive month of declining foreclosure activity nationwide. However, new bank repossessions increased nationally — 11 percent from the prior month and 5 percent from one year prior.

    “The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in the report.

    Much of the improvement nationally was attributable to improvements in the California market, he said.

    In the Bay Area, housing tracker DataQuick noted a continued “march towards normalcy” in November. The service credited those increases to a swell in demand, limited inventory, low mortgage rates and strong investor interest.

    There were 545 homes sold in Sonoma County in November, an increase of 12.4 percent versus the same time one year ago. The average price of a home sold rose 22.5 percent, to $349,000.

    In Marin County, the 272 homes sold in November represented a 13.8 percent increase from the same time in 2011. The average price increased 8.4 percent, to $682,000.

    In Napa County, 133 homes were sold, an increase of 34.3 percent. The average price, $360,000, rose 21.2 percent.

    In Solano County, the last North Bay county included in the DataQuick report, the 585 homes sold represented an 11.9 percent increase versus November 2011. Prices rose 22.5 percent, to $349,000.

    A total of 7,296 homes were sold across the nine-county Bay Area, up 15.5 percent from November last year. The number was highest since 8,042 homes were sold in November of 2006. The average for all Novembers since DataQuick began following data in 1988 is 7,873.

    “With the mismatch between supply and demand, there’s upward pressure on prices,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

    The median price paid for a home in the Bay Area in November was $438,000, up 20.5 percent from one year ago.

    The number of homes sold under $500,000 decreased 12.7 percent year-over-year, while the number sold above that mark increased 36 percent.

    Distressed property sales constituted 35 percent of sales in November, compared to 50.1 percent one year prior. Absentee buyers — mostly investors — purchased 24.4 percent of all Bay Area homes, up from 21.7 percent one year ago. The monthly average since 2000 is 14.7 percent.

     

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