April foreclosures fall and sales rise for most of North Bay

NORTH BAY – Home sales and median prices increased while new foreclosures decreased across the Bay Area in the month of April, with more varied trends in the North Bay counties, according to a duo of reports released today by foreclosure and real estate tracking firms RealtyTrac and DataQuick.

The number of homes sold across the Bay Area was virtually unchanged from the prior month at 7,675, up 13 percent from the number of homes sold in April 2011.

 “It appears that the market is taking a step in the direction of normalization, but only a step,” said DataQuick President John Walsh, in his company’s report.

Sonoma County, one of the areas singled out in the DataQuick report, saw a jump in both sales volume and median price since April of last year. The 530 homes sold represented a 14.5 percent increase, with a median price of $304,500 climbing 3.2 percent for the period.

Sales in Marin climbed 21.2 percent in volume, to 292 homes, with a 6.4 percent decrease in median price, to $618,000. Napa County home sales fell 1.6 percent in volume to 120 homes, with an unchanged median price of $317,000.

Sales in the nine-county Bay Area reached the highest volume since 2006, when 9,129 homes were sold, according to the DataQuick report. The median price for a home in the region rose year-over-year for the first time in 19 months, reaching its highest point since September 2010.

“The uptick in median sale price was to be expected. It gets tugged up as foreclosure resales ebb and activity picks up in the move-up markets,” Mr. Walsh said.

New foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – fell to one in 519 homes across Sonoma County in April, versus one in every 329 during the month of March, according to the RealtyTrac report. It was a 37 percent decrease, and beat the California average of one in 351 homes. There were a total of 2,982 foreclosure homes across Sonoma County in April.

One in every 747 homes in Marin County received a foreclosure filing in April, down from one in every 585 homes in the prior month. It was a 22 percent decrease, with 900 foreclosure homes across the county.

In Napa County, one in every 369 homes received a filing. It was a 13 percent increase from the prior month despite what RealtyTrac calls a six-month falling trend, with 752 foreclosure homes total.

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