Home sales, prices increase across North Bay

Both the number and price of homes sold in the North Bay increased in July, driven by Bay Area-wide trends that include increased mid- and up-market buying activity, according to a report today from San Diego-based real estate tracking firm DataQuick.

The increase is part of a 13-month upward trend across the Bay Area, with the median price paid for a home rising to its highest level since August 2008.

In Sonoma County, 665 homes were sold, a 38.8 percent increase since July of last year. The median price increased 4.4 percent, to $320,000.

In Marin, 338 homes were sold, a 45.7 percent increase over the same month in 2011. The median price was $660,000, a 3.9 percent increase.

Napa County saw a 28.6 percent increase in the number of homes sold, at 135. The median price rose 32.6 percent, to $372,500.

A total of 610 homes were sold in Solano County, a 1 percent increase. The median price increased 1.3 percent versus July 2011, to $188,000.

Across the Bay Area, 8,461 homes were sold -- a 22.9 percent increase since July 2011. The median price was $421,000, up 12.6 percent and the highest since a median of $447,000 was reported nearly four years ago.

“The market has really been lopsided the past couple of years, tilted toward low-end bargain chasing. Now it’s rebalancing, slowly, with increased activity in mid and move-up markets. But mortgage availability remains one of the big challenges in the Bay Area,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president, in a release.

DataQuick noted that roughly half of the year-over-year gain in median price was attributable to an increase in mid-to-upper priced homes. Price levels for the lowest-cost third of Bay Area homes rose 9.6 percent, with a 7.8 percent gain in the middle and 1.2 percent in the top third of the market.

Distressed property sales, including foreclosure resales and short sales, made up 34.6 percent of the resale market last month, down from 36.6 percent in June and 44.5 percent at the same time in 2011.

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