North Bay home prices, sales rise in October

Home sales and median prices in October continued to rise in the North Bay and the rest of the Bay Area, according to a report released today.

The recent trends reflect a gradual rebalancing of the real estate market, though mortgage availability remains an issue, according to the monthly report by San Diego-based real estate data and tracking firm DataQuick.

The Sonoma County median home price of $350,000 was 23.5 percent higher than in October 2011. Last month, 631 homes were sold, up 28.8 percent from a year before.

In Solano County, the median price rose 14.9 percent to $216,000. There were 598 homes sold, up 7.9 percent.

The median price increased 9.5 percent to $660,000 in Marin County. Sales increased 45.7 percent to 335.

In Napa County, the median price grew 17.7 percent to $365,000. County sales totaled 152 last month, up 49 percent from a year before.

For the entire Bay Area, homes sales increased for the 16th month in a row, up 21 percent on 7,795 transactions. The median price for the region rose for the sixth straight month to $416,000, up 18.9 percent.

Sales in the lower price categories were below levels seen one year ago, while sales rose sharply in the middle and high end of the market. Transactions below $300,000 fell 15.2 percent, while sales from $400,000 to $800,000 rose 25.7 percent. Deals above $800,000 rose 47.1 percent.

The shift in the sales mix has helped drive up median prices, according to DataQuick.

"It's unclear exactly how much today's apparent price increase reflects actual growth, and how much reflects a change in market characteristics," said President John Walsh in the report.

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