Housing boom sends home prices soaring

A housing boom is sending home prices soaring nationwide, with real estate experts saying the San Francisco Bay Area — specifically the East Bay — is leading the way.

In its monthly report on housing prices, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index — considered to be the leading measure of home prices across the country — said Tuesday the average selling price for a home in the San Francisco area jumped 23.9 percent over a 12-month period ending in April.

Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, told SFBay home prices in the East Bay showed even more dramatic increases:

“Trulia’s Price Monitor, which is a forward-looking indicator of price trends based on asking prices and reports the San Francisco and Oakland areas separately, showed prices up 31 percent in the East Bay year-over-year, the biggest increase among the 100 largest metros in the country.”

Kolko said home prices in other Bay Area counties also increased, but not as much as the East Bay:

“Prices in our San Francisco metro area, which includes San Mateo and Marin counties, were up 20 percent year-over-year, which is also a very steep increase but not as steep at the East Bay gain.”

Though the housing market is rebounding in most cities, a tight inventory of homes across the Bay Area and one of the fastest job growth rates in the nation is helping to boost home prices locally.

And as Kolko points out, home prices in the East Bay saw prices fall sharply during the bust, creating bargains for home buyers.

S&P/Case-Shiller says nationwide prices the average price for a home during that same period of time ending in April jumped 12.1 percent — setting a monthly record.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices said the housing recovery is looking strong:

“Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco posted year-over-year gains of over 20 percent in April. San Francisco was the highest at 23.9 percent. … Recent economic data on home sales and inventories confirm the housing recovery’s strength.”

Behind San Francisco in showing strong growth was Las Vegas, which saw prices climb  22.3 percent and Phoenix, which saw prices rise by 21.5 percent.