Bay Area home sales slip as prices surge

Bay Area home sales dropped last month to their lowest level for a January in the last seven years, according to data released Wednesday by the property information service CoreLogic DataQuick.

Compared to January 2014, last month’s home sales dropped by 5.5 percent in the region, according to DataQuick, a San Diego-based company. However, Bay Area median home sale prices rose by 9 percent from $525,000 to $572,000 over the same period, marking 34 straight months with a year-over-year price gain, according to the company.

A total of 4,439 homes sold last month in the nine-county Bay Area. That was down from January 2014, when 4,696 homes sold, and down significantly from December 2014, when 7,456 homes sold, according to DataQuick. That’s not uncommon, however. Home sales have dropped an average of 28.5 percent between December and January each year since DataQuick began collecting data in 1988, according to the company.

Analyst Andrew LePage said in a statement:

“January isn’t really a bellwether month when it comes to housing trends. …¬†For that we’ll have to wait until spring.”

LePage also remarked that recent home price appreciation might trigger an increase in the number of homes listed for sale this year. January home sales peaked at 8,298 in 2005. Three years later, they hit an all-time low at 3,586 in 2008.

Last month was the second-slowest January on record, according to DataQuick. According to DataQuick, the typical monthly mortgage payment for Bay Area homebuyers last month was $2,099.