Bay Area home prices peak at new record

A short supply and healthy demand for Bay Area homes lifted the median sales price last month to a historic high of $700,000, surpassing the previous peak of $690,000 set in April, according to research firm CoreLogic.

Research analyst Andrew LePage said in a statement:

“The tight supply of homes on the market continues to constrain sales, while low mortgage rates and job growth help fuel healthy demand. … This results in a pressure cooker effect, and the market’s traditional pressure release valve — new home construction — isn’t helping much, given that new-home sales are running more than 40 percent below historically normal levels.”

The number of homes, 7,888, sold in the Bay Area in May was up 3.2 percent from April but down 4.2 percent from last May and well below the peak May sales month of 13,567 in 2004 and the May average of 9,463 since 1988 when data for the firm’s report began.

In Alameda County, the median price rose to $700,000 from $685,500, while the median price in Contra Costa County rose $20,000 to $540,000.

In Solano County, where the region’s lowest-priced homes can be found, the median price rose to $370,250 from $350,000.

In the highest-priced counties of San Francisco and San Mateo, the median price fell 13.3 percent to $1,127,500 and 3.4 percent to $1,036,500, respectively.

On a percentage basis, the price in Sonoma County and Solano County jumped the most at 5 and 5.8 percent.

LePage said the nominal Bay Area home price is at it’s highest ever, but in inflation-adjusted terms, the price is 12 percent below its peak of nearly 10 years ago.