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Palo Alto Median Home Price Declines to $1M and Change

Overall, the recovery of the Bay Area housing market is accelerating.


The housing market's rebound in the Bay Area accelerated in December, when sales increased year-over-year for the 18th consecutive month.

The number of foreclosure in the Bay Area sales hit a five-year low, while median sale price rose a whopping 32 percent from December 2011, according to according to DataQuick's city data for December.

That translated to a 13.1 percent increase in home sales in Santa Clara County, comparing December 2012 to December 2011 and a median home price jump of 23.8 percent in the county during the same time frame.

A total of 1,822 homes were sold in Santa Clara County with a median price of $544,500.

Santa Clara County fared better than most of the Bay Area in terms of number of homes sold. Alameda, Marin, San Mateo and Sonoma counties saw modest gains in sales figures. Only San Francisco County had a larger increase in sales volume, at 29.5 percent. Contra Costa, Napa and Solano counties all experienced declines in the number of homes sold.

Other highlights include:

  • The median price paid for a home in the nine-county Bay Area was $442,750 in December. That was up 1.1 percent from $438,000 in November and up 32.0 percent from $335,500 in December a year ago.
  • The December median home price was the highest since August 2008 when it was $447,000.
  • There were fewer "distressed property sales" (foreclosures and short sales). Foreclosure resales accounted for 11.8 percent of resales in December, the lowest number of short sales in the Bay Area since November 2007 (10.1 percent).

Here's a Bay Area breakdown of home sales and median price: 

All Homes #Sold  #Sold  % Change Median Median % Change
Dec. 2011 Dec. 2012
Dec. 2011 Dec. 2012
Alameda 1,584 1,623 2.5% $328,000 $410,000 25% Contra Costa 1,1534 1,530 -0.3% $259,000 $333,500 28.8% Marin 280 291 3.9%  $517,818 $660,750  27.6% Napa 132 129 -2.3% $317,500 $350,000 10.2% Santa Clara  1,611 1,822 13.1% $440,000 $544,500 23.8% San Francisco 499 646 29.5% $594,500 $720,000 21.1% San Mateo 602 626 4.0% $500,000 $600,000 20% Solano 714 610 -14.6% $182,250 $218,000 19.6% Sonoma  538       
555 3.2% $279,500 $345,000 23.4% Bay Area 7,494 7,832 4.5% $335,500 $442,750 32%

Region wide, home sales increased by 4.5 percent and all counties had double-digit increases in median home prices. The overall Bay Area saw a 32 percent increase in median home prices from December 2011 to December 2012, according to DataQuick

“Prices are in the midst of bouncing off bottom right now, and nobody really knows what the trajectory of this bounce will be beyond this point. So far, supply has been a bottleneck, but as prices go up, more homes will be put up for sale,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Here's a breakdown of Palo Alto home sales and median prices for November 2012:

Zip Code      # of Sales         % Change        Median Price            % Change     Priciest Home Sold  $/Sq. Foot                    % Change                 94301
20 -13.1% $1,090,000 -54.6% $3,510,000 $1,032 -6.6% 94306 34 70% $1,000,000 -11.6% $2,243,000 $898 2.3% 94303 30 -16.7% $610,000 45.5% $4,555,000 $588 -93.5%

(Note: city and county data lags a month behind the regional figures.)

Santa Clara County home sales and median prices for November 2012:

City Total Homes Sold Nov. 2012 Median Price Nov. 2011 Median Price Percent Change Campbell 53 $675,000 $675,000 26.76% Cupertino 49 $1,141,000 $874,000 30.55% Gilroy 75 $429,500 $374,000 14.84% Los Altos 47 $1,637,750 $1,589,000 3.07% Los Gatos 54 $1,050,000 $1,032,500 1.69% Milpitas 72 $460,000 $385,000 19.48% Mountain View 69 $778,000 $636,500 22.23% Palo Alto 72 $1,062,500 $1,370,000 -22.45% Saratoga 38 $1,300,500 $1,601,000 -18.77%

PATCH WANTS TO KNOW: Are rising home prices affecting you? What do you think this data says about the Palo Alto real estate market? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Samia Cullen January 24, 2013 at 03:41 PM
One month of sales does not reflect the actual market condition. The lack of inventory resulted in lower median sale price for November. Historically, the market activity in November and December is low because of the Holiday Season. In addition the median sale price for Palo Alto in November per example and according to the MLS statistics for single family homes and townhouses is $1,512,500 not $1,062,000. Following are the search criteria and the results copied and pasted from our local MLS. for Palo Alto: Sale Price, Median Jul $1,500,000 Aug $1,450,500 Sep $1,550,000 Oct $1,646,000 Nov $1,512,500 Dec $1,710,000 Search Criteria: Time frame is from Jul 2012 to Dec 2012 Property Sub Class is one of 'Single Family Residential', 'Townhouse/Condo (Comm Int Dev)' City CityCodeName is 'PA Palo Alto' Results calculated from 339 listings Please cross check the information before you publish it.
Michael Talis January 24, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Samia, great post and good data. I don't think that one month not following the steady growing trends warrants the headline for the article. Year-over-year Palo Alto single family home prices are up by more than 20%.

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