Bloomberg News

San Francisco Area Home Sales Climb on Investor Purchases

March 15, 2012

Home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area rose 14 percent last month from a year earlier as investors bought a record share of properties, DataQuick said.

A total of 5,702 new and resale houses and condominiums sold in the nine-county region, the eighth straight year-over- year increase and a 4.1 percent gain from January, the San Diego-based data seller said today in a statement. Foreclosures and short sales, where the price is less than the amount owed, made up half of all purchases. Cash buyers accounted for a record 32 percent of deals.

Prices fell to a median $325,500, down 0.3 percent from January and 3.6 percent from February 2011. It was the 17th consecutive decline on an annual basis. Absentee buyers, mostly investors, accounted for 26 percent of sales last month, a record, said DataQuick, which began compiling real estate information in 1988.

“Many potential buyers are still waiting for the lending spigot to open more,” John Walsh, DataQuick’s president, said in the statement. “Drum-tight credit conditions continue to undermine housing, along with negative equity and the various uncertainties plaguing would-be buyers.”

Alameda County led the region with a 33 percent sales gain from a year earlier, and Marin County had the largest price increase, climbing 7.6 percent to a median $535,500. San Francisco rose 5.9 percent to $624,000.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at

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