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San Francisco Bay Area Home Sales Below Average as Buyers Wait

San Francisco Bay Area Home Sales Below Average
Spencer Moore, a representative of Chase Communications, looks over buildings along the skyline of San Francisco from the One Rincon Hill apartment complex. Photographer: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg

Home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area were 22 percent below average last month as buyers waited for better mortgage availability, DataQuick said today.

A total of 6,749 houses and condominiums sold in the nine-county region, below the average of 8,644 property deals for September since 1988, the San Diego-based data seller said in a statement. Last month’s total was down 10 percent from August and up 6.6 percent from a year earlier.

“Demand continues to accumulate,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in the statement. “Empty-nesters want something smaller, growing families want something bigger. People still die, they get married, retire -- all of this generates demand. And only a fraction of that demand is being met in today’s market.”

The number of transactions financed with adjustable-rate loans, an indicator of mortgage availability, fell to 13 percent in September from 16 percent in August, according to DataQuick. Such loans were used in 45 percent of Bay Area sales over the past decade. Jumbo mortgages, or those higher than $417,000, were used in almost a third of all deals, little changed from August and about half 2007’s tally.

The median home price in the Bay Area fell to $365,000, down 1.4 percent from August and 7.6 percent from a year earlier, DataQuick said. All nine counties had price declines from a year earlier, led by a 13 percent decrease to $252,000 in Contra Costa. Santa Clara fell 6 percent to $470,000 and San Francisco fell 1 percent to $613,750.

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