Real estate activity slowed in the fourth quarter in Pacific Union’s Contra Costa County region, held back by a shrinking pool of available homes. It’s a problem that has bedeviled the region for much of the past year, caused in part by would-be sellers who remain unsure of the market and where they will find their next homes. At the same time, buyers were more cautious in the fourth quarter, too. Except in the most sought-after communities such as Lafayette and Orinda, few buyers were willing to pay above the list price or engage in bidding wars.
Home prices were up solidly compared with one year ago, although the pace of appreciation slowed significantly from what we saw one and two years ago — more evidence that the Bay Area’s real estate markets are gradually settling down after several years of frenzied recovery. Fewer high-end properties sold during the fourth quarter than in previous quarters, though that will likely change as spring approaches.
Looking Forward: We expect to see more homes coming on the market in the first and second quarters of 2015, spurred not just by the advent of springtime but also the likelihood that the current near-record-low mortgage rates will soon disappear.
Defining Contra Costa County: Our real estate markets in Contra Costa County include the cities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. Sales data in the charts below includes single-family homes in these communities.
Months’ Supply of Inventory
The months’ supply of inventory is a measure of how quickly the current supply of homes would be sold at the current sales rate, assuming no more homes came on the market. In general, an MSI below 4 is considered a seller’s market; between 4 and 6 is a balanced market; and above 6 is a buyer’s market.
Median Sales Price
The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.
Average Days on Market
Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.
Percentage of Properties Under Contract
Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.
Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price
Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.
Information courtesy of Pacific Union – pacunion.com