Home & Leisure

Bay Area homes deliver record-breaking returns

Louis Hansen, The Mercury News on

Published in Home and Consumer News

The good times started to roll in April 2012. The Warriors had a solid new back court named Curry and Thompson and local home prices started to climb again.

Since then, Bay Area homes have gained value year-over-year for a record 70 straight months, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic. It's been nearly six years, and the Warriors and the housing market look stronger than ever.

Some counties have seen average property values nearly double during that stretch, including appreciation of more than 80 percent in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. That's nearly twice the national increase during the same time.

In Alameda and Solano counties, real estate offered better returns than even the Dow's 87 percent run-up between April 2012 and December 2017.

"It never cooled down," said Mark Wong, agent at Alain Pinel in Saratoga. "It just kept heating up."

The streak tops the real estate fever that overtook the valley during the boom from early 1996 though September 2001. But agents say there's more stability now in the region's economy from established and expanding tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook. They don't expect the real estate run-up to slow down.

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The latest sales report from January reflects a steady rise in home prices, pumping up values for property owners while leaving first-time buyers busting budgets to purchase a starter home. Experts say prices were boosted by continued tight inventory and a growing, well-paid workforce.

The sheer scarcity of homes for sale is driving up bids. The Bay Area median price for a resold home rose to $712,000 in January, an 11.8 percent gain from a year ago, according to a report released Wednesday by CoreLogic.

Median sales prices in San Mateo rose 30 percent from the previous January, reaching $1.31 million. Santa Clara prices jumped nearly 24 percent to $1.05 million. Alameda rose about 14 percent to $755,000, and Contra Costa home prices went up 7 percent to $535,000.

Gains have reached double-digits for the last six months.


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