Home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area like those in the state at large fell in November DataQuick said today.  While state-wide sales, as reported earlier today by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) were down 3.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis from October to November, sales in the nine county Bay Area were down 12.3 percent on an unadjusted basis.  November sales totaled 6,659 new and existing homes and condos, down 10.9 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Sales in November, going back to 1988, have averaged 7,840 sales putting this November 15.1 percent below that average.  DataQuick said that Bay Area sales haven't been above average for any particular month in more than seven years. 

While median prices slipped statewide by 1.2 percent compared to October, prices in the Bay Area continued to increase.  The median price in the region was $550,000, 1.9 percent higher than the October median of $539,750 and 25.6 percent above $438,000 in November 2012.  The Bay Area median peaked at $665,000 in June and July 2007, then dropped to a low of $290,000 in March 2009. While much of the median's ups and downs can be attributed to shifts in the types of homes sold, DataQuick says it appears that most of the current year-over-year increase in the median reflects an actual rise in home values.

The company said recent sales were constrained by limited inventory and market uncertainty.  Purchase and mortgage patterns, it said, are moving slowly but steadily toward long-term norms.

"Up until half a year ago, the greater Bay Area market was basically bouncing up off bottom. Beginning last summer, the market started incrementally rebalancing, trending toward normalcy, as it were. Not just sales and prices: There has been a serious drop in distress sales, cash sales, absentee buyer sales. Mortgage financing patterns are still far from normal, but are moving in the right direction," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The number of Bay Area homes that sold for less than $500,000 dropped 32.5 percent year-over-year, while the number that sold for more increased 8.2 percent.  Distressed property sales made up 12.8 percent of the resale market, down from 13.1 percent in October and 35.7 percent a year ago with short sales making up 9.1 percent and foreclosure resales 3.7 percent.   In November 2012 short sales made up 23.2 percent of sales and foreclosure resales 12.5 percent.  Foreclosure resales peaked at 52.0 percent in February 2009.

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 50.1 percent of last month's purchase lending, up from a revised 47.7 percent in October, and up from 40.3 percent a year ago.  Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) accounted for 20.1 percent, down from 20.5 percent in October, and up from 12.0 percent in November last year.  Nationally ARMs have only an 8 percent market share.  Since 2000, ARMs have accounted for 47.4 percent of all purchase loans.  FHA home purchase loans, a popular low-down-payment choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 10.2 percent of all Bay Area home purchase mortgages in November. That was down from 10.4 percent in October and down from 14.7 percent a year earlier.