We find ourselves continuing in an interesting dichotomy on the state of the housing market.  Total sales have declined once again, for the 8th consecutive time.  Yet, prices continue to rise.  How is this possible, you ask.  Well, the following analysis should provide some enlightenment.

Pending home sales in California and the Bay Area declined again in June, a trend that has persisted in every month of 2017.

  • San Francisco County bucked statewide and regional patterns, as pending home rose by more than 20 percent year over year.
  • California’s inventory crunch could once again drive double-digit-percent home price appreciation.


Pending home sales activity continued to decline in both California and the Bay Area last month, with tight inventory conditions once again the culprit.

The California Association of Realtors’ latest Pending Home Sales Index fell to 117.9 in June, down 0.9 percent on an annual basis and the sixth consecutive month of declines. As in May, CAR says that the drop in activity suggests that a slowdown in the state’s housing is imminent as the traditionally busy spring season comes to a close.

Bay Area pending home sales have been on an even longer skid — nine months — with the PHSI dipping to 148.0, down 0.6 percent from June 2016. However, the pace of pending sales declines in the Bay Area has been dropping for the last two months; in May, they were down by 5.5 percent year over year after plummeting  by 17.1 percent in April.

San Francisco County bucked the statewide and regional trend, as pending sales shot up 22.2 percent on an annual basis, the largest such gain of any county for which CAR tracks data. Pending sales dropped by 10.1 percent in San Mateo County and 0.4 percent in Santa Clara County from June of last year.

The report yet again underscores the effects of California’s inventory crunch, as active listings dropped by double-digit percentage points in June. CAR’s Market Velocity Index, which tracks home sales relative to new listings, was 71.0, the highest in four years. That means that there were significantly more California home sales than new listings to replace properties leaving the market and suggests that home price appreciation could return to the double-digit-percent range.

A limited number of homes for sale has resulted in an increase in competition, with 74 percent of properties receiving multiple offers in June, up from 72 percent one year earlier. The average California home garnered 3.5 offers compared with 3.0 one year earlier. In the Bay Area, buyers can expect even more competition, with 6 of 10 homes receiving multiple offers in the second quarter according to a recent analysis by Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp.

The state’s inventory crunch is top of mind for real estate professionals, with 38 percent of respondents to CAR’s Market Pulse Survey citing a lack of homes for sale as their chief concern. Nearly one-third are worried about declining affordability, while about one-quarter fear another housing bubble.

What does all this mean for you?  Well, if you’re a buyer, it provides additional evidence that you ought to be talking regularly to your Realtor so that you get the first shot at that ‘perfect’ house when it does hit the market.  How else would you know if you weren’t talking to him/her? I mean, that’s why you chose that agent to work with in the first place, isn’t it?

If, on the other hand, you’re a Seller, what better time to put your home on the market than one where there continues to be an inventory-short situation.  Fewer properties for a steady number of buyers likely means a better price for your home.

IN either case, call us for assistance.  We’re always available to help.  Remember–Jane & I combine over fifty years of Marin real estate experience that we can put to use to your advantage. The numbers: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.  You won’t regret it!