Bay Area condo market heats up as alternative to pricier homes


Even the first step into the real estate market for many buyers — condominiums — is getting harder to reach in the Bay Area.

Buyers stretching their budgets and looking for deals have driven condo prices up and inventory down to near-record lows, mirroring the trend in single family homes.

The median sale price for a condo unit in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties last month was $810,000, up 20 percent from the same time last year, according to real estate marketing firm Polaris Pacific. Median sale prices for units in Oakland and Emeryville climbed 4.5 percent, to $575,000. And San Francisco gained 2.7 percent, with a median price of $1.17 million.

The combination of high-income tech jobs and limited housing choices has driven the condo market, said Paul Zeger, founder of Polaris Pacific. The once-held family dream of a four-bedroom, two bath house on a large lot has given way to a more affordable plan — a modern condominium in a good school district, he said.

“Affordability is a huge factor,” Zeger said, adding that new buyers “have to be realistic.”

Sales of existing single-family homes in the Bay Area have been rising every month for the last six years, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic. The median price for homes sold in March in the nine-county region was $850,000. The median home price for a single family home was $1.36 million in Santa Clara County, $1.56 million in San Mateo County, $860,000 in Alameda County and $610,000 in Contra Costa County.

The hottest cities in the Silicon Valley condo market were Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Campbell and Cupertino, where prices rose 30 percent in the last year.

The demand has driven a building spree in some Bay Area cities. About 3,000 new units have been approved in the South Bay, with about one-third being …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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