Alameda County home prices continue to climb as sales cool down

(Credit: California Association of Realtors)

While home prices may be dipping slightly in other parts of the Bay Area, they’re still on the upswing in Alameda County.

The most recent data from the California Association of Realtors shows that the median home price in the county climbed to $1,545,000 in May, up 3% from a month prior when it was $1.5 million and up 17.7% from a year ago when it was $1,312,500. While month-over-month sales ticked up 3.7%, they were down 10.7% from the year prior.

That tracks with trends statewide. California’s median home price reached a new all-time high in May at $898,980, surpassing the record broken a month earlier by 1.6%. Meanwhile the pace of month-over-month and year-over-year sales slowed 9.8% and 15.2%, respectively.

“We’re beginning to see signs of a more balanced housing market with fewer homes selling above list price and homes remaining on the market a little longer than in previous months,” association President Otto Catrina, a Bay Area real estate broker, said in a statement. “What this tells us is that there is slightly more supply, fewer- and less-intense bidding wars, and those who’ve experienced ‘buyers’ fatigue’ may now have a window of opportunity.” 

Even with that window of opportunity, few people in Alameda County can afford a single-family home. In the first quarter of the year, only 33% of residents could afford the median home price in the county, which was $1,164,930. That’s down from 37% the quarter and year prior.

The minimum qualifying income for a single-family home was $171,300 in the first quarter, but the county’s median household income is only $104,888, while the per capita income is $49,883.

Mortgage rates are also continuing to climb. Last week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.78%, up from 2.93% a year prior, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81%, up from 2.24% a year prior.

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a statement that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage’s half a percentage point increase marked the largest one-week increase since 1987.

“These higher rates are the result of a shift in expectations about inflation and the course of monetary policy,” Khater said. “Higher mortgage rates will lead to moderation from the blistering pace of housing activity that we have experienced coming out of the pandemic, ultimately resulting in a more balanced housing market.”

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