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Old 05-18-2006, 08:40 PM
elva
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Post Bay Area housing market slows but still sets new price peak

In a continuing sign of a slowing real estate market, Bay Area home sales in April reached their lowest level in five years even as the median price reached a new record, a real estate information service reported today.
But the new peak of $628,000 isn't that much to get excited about, given that sales volume dropped 25.1 percent from a year ago, DataQuick Information Systems said.

Some 8,358 new and resale condominiums changed hands last month -- the slowest April since 2001 when 7,193 homes were sold, and a 14.2 percent decline from March.

The median price -- the point where half the homes sell for less and half sell for more -- was $628,000 in April, up $6,000 from March and $3,000 higher than the previous peak of $625,000 in November. But while that is a new record, it was only 7.2 percent higher than a year ago.

After more than two years of double-digit home-price appreciation, April marked the second consecutive month of single-digit

"These are strange times for forecasters and analysts. Are we heading into a market lull? Or are we seeing the beginning of a significant downturn?" said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president. "Many of the fundamentals for housing are at a crossroads: Inflation, interest rates, demand, household incomes, prices and whether homes are a good investment compared to other investments. Summer is going to be interesting to say the least."

Source: DataQuick Information Systems, www.DQNews.com

- Business Writer Eve Mitchell can be reached at (510) 208-6474 or emitchell@angnewspapers.com
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