Home Sales Rise in 2010 for a Stronger Outlook in 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - January 27, 2011) - From 2009 to 2010 Bay Area home sales increased for the first time since 2004, according to McGuire Real Estate's fourth quarter report and year-end findings.

Over 16,000 properties sold in 2010, up three percent from the previous year. Single-family home sales climbed 4.4 percent during December, after five consecutive months of year-over-year declines. Statistics show last year's sales activity and market performance in line with seasonal trends. The market hit its low point in January and gradually gained momentum until about May, which is when sales volumes peaked in every region but Marin. The East Bay was the only area to not exceed the number of units sold in 2009.

While recent upward trends have added hope to an otherwise gloomy housing forecast, the pace of such gains will likely remain sluggish and sporadic. 2011 continues to face high unemployment rates, low consumer confidence, ongoing foreclosures, shadow inventories, and strict lending standards.

On the Peninsula, a booming technology sector is creating jobs and stirring economic growth. The Silicon Valley's unemployment rate -- which incorporates San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale -- fell to 10.7 percent earlier this month. Los Altos, Cupertino, and Los Gatos were three of California's top 10 communities with highest median sale prices for December, according to the California Association of Realtors and MDA DataQuick. Los Altos was second at $1.3 million, Cupertino eighth with $904,500, and Los Gatos tenth at $840,000.

Available inventory in the Bay Area remains relatively low right now. The number of homes for sale in December declined more than expected, pushing the year's optimum housing level closer to March. Buyer demand appears to be healthy, however there's a growing divide amongst buyers and sellers in the way they perceive property values. It seems that sellers are less in touch with new market realities. One-fourth of all listings last month had already been reduced in price one or more times, with the average cut by nine percent and reaching as far as 13 in some areas.

Average sale prices increased in all four regions last year. In 2010, the average cost of a single-family home in the Bay Area was approximately $860,000. The foreclosure front also improved, with the number of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process dropping by five percent. Overall, McGuire's findings suggest that the roughest waters for Bay Area real estate have started to settle and will produce calmer seas in 2011.

McGuire Real Estate has been an integral part of the real estate scene in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 90 years. A mid-sized, regional boutique, McGuire specializes in luxury real estate but applies the highest standards of service to properties in every price range, and to every client. Its "customer first" philosophy and local focus has proved to be a winning formula for this Bay Area real estate leader. McGuire's affiliations with Luxury Portfolio successfully connects its clients and agents to a worldwide marketplace. McGuire operates three offices in San Francisco, two in Marin County, one in Burlingame serving the Peninsula, and two serving the East Bay.

To learn more about McGuire Real Estate, contact us at clientcare@mcguire.com, 1-800-4-RESULTS or visit www.mcguire.com.