The release of the latest Case-Shiller Report could signal a shot across the bow for sellers considering a move. 

Though often outperforming, and somewhat insulated from many parts of the U.S., the Bay Area is not immune to fluctuations in the housing market. These most recent statisticsfrom the highly regarded Case-Shiller report (for San Francisco Metropolitan Statistical Area) reveal a four-month downward trend which began in October of 2018, and has continued through the latest reporting period—January of 2019 (the index has a two-month lag in reporting). A downward trend like this has not occurred since before the market began a sustained rebound in March of 2012.

What is the Case-Schiller Report?

The monthly S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices uses the “repeat sales method” of index calculation – an approach that is widely recognized as the primary methodology for indexing housing prices – which uses data on properties that have sold at least twice, in order to capture the true appreciated value of each specific sales unit. 

Our Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), is comprised of home sales in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

This study indicates that our MSA home sales index has not endured more than eight consecutive months of declining values since the era of the modern “Great Recession”, which began in December of 2007 and lasted in earnest until June of 2009.

As previously mentioned, this study encompasses several counties—each with varying degrees of volatility, and so while one county may be experiencing a downturn, another county could be resurging. This study may be the best available, but it’s important to remember that real estate is hyper local in the Bay Area, similar to weather-related “micro-climates” that you constantly hear about.

According to this data, the year-over year appreciation in the MSA pool of home sales in January 2019 was a paltry 1.8%. Contrasting that to the same annual period the previous year of 25.8%. (apples to apples).  Since this most recent downturn, values have dropped 4.4%.

The Take-Away

Will this downward trend continue? That of course remains to be seen, but to date home sales in our immediate area do not seem to be encountering the same resistance that was prevalent beginning in fall of 2018 and lasting through January of this year.

With that in mind, the bond yield curve inverted last month, which has often been a precursor to a recession. Home prices may have peaked in September of last year, but more recent sales this spring suggest the housing market remains quite robust.  This month’s Case-Shiller report, due to be published on April 30th, could be an interesting foretelling of what may be in store for us.

Featured Photograph “Dark Tunnel” by Lisa Lemmons-Powers also available to purchase. Be sure to browse her amazing collection of photography.

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Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 25+ years of experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. As Diamond recipients, Drew and Christine are ranked in the top 50 RE/MAX agents nationwide and the top 3 in Northern California.  They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at info@morganhomes.com.

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The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax, insurance or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.


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