January homes sales in Bay Area slowest since 2008

But January isn't really bellwether month when it comes to housing trends, agency says

Bay Area home sales dropped last month to their lowest level for a January in the last seven years, according to data released by the property information service CoreLogic DataQuick.

Compared to January 2014, last month's home sales dropped by 5.5% in the region.

However, Bay Area median home sale prices rose by 9% from $525,000 to $572,000 over the same period, marking 34 straight months with a year-over-year price gain, according to DataQuick.

A total of 4,439 homes sold last month in the nine-county Bay Area. That was down from January 2014, when 4,696 homes sold, and down significantly from December 2014, when 7,456 homes sold.

That's not uncommon, however. Home sales have dropped an average of 28.5% between December and January each year since DataQuick began collecting data in 1988, according to the company.

"January isn't really a bellwether month when it comes to housing trends," analyst Andrew LePage said in a statement. "For that we'll have to wait until spring."

LePage also remarked that recent home price appreciation might trigger an increase in the number of homes listed for sale this year.

January home sales peaked at 8,298 in 2005. Three years later, they hit an all-time low at 3,586 in 2008. Last month was the second-slowest January on record, according to DataQuick.

According to DataQuick, the typical monthly mortgage payment for Bay Area homebuyers last month was $2,099.

Dave Brooksher, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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