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Napa County Housing Market Lags Region

As a region, the Bay Area's housing market is on the upswing. But Napa County hasn't yet seen the improvement other counties are experiencing.

The housing market's rebound in the Bay Area accelerated in December, when sales increased year-over-year for the 18th consecutive month. Napa County, however, didn't follow the regional trends.

The number of foreclosure in the Bay Area sales hit a five-year low, while median sale price rose a whopping 32 percent from December 2011, according to according to DataQuick's city data for December.

But the Napa County housing market wasn't as robust as the rest of the region. Unlike most other counties, the number of homes sold in Napa County in December 2012 actually declined slightly from where it was a year prior: sales volume was down 2.3 percent. The county also didn't see major increases in home prices like many other communities in the region.

A total of 129 homes were sold in Napa County in December with a median price of $350,000.

As a region, the Bay Area's housing market is on the upswing. Here are some highlights:

  • The median price paid for a home in the nine-county Bay Area was $442,750 in December. That was up 1.1 percent from $438,000 in November and up 32.0 percent from $335,500 in December a year ago.
  • The December median home price was the highest since August 2008 when it was $447,000.
  • There were fewer "distressed property sales" (foreclosures and short sales). Foreclosure resales accounted for 11.8 percent of resales in December, the lowest number of short sales in the Bay Area since November 2007 (10.1 percent).

Here's a Bay Area breakdown of home sales and median price: 

All Homes #Sold  #Sold  % Change Median Median % Change
Dec. 2011 Dec. 2012
Dec. 2011 Dec. 2012
Alameda 1,584 1,623 2.5% $328,000 $410,000 25% Contra Costa 1,1534 1,530 -0.3% $259,000 $333,500 28.8% Marin 280 291 3.9%  $517,818 $660,750  27.6% Napa 132 129 -2.3% $317,500 $350,000 10.2% Santa Clara  1,611 1,822 13.1% $440,000 $544,500 23.8% San Francisco 499 646 29.5% $594,500 $720,000 21.1% San Mateo 602 626 4.0% $500,000 $600,000 20% Solano 714 610 -14.6% $182,250 $218,000 19.6% Sonoma  538       
555 3.2% $279,500 $345,000 23.4% Bay Area 7,494 7,832 4.5% $335,500 $442,750 32%

Region wide, home sales increased by 4.5 percent and all counties had double-digit increases in median home prices. The overall Bay Area saw a 32 percent increase in median home prices from December 2011 to December 2012, according to DataQuick

“Prices are in the midst of bouncing off bottom right now, and nobody really knows what the trajectory of this bounce will be beyond this point. So far, supply has been a bottleneck, but as prices go up, more homes will be put up for sale,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Napa County home sales and median prices for November 2012:

City Total Homes Sold Nov. 2012 Median Price Nov. 2011 Median Price Percent Change Calistoga
4 $364,500 $298,500 22.11% Napa
96 $360,000 $299,000 20.40% St. Helena
7 $925,000 $715,000 29.37%

(Note: city and county data lags a month behind the regional figures.)

Are rising home prices affecting you? What do you think this data says about the Napa County real estate market? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Patty Chidester, Manfredi January 25, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Love to know what is happening in Napa. I was raised there. Napa High grad. 1974
Louisa Hufstader January 25, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Great to have you with us, Patty! Got any cool old photos of Napa back in the day? You are welcome to share them via the "Post pics and clips" button on our home page.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau January 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM
If you have a home to sell in Napa you will have no problem selling it. Low inventory, low sales numbers.
Louisa Hufstader January 25, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I'm not as worried about selling it as I am about how much it will go for.

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