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Jul 20, 3:49 PM EDT

San Francisco Bay Area homes set price record as sales dip



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The median price of a San Francisco Bay Area home set another record while year-over-year sales dropped for a third straight month, reflecting a housing crunch that continues to stymie sales throughout the coveted region.

The median price of a house or condo in the nine-county, tech-heavy Bay Area hit $712,000 in June, according to numbers released Wednesday by research firm CoreLogic Inc. It was the third straight month of setting a new price high.

Sales were down 6.5 percent from last year, to 8,679 homes sold.

Statewide, the median price of a California home was $439,000, up nearly 6 percent from last June. Buyers closed on more than 45,200 homes last month, down 3 percent from a year ago.

Kim Ott, president of the Bay East Association of Realtors, said inventory is tighter than even last year as people continue to move into the San Francisco region, and people who already live in the area are staying put.

"When I first started in this business, (homes) were turning over about every five to seven years," said Ott, who has been in the industry since 1999. "Now, it's seven to 10 years. They are staying in their homes, and that also affects the inventory."

Sales in Alameda County, which includes the city of Oakland east of San Francisco, dropped nearly 10 percent from a year ago while the median price increased more than 7 percent to $705,000.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, sales of homes in Santa Clara County declined 7 percent as the median price increased 4.5 percent to $860,000.

"The affordability crunch is significant, and it's constraining sales," said CoreLogic research analyst Andrew LePage.

In Southern California, sales remained flat from a year ago. The median price was $464,000 in the six-county area, up 5 percent from last year. About 24,300 homes were sold in June.

The median price in Southern California ranged from a low of $285,000 in the inland county of San Bernardino to a high of $657,500 in Orange County.

The median price of a San Francisco home was $1.17 million in June.

But home-hunters on a budget should take heart: Prices are stabilizing in some areas, said David Stark, Bay East's public affairs director.

"Prices are still going up," he said, "just not as aggressively or rapidly as we've seen the last few years."

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