The median home price in California ended a three-month rally in August, falling 0.4% to $249,000, a real estate research firm reported Thursday. The San Francisco Bay Area showed an even greater drop of 8.9%, bringing its August median down to $360,000.
Statewide, 39,811 homes were sold in August, down 11.7% from July, according to MDA DataQuick.
The sales drop may have resulted from fewer foreclosed homes on the market. In the Bay Area, for instance, the percentage of homes sold that had been foreclosed fell to 32.5%, down from 36% a year earlier, according to DataQuick.
The relatively short supply of attractively priced foreclosures may have discouraged some shoppers, the San Diego research company said.
"In many areas, there were fewer homes, especially cheap foreclosures, to choose from, and lots of talk about multiple offers and all-cash deals," said DataQuick President John Walsh, referring to the Bay Area. "It might have driven some back to the sidelines."
The number of Bay Area homes sold was down 14.3% from July.
Both the median price and total sales in California had been rising this year. The median price had gone up every month since April. The Bay Area median price peaked at $665,000 in July 2007. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.
DataQuick said the Bay Area decline resulted from a higher percentage of sales in lower-priced inland areas.
The typical monthly mortgage payment for a home purchased last month in California was $1,093, based on a DataQuick formula using the median sales price and a 30-year-fixed mortgage at typical current rates. That was 59.4% below the peak in June 2006, DataQuick said.
In the Bay Area, the typical August mortgage payment was $1,585, down 55.4% from the July 2007 peak.