The median sale price for Bay Area homes rose for the second consecutive month in May, driven by a high number of sales and increased activity at the higher ends of the market, according to figures released Friday.
Total home sales in the nine-county Bay Area were up 14.8 percent in May to 8,810 from the previous month and up 26.1 percent from the same month last year, according to real estate information service DataQuick.
Sales for May reached a six-year high, but were still 8.8 percent below the average recorded for May by DataQuick since 1988. They reached a record low in 2008, when only 6,216 homes were sold in May in the nine-county Bay Area, and a record high only a few years earlier in 2004, at 13,567.
“It’s not exactly a stampede, but people are starting to move off the housing market sidelines in numbers we haven’t seen in quite a while,” said DataQuick President John Walsh.
The median price in the Bay Area rose to $400,000 in May, up 2.6 percent from April and up 7.5 percent from May 2011. May was only the second month since 2010 that median prices have risen year over year.
The median home price in the Bay Area reached a low of $290,000 in March 2009, and a peak of $665,000 in June and July of 2007.
One factor in the increase in median prices is a change in the mix of what is selling, Walsh said. Foreclosures are a smaller percentage of sales and higher-priced properties are moving in larger numbers than in recent years.
Median home prices rose in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano counties, but fell in Marin, Napa, San Mateo and Sonoma counties, according to DataQuick. The highest median price in May was $701,000 in San Francisco, and the lowest was $190,000 in Solano County.