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Despite declines, Silicon Valley still has most costly U.S. housing, survey says

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 08/13/2008 - 10:00pm

Don't let those "price reduced" signs get you thinking that homeownership in Silicon Valley is a bargain: The San Jose metro area is still the nation's most expensive housing market, according to a national survey released Thursday.

True, the median price of houses sold in the San Jose metro area in the second quarter fell nearly 13 percent compared with a year earlier. But despite the decline, the median price of $755,000 was the highest of any metropolitan area in the country, a report from the National Association of Realtors said.

"The price decline in San Jose, relatively speaking by California standards, is more modest than in Southern California or Sacramento, because of the much stronger job growth," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors trade group.

The San Francisco metro area had the nation's second-most-expensive prices, with a median of $636,000, down 19 percent from the second quarter of 2007. Foreclosures in the eastern part of that metro area helped drag down the median price significantly; the metro area includes San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The San Jose metro area includes Santa Clara and San Benito counties.

The Sacramento-Roseville metro area earned the unwelcome distinction of having the country's most severe home price depreciation in the second quarter. Median prices fell nearly 36 percent from a year earlier, hitting $229,500. Riverside-San Bernardino posted a 33 percent decline, and the Los Angeles and Anaheim areas had decreases of more than 20 percent.

While most California home values deteriorated in the April-to-June period, median prices actually rose in nearly one-quarter of the metro areas represented in the Realtors report. Among those with biggest increases were Yakima, Wash., where an 8.9 percent gain brought the median price to $162,300. In Binghamton, N.Y., prices climbed 8.7 percent to $120,900.

In the states with the steepest price declines, buyers are coming back to the market, Yun said. There were 26 percent more sales in California in the second quarter than in the first, and 25 percent more in Nevada, for example.

To read the report and data tables, visit