Bay Area Seeing Surge in Home Sales on the High and Ultra-High End

Luxury transaction jumped 74% year over year


Mansion Global | Liz Lucking

The Bay Area's high-end home market is thriving. Photo: Getty Images.


Big-spending homebuyers across California's Bay Area were out in droves throughout the summer and fall, unperturbed by the challenges of 2020, which for the Bay Area included wildfires alongside the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report Tuesday from Compass.

Bay Area luxury home sales—defined as transactions priced above $2 million or $3 million, depending on the county—surged 74% in October compared to the same time in 2019, the estate agency said.


Ultra-luxury sales, meanwhile, defined by Compass as deals above $3 million or $5 million, depending on the county, saw their numbers increase 64% in the same time.


“Affluent and very affluent buyers have significantly increased as a percentage of sales since the pandemic struck,” Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst for the San Francisco Bay Area at Compass, wrote in the report.

“Among other effects, the pandemic upended normal seasonal trends in the number of luxury home sales. For most counties, summer is typically a slow period for high-price sales,” he added.

Each of the Bay Area’s high-end markets recorded annual jumps in sales volume during the six months from May to October, with the only exception being San Francisco’s luxury condo segment, which has fallen out of favor with buyers who are instead seeking larger homes, typically in less dense locales.


Sonoma, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties saw the largest increase in popularity over that six-month period, with sales increasing 110%, 100% and 94%, respectively, from the same time in 2019.

The push to larger residences was underlined by the almost across-the-board price increases that were recorded throughout the Bay Area for so-called “big houses,” which are characterized in the report as properties with upward of five bedrooms, three bathrooms and spanning more than 3,500 square feet.

Prices in this category in the year to date have increased from last year in each county, with the exception of San Francisco. Wine Country, in particular, saw significant price gains as the median sales price in Napa and Sonoma counties rose to $2.7 million from $2.2 million.



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