Generally speaking, market activity – as measured by the number of listings going into contract – continued to pick up rapidly in May, bouncing back from the steep plunge following the first shelter in place orders. However, activity in May, which is typically among the busiest selling months of the year, remained well below May 2019. Still, with the easing of shelter in place, as well as the market learning to adjust to new circumstances, it is expected the recovery will continue to surge closer to normal. In fact, based on the strength of buyer demand, some analysts believe the coming months may be busier than in 2019, as sales activity that would have occurred in spring gets pushed into the summer instead.
The median house sales price dropped in May 2020 year over year, but is basically unchanged from April 2020. It is also based on the low level of accepted-offer activity occurring in April (at the height of shelter in place), as well as a big drop in luxury home activity in that month. Both rebounded in May and should be reflected in the June median sales price.
Interest rates hit another historic low at the end of May.
Some of the counties outside the inner Bay Area axis of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda have been rebounding faster. Generally speaking, they are more rural or suburban in nature - 3 of the 4 counties listed above have large urban areas - and/or have significantly lower housing costs. But it is still early days, too soon to jump to conclusions.
Note: Any statistics derived from closed sales – such as median sales prices, sales volume and days on market – reflect the state of the market 3-6 weeks ago when the offers were negotiated and accepted. They are lagging indicators, and May closed sales data to a large degree reflects the much softer market in April.