REAL ESTATE

Bay Area housing market throttles back but San Francisco still red-hot

Bay Area home prices grow at slowest pace in 2 1/2 years. Only -- only! -- 9.3%

Apparently, even the Bay Area's housing market is capable of cooling off.

Home prices in the nine-county Bay Area grew in November at their slowest pace in two and a half years, with the median price of $601,000 up 9.3% from the same month last year. The number of homes sold dipped 9.9%.

The new figures, released Tuesday by CoreLogic DataQuick. are the latest sign that even the nation's strongest housing market is capable of topping out. High prices, tight supply and tough lending restrictions have hindered would-be buyers in Southern California this year. Now it appears they're taking a toll up north, too.

With its strong tech-driven job growth and higher household incomes, prices in the Bay Area have continued to push upward. But prices in November were flat from October, and the year-over-year growth rate -- while still impressive by national standards -- is the slowest since May 2012.

Of course, San Francisco County remains immune. Prices there shot up 27.2%, to a median of $1.072 million.

Slower price growth across the broad region though is good news for buyers, and many experts say a little cooling off would do everyone some good if it gives more people time to get into a housing market that right now is too costly.

"The big question then will be just how much pent-up demand is out there," said CoreLogic DataQuick analyst John Karevoll. "No one knows."

Keep an eye on housing and real estate in Southern California. Follow me on Twitter at @bytimlogan.

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