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What city had the biggest price gain? Detroit or San Francisco?

What city had the biggest price gain? Detroit or San Francisco?
SF, San Jose and Sacramento posted 50%-plus gains since 2013

Home prices have been booming for the past five years in North America, from Mexico City to Montreal — and California has definitely been part of the party.

Eighteen of the continents 83 major cities — with 500,000 people or more — reported home price increases of at least 50% between December 2013 and December 2018, according to Point2Homes.

San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento cracked the 50%-plus gains list, with San Francisco finishing in third place nationwide, behind Detroit and Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. San Francisco’s median-home price has increased from $800,000 to $1.35 million, a 69% increase.

(Check the latest Redfin data on San Francisco, where the average home sells for 7% above the listing price and enters escrow in 21 days.)

Motor City madness

Detroit home prices soared 97% over the five-year period. But the Motor City’s impressive percentage gain was based on a horribly pounded market, dominated by foreclosures and hard-hit neighborhoods. Detroit’s price almost doubled, from a paltry $31,185 in 2013 to a still cheap $61,328 at the end of 2018 — about one-tenth the median-home price of California. Home prices in Surry, British Columbia, jumped 88%.

San Jose had the 10th-largest price increase in North America, rising 58% from $610,000 to $965,000.  Sacramento, one of the nation’s hottest markets the past three years, climbed 56% from $205,000 to $320,000, a impressive gain but far from the statewide median-home price.

Los Angeles (up 43%), Fresno (37%) and San Diego (35%) were farther down the list.

Many homeowners in California, regardless of where they bought and live, are enjoying impressive equity gains from the price run-up, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Photo of San Francisco row houses by CS Nafziger/Shutterstock

Californians have the biggest mortgages, but the lowest rates

California is an expensive state to buy a house — and keep a house.

But homeowners in the state benefit at least one way: the lowest mortgage rates in the nation, according to a LendingTree report.

The average homeowner’s long-term mortgage has an interest rate of 4.74%, a bit better than New Jersey at 4.75%.

However, California’s hefty home prices require a huge down payment and loan, and monthly payments.

The average down payment in the state was $41,502, second behind only New York state ($43,404). California stands at the top of the list for money borrowed for a mortgage at $313,508, one of only two states that crack the $300,000 level (Hawaii at $300,910).  

Home listings soaring ...

More would-be buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach to purchasing, and that is creating the largest inventory of homes in many markets nationwide during the past five years, including in California.

Home listings climbed 42.9% in San Jose in January compared to a year ago, easily the largest increase in the nation, according to Zillow. San Jose had about 3,000 homes on the market in January, 900 more than a year ago.

San Diego increased 31.9%, the third-largest jump in the nation, behind second-place Seattle. Los Angeles (up 29.1% from a year ago) and San Francisco (up 25%) had the fourth- and fifth-largest increases in listings nationwide.

Fresno listing have climbed 31.7% compared to a year ago, while Sacramento was up 25.3%.

Nationwide, listings have increased 1.2% to the highest level since 2014.

and home prices falling

More than one of every five homes on the market had the asking price dropped during the first two months of the year, the largest percentage in more than a decade, according to Redfin.

Three of the 10 housing markets with the largest percentage of price drops were in California, led by first-place Fresno at 40.4%. Bakersfield finished at No. 4 (up 31.4%) and 10th-place Sacramento with a 26.6% increase in price drops during the first several weeks of the year compared to the same period in 2018.

Those price drops coupled with fewer homebuyers is has made several California cities among the fastest cooling markets in the nation, according to Zillow. San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles were the four fastest-cooling markets, with Sacramento (No. 8) and Riverside (No. 10) making the list.

About the author
About the author

Ron Trujillo, an award-winning business journalist-turned-public relations executive, is the editor-owner of CalHomeNews and can be reached at

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