Million-dollar home sales in the East Bay were flat last month compared to a year ago, but the median sale price of luxury homes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties was up sharply year over year, according to a new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

A total of 117 homes sold for more than $1 million in the East Bay in August compared to 118 during the same month last year. Sales declined more sharply from July, when 160 homes changed hands for more than $1 million. However, the median sale price jumped 17.1 percent over the past year to $1.37 million in August. It was also up 5.8 percent from July.

Two other key indicators of the market also offered encouragement to sellers: It took an average of just 53 days to sell a million-dollar home, down from 94 days a year ago; and sellers received 96.79 percent of their asking price on average, up from just 94.54 percent in August 2009.

The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold in Alameda and Contra Costa counties for more than $1 million last month.

“The high-end housing market in the East Bay and throughout the Bay Area continues to stabilize and improve,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “Like the economy itself, the recovery in the housing market is fragile and is coming in fits and starts. But the numbers show we’re certainly ahead of where we were a year or two ago, and that’s reason for encouragement.”

However, Turley cautioned that the East Bay’s high-end market – as other housing markets – will continue to face economic headwinds in the months ahead as long as the nation’s economic recovery remains fragile and the unemployment numbers high. “The Bay Area certainly has a stronger economic base than most regions, but until the jobless numbers improve we’re likely to see more challenges to the housing market,” he said.

The August figures mark the first monthly East Bay Luxury Housing Market Report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading provider of real estate services in Bay Area. Turley said Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage decided to begin compiling the monthly report because the East Bay is an important market for the Bay Area’s largest brokerage and luxury properties are a big part of the market.

Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company sells more multi-million dollar properties in Northern California than any other company. Last year, Coldwell Banker sold more than 27% of properties over $3 million and more than 33% of homes priced above $5 million.

“This was a natural fit for us as a high-end, luxury brokerage, and it was something no one else was doing,” he said. “We see this as a useful tool for Alameda and Contra Costa County homeowners and buyers. This will serve as a key barometer of the local housing market in the future.”

Some key findings from this month’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage luxury report:

  • The most expensive sale in the East Bay in August was a six-bedroom, five-bath 8,525-square foot home in Piedmont that sold for $5.15 million;
  • Orinda and Fremont boasted the most million-dollar sales with 14 each, followed by Lafayette with 13, Piedmont, Alamo and Pleasanton with 11 apiece, and San Ramon with eight;
  • A total of 11 homes sold for more than $2 million last month, up from nine properties a year ago but down from 16 the previous month.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has 10 East Bay offices serving Berkeley, Castro Valley, Danville, Fremont, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, Orinda, Pleasanton, and Walnut Creek. For more information, please call 925-275-3085.