East Bay luxury home sales continued their 2011 rally in May, rising 20 percent from the previous month, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

A total of 126 homes sold for more than $1 million in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties last month, up from the 105 sales in April. The number of multi-million sales also rose to nine from six the previous month.

Although sales continued to improve in the first half of the year, May’s total was off slightly from last May’s level of 130 transactions. The median sale price was down fractionally from a year ago, when it stood at $1,262,500.

Other market indicators were flat. It took 49 days on average to sell a luxury home last month compared to 48 days the previous month. And sellers received 97.2 percent of their asking price on average compared to 98 percent in April.

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 luxury market in the East Bay continues to show signs of improvement,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “But there likely will still be some choppiness from month to month as the market works to gain traction. That’s not surprising given the gradual pace of the overall economic recovery.”

Turley said comparisons with a year ago are difficult because the market last May was still benefitting from the federal tax credit, which has since expired. Although the credit wasn’t aimed at the upper priced homes, the tax break indirectly helped fuel sales for move-up buyers who sold their entry-level and mid-priced homes.

Some key findings from this month’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage East Bay luxury housing market report:

  • The most expensive sale in the East Bay last month was a five-bedroom, five-bath 5,502-square foot home in Danville that sold for $2.9 million;
  • Oakland boasted the most million-dollar sales with 19, followed by Pleasanton, Lafayette and Danville with 13 apiece, and Alamo with 10;
  • There were nine multi-million-dollar sales last month, up from six the previous month and 16 a year ago.

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.

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.