According to a report from the California Association of Realtors, September was a bad month for home sales in the golden state as the market posted its largest annual sales decline since March of 2014. Home sales fell below the 400,000-level benchmark for the second consecutive month and experts believe potential buyers are putting their homeownership plans on hold. The group points to high home prices, rising interest rates, and the new tax reform law as the main culprits in the slowdown.

Sales in the San Francisco Bay Area declined 16.4 percent from September 2017, the largest decline since October 2010. Santa Clara County posted the largest drop at 22.6 percent. Home sales there were down 22.2 percent from August.

Other counties experiencing year-over-year double-digit sales declines were Sonoma (-19.4 percent), Solano (-19.3 percent), Contra Costa (-17.3 percent), San Mateo (-14.6 percent), Napa (-14.2 percent), San Francisco (-11.5 percent), and Alameda (-10.4 percent). Marin County experienced the lowest decline at 1.1 percent.

“We’ve always said real estate is a cycle and while we’re not concerned about a downturn, this shift in the market indicates buyers may have more negotiating power now than a year ago,” said Bill Moody, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors.

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