We were feeling pretty good about the state of the California housing market after reading the PDF of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's most recent report. Housing prices up 18.8% in the Pacific region! California's housing appreciation up 21.07% over the year-ago period and 4.65% over the previous financial quarter! The Oakland area ranked as number 44 out of 275 urban markets in terms of price appreciation -- East Bay represent! (Silicon Valley was number 47, while San Francisco clocked in at 70.) The dread spector of a depression-style economy prompted by overleveraged condo owners busting out -- averted by continued price climbs!

Then we read this article which reported that many houses in California are selling for less than they would have; it says buyers and sellers are engaged in a game of chicken, waiting to see who blinks first. In lieu of actual numbers -- much of the article seemed focused on New York and New England, which are in regions that the OFHEO had documented as not growing so quickly as the West -- was one Bay Area-based person planning to wait out the condo market. SFist wondered if a sole anecdote actually constitutes a trend. So we checked the numbers and sure enough, pending sales are down for the fifth month in a row, meaning that sales of existing homes are slowing down. SFist wonders if this is linked to the news that more people now leave California than emigrate here, thereby reducing the pool of potential homebuyers. After all, here in the Bay Area, we had 0-1% population growth last year.

We look forward to seeing reporting exploring how a housing slowdown really does affect the Bay Area as a whole.

By SFist Lisa, contributing