Premier Building Show reflects decline in sales

Numbers are down this year at PCBC The Premier Building Show, a major homebuilders conference at Moscone Center that opened Wednesday, a reflection of declining new-home construction after previously hot sales.

PCBC, a gathering of developers, contractors and makers of building materials and appliances, runs through Friday and should see some 28,000 attendees this year, down from more than 31,000 the year before, said John Frith, the show’s VP of public affairs.

“Obviously, the slowing market has had an impact on us as it has had on the rest of the industry,” Frith said.

In San Francisco and San Mateo counties, according to data from Patrick Duffy of Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, the state of new-home building has been marked by sharply decreased condominiums sales in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same quarter of 2006. San Mateo County had a 52 percent decline in condo sales between those two quarters, though the median price of condos actually rose, with most of the sales in three projects in San Mateo, Millbrae and South City.

In San Mateo County, 12 single-family homes sold in Q1 of 2007, while none sold in the same quarter of 2006. The new home sales were made in Menlo Park, Brisbane and East Palo Alto.

San Francisco saw no new detached homes sold in either quarter, since they’re a rarity for the market, and a 72 percent decline in condos sold when comparing the first quarters of 2006 and 2007. There was also a slight decline in the price of condos sold.

“On the Peninsula and a little bit south … it’s slowed but the appreciation is still there,” said Larissa Abeling, a VP at new-home builder O’Brien Homes of Foster City, adding that the market is much worse elsewhere.

Economist James Smith, senior fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the nation is in the midst of a mild recession and can expect to see continued slumps in home sales until a recovery this fall. More pessimistic economists predict recovery by March 2009.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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