Add tech company layoffs to the list of headwinds facing the Bay Area housing market.

Rising mortgage rates, recession fears and a volatile stock market have all dampened home sales and prices in recent months from pandemic records.

Now, on the cusp of the traditionally slow winter real estate season, growing uncertainty in the region’s leading sector is giving potential buyers another reason to pause.

“We have clients who are planning to buy on and off,” said Silicon Valley real estate agent Mary Pope-Handy. “One of them works at … Facebook, and they said. “I haven’t been fired, but now doesn’t seem like a good time to make a big purchase.”

Already, there are signs that an unstable tech industry could drive down home prices. In October, the median cost of existing single-family homes in the Bay Area was down 2% from the same period in 2021, to a still pricey $1.2 million, according to data released this week by the California Association of Realtors.

This decline was even more pronounced in tech-rich San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Prices in San Francisco fell 7% to $1.7 million, while home prices in San Mateo fell 10% to $1.9 million.

In the region’s other Silicon Valley county, Santa Clara, prices were flat year-over-year at $1.6 million, but were down 4.4% from the prior month. .

Oscar Wei, deputy chief economist for the Association of Realtors, said the impact of tech layoffs in the Bay Area is expected to be strongest over the coming winter months, when buying a house generally slows down.

“When you look at sales activity before the end of the year, it’s probably going to be a little slower than what we previously thought,” Wei said.

But he expects high mortgage rates to continue to be the biggest factor impacting home prices — which, despite recent declines, are still on the rise in the Bay Area until 30% compared to the day before the pandemic.

Last month, mortgage rates soared above 7% for the first time in more than 20 years, more than double the all-time low average rate of 3% in 2021.

The rise in rates is due to the increase in the cost of borrowing by the Federal Reserve to slow inflation. For many buyers, this means that even though house prices have fallen, the true cost of ownership for most buyers has become much more expensive.

There’s been some relief this week: the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to 6.6% – the biggest drop since 1981 – as inflation begins to ease .

Even so, the typical monthly payment for a $1 million home in the Bay Area is currently $6,422, according to a calculator. This time last year, when rates were just above 3%, the monthly payment for a house at this price would have been $4,708.

(Monthly payment estimates include property taxes and insurance and assume a 20% down payment.)

Today, the turmoil in the tech industry adds a new challenge. Even before Facebook, Twitter and Amazon announced massive layoffs recently, tech companies had cut thousands of local jobs as incomes dwindled and a recession seemed more likely.

While many of these highly skilled workers may find jobs in other industries, these measures “could send a signal to everyone” that the economy and the housing market “are vulnerable as this will lead to a broader slowdown. said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy.

Levy noted that a widespread hiring freeze in the tech sector could also reduce housing costs.

“To the extent new tech hires were a source of demand to drive up prices, that should go away for a while,” he said.

Pope-Handy said potential home buyers in the tech sector are also feeling the ups and downs of the stock market. As a result, many have been reluctant to cash in their large investment portfolios to buy a home.

But Pope-Handy said another tech trend could actually boost demand for homes: Tech companies, including Elon Musk’s newly acquired Twitter, are beginning to limit employees’ options for remote work, forcing them to return in the Bay Area for their work.

“Anytime we see the market go down a bit,” she said, “it doesn’t stay down forever.”