Author: Pam Buda

Are we in a housing bubble in Sonoma County?

  Sonoma County’s vibrant housing market became even hotter through the first three months of 2021 as a rush of Bay Area residents continued to flee dense urban areas for the Wine Country, sending the county’s median home price to an all-time high at the end of Q1! Watch the video above for a quick recap on what's happening in our local real estate market. Untethered from the office, many house hunters sought bigger living spaces and a more relaxed lifestyle. North Bay home prices that are viewed as a bargain compared to many other parts of the Bay Area were also a draw. And historic low interest rates spurred homebuyers to take advantage of attractive mortgage terms. The median price for a home in Sonoma County has increased 13% since March 2020, when the lockdown began. Over the first three months of 2021, the median price was $745,000, a 15% bump from the same period in 2020. During first quarter of 2021, 1,049 home sales were finalized, a nearly 30% spike compared to the previous year. These figures represent a remarkable turnaround for a local housing market that basically shut down for a couple of months last spring. *Note: These stats reflect single family homes in Sonoma County and do not include condominiums.   Are we in a housing bubble? Today, most home loans are 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with historic low interest rates. Thanks to lending reform, people don't get approved for a loan they can't pay like they did in the 2000s when the market crashed. This means that even though houses are selling for top dollar, the buyers that purchase them can afford it. The amount of cash (often from stock rich tech workers) we have in the market continues to impact multiple offer scenarios—and while we can't predict what will happen in the coming months, all we can say is that this market looks nothing like it did back when the bubble burst in 2008. There is a national shortage of housing stock that is a trailing effect of the great recession. So, we think it's safe to say that we are NOT in a housing bubble. What To Expect As We Look Ahead to Summer 2021...

HOT Sonoma County Housing Market 🔥

Sonoma County’s vibrant housing market turned red-hot through the first three months of 2021 as a rush of Bay Area residents continued to flee dense urban areas for Wine Country during the pandemic, sending the county’s median home price to an all-time high in March. The median price for a home in Sonoma County has increased 13% since March 2020, when the pandemic had begun and started to affect the county housing market. Over the first three months of 2021, the median price was $745,000, a 15% bump from the same period in 2020. In March, 421 area homes were sold, an increase of 39% from the same month last year. During first quarter of 2021, 1,049 home sales were finalized, a nearly 30% spike compared to the previous year. Click here to see the Press Democrat's article on April 14th about the market turning "red-hot": Sonoma County's Hot Market Hits Price Record in March....

Sonoma Wine Month 🍇

Happy Wine Month! As vineyards bud and come to life, April is the perfect time to showcase the world’s most sustainable and diverse wine region. All month long, wineries will be offering special in-person and virtual experiences as well as shipping promotions. Learn more here. Making headlines, Sonoma was recently named among the top 10 towns in the Golden State by Travel + Leisure magazine, adding to its recognition as a world-class destination. And on a lighter note, now that Sonoma County has moved into the less restrictive Orange Tier, we are seeing more local businesses open their doors and expand their offerings for the spring/summer season. Below we've shared a list of local happenings and things to do to celebrate the season.   Given the beautiful, expansive, and outdoor setting, wine tasting has become arguably a more popular and important pastime than ever during the pandemic. The SF Chronicle’s top wine critic just dropped this timely and useful list of the best 25 local wineries to visit. With many wineries releasing new vintages in spring, it's a great time to visit one of these local spots. Click here to visit: The Bay's Top Vino-Sipping Destinations   Sunny weather and ample outdoor space make Sonoma County an ideal destination for those seeking to ditch the fog (and their light sweaters) for wine, snacks, and vineyard views. Here are some of the most interesting restaurant openings in Napa and Sonoma over the last six months, as well as a few to watch out for in the coming year. Click here to visit: Notable Newcomers - The Wine Country's Food Scene...

Just Listed! Healdsburg Hideaway / $1,350,000

With the Healdsburg Plaza only 2 1/2 blocks away, 114 Fitch Street is an imaginatively re-conceived and polished gem, tucked away on Alley 1. Designer touches and high end finishes inspire. The setting lends the air of calm you seek when you visit (or stay) in Wine Country. Why not uncomplicate your life?   Your largest decision – do we dine indoors or out, or in town? Do we entertain by the fireplace in the family room or the outdoor living room and firepit? Architecturally designed and largely rebuilt and expanded in approximately 2014, the home has an open floor plan that seamlessly integrates with the outdoor spaces. An open concept chef's kitchen with stainless appliances and sleek surfaces has ample storage and an island that surveys the living spaces. A primary suite and bath allow you to pamper yourself indoors or in the hot tub outside your window. Intimate and interesting plantings, citrus trees, a retractable awning, well thought out decking and patios expand your living and your life for the best Healdsburg has to offer. Property Website ...

The Magic of Mustard in the Vineyards

The Magic of Mustard in the Vineyards: Every year, towards the end of winter, many Sonoma County vineyards come alive with a brilliant carpet of mustard beneath the bare grapevine trunks. The first time someone sees the landscape, it's mesmerizing. Mustard is more than just a feast for the eyes, it's a feast for the vines. It thrives just until bud break, when it is turned under to mulch and provides valuable nutrients to the emerging grape plants. To view the mustard, simply pick an area that's deeply populated with wineries and vineyards, and look out your car window. [embed]https://youtu.be/5r5Foh6uga4[/embed]...

Sonoma County Housing Market Breaks Records in 2020!

After the coronavirus pandemic sent Sonoma County homebuying into a tailspin last spring, the local housing market rebounded to have a banner year, posting a record annual median home price and the most houses and condos sold in seven years! As we embark on a new year (we can’t believe it’s already February), let’s take a look at some of the important real estate highlights from 2020 and what experts are forecasting for the spring season. [caption id="attachment_21108" align="aligncenter" width="408"] *Note: The median price for single family homes in Sonoma County is $700,000, slightly higher than $675,000 mentioned in this report which includes condominiums.[/caption]   What This Means For Buyers & Sellers: Low inventory, high buyer demand and increasing home prices have resulted in a seller’s market as we enter 2021. Historic low interest rates are drawing more buyers, especially millennials, into the marketplace. Buyers are flocking to Sonoma County from the Bay Area due to changing household needs and work-from-home flexibility. Despite home prices increasing, Sonoma County is still considered an affordable option compared to the Bay Area with a median single family home price of $700,000 vs $1.06 million.     What To Expect As We Look Ahead to Spring 2021...

Pardon Our Dust! Meanwhile Sonoma County Country Property Values up 37% since 2015

This website came into existence in summer of 2007 and we saw the end of a market runup and a catastrophic nationwide recession beginning in late 2007.The Sonoma County real estate market hit a low in February 2009 and bounced along the bottom for a few years. Since 2012 we have seen steady appreciation in prices and sometime in the last year the median value of Sonoma County homes exceeded the previous high. Currently the median price is just under $700,000. Country properties never saw the frothy runup that single family homes did in the previous decade but they have been making up for lost time every since. Over the last three years homes sitting on over an acre have increased in value by 37%. The home you used to be able to buy for $935,000 now will cost you a bit under $1,300,000. Why? At only an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, our beautiful country properties represent a tremendous value compared to the skyrocketing costs of an SF Bay Area home. And the stress and congestion of Bay Area freeways and urban living make our homes on acreage very appealing. As one of my clients recently told me when we celebrated her two year anniversary of buying her Healdsburg home, "This property helps me maintain my sanity and I am enjoying the peace i find up here even more than I hoped I would!" NOTE: We are in the process of designing a completely new website so pardon our dust while we work on that in the background! [caption id="attachment_2303" align="alignleft" width="300"] Here is a look at the median price of listed and sold properties over 1 acre in Sonoma County since 2015[/caption]...

West Sonoma County is Home to Outstanding Plant Nurseries

[caption id="attachment_1859" align="alignleft" width="300"] Go Ahead Stop and Smell Them![/caption] Last night I had an impromptu dinner with clients (now friends!) at the lovely estate property we found for them a couple ofyears ago near the Laguna de Santa Rosa, in the heart of the Russian River Appellation. I remarked how fabulous the landscaping looked, particularly the new raised beds they added. The perennial garden. lavendars and olive trees were looking really lush and healthy. And of course the four acres of vines are happily heading towards the harvest a few months from now. With ten acres total and a green thumb or two, one is always open to collecting new plant treasures. But where to find them? My client bemoaned the plant choices she saw at the big box and hardware stores. You mean you don't know about Emerisa Gardens Retail Nursery I cried? I have made several good friends by frequenting them, and learned enough about a lot of plants to be dangerous! Every once in a while I go by for a good plant fix! Emerisa's retail nursery in NW Santa Rosa is only open from March through October, but it is a great place to learn about and see interesting perennials, grasses and interesting plants for both sun and shade. Their demonstration garden shows you what the plants look like when full grown and the STAFF are incredibly knowledgeable and very helpful. Chances are, if you hire a landscaper, they buy a good portion of their plants on the wholesale side. They have whimsical pots and garden "objet" plus very good gardening gloves too! And what about Harmony Farm Supply nursery? Besides a really nice and thorough nursery near Graton in West Sonoma County, including a great selection of bare root trees and berries in winter, Harmony is where you might find me picking up the spare irrigation parts that always seem to be needed, even though my collection in the garden shed is growing! Also very helpful staff and a good selection of veggie starts and various soil amendments and garden tools. Plus they install solar systems! I have learned more than i ever thought I would about drip irrigation in the aisles of Harmony Farm Supply. And little Fulton, California is home to two of the best nurseries you will ever find. Cal Flora and Urban Tree...

Attention Home Sellers: It is Still a Seller's Market in Sonoma County

In the last two years the median home price in Sonoma County has increased a combined 36-38%. Each individual home has not appreciated at the same rate but home are selling more quickly and for more money than they did two years ago. Inventory continues to be low. At the current rate of sales through December, 2014, all the existing homes on the market would be gone in less than TWO MONTHS. Historically the market would be considered balanced if there were 4 to 6 months of inventory. A market favoring buyers would have more than six months of inventory--we have not seen that condition since 2009 to 2011. Here is a look at the Month's Supply of Inventory for the last year. This graph looks at the inventory supply for "Pended" homes--that is, newly opened escrows. That is a more current view of activity than "Closed" sales which looks at sales that were new escrows a month or so ago. If I look at Months Supply of Inventory for Closed Sales then supply would be 1.2 months. So if you are a buyer the more current view might be slightly more encouraging. What does this mean for me if I am a seller? It is safe to say that now may be a very good time for you to put your home on the market at a strategic, enticing price and have it showing in top condition. You may attract multiple offers, sell quickly and for more than your asking price. Great news for sellers, right? What does it mean if you are a buyer? Should you fold your tent and go hide somewhere? NO! My buyers who won out in multiple offer situations last year set a limit as to how high to go over asking and stuck to it. This year those houses are worth on average 12 percent more. Prices are rising. List prices are not an indication of value but if chosen wisely will get the seller maximum exposure and the best true indication of market value--that is determined by the actual number a willing buyer and a willing seller will meet on. More buyer advice in my next post...

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