How's the Market for Country Property in Sonoma County?
When Sonoma County real estate prices were booming in 2004 and 2005, those of us who sell country property noted that appreciation was lower for country properties than it was for “standard” homes on suburban lots. Now we know why–it was the rapid expansion of mortgage lending to first time buyers and investors which really spurred the market for entry level homes. It did ultimately push up the prices for country homes in the county.
I thought I would pull the most recent sales data from our MLS (multiple listing service) to see what price trends have been like for country property over the last two years. For the purposes of this post, I pulled homes listed as single family residences or farms and ranches on lots of 2 acres or more.
You can get a property that might feel like country with a smaller lot size, but 2 acres seems like a practical dividing line in terms of what most people want. The County of Sonoma uses 2 acres for a dividing line for some of the zoning designations in terms of housing density, allowing second units on some lots of 2 acres or more. (note: don’t assume because you are interested in a property on 2 acres that you can build a second unit on it–it is way more complicated than that, contact me for specifics).
A 2 year low 12 units of country property sold in March of 2009 and 2009. The highest month’s sales total was 33 last October (very interesting due to the financial markets last fall.) The rate of sales seems to be picking up in the second half of this year. It generally bounces around in the teens and twenties, spiking towards 30 occasionally. Not the largest sample size which is why I am including all county sales in these figures as opposed to breaking out Healdsburg or Sebastopol for example.
Median price of country property in Sonoma County is down 14% since November 2007 when it was $1,200,000 versus $1,037,500 now. The lowest median price was in February (surprise!) at $620,000, just showing only the least expensive properties were selling last winter, not that individual property values fluctuated so much.
Months Supply of Inventory is at a two year low of 6 months at the end of November versus 19 months two years ago–with a high of 35 months supply in June 2008!
Here is the graph of median price as well as the underlying data. You can click on either of the images to enlarge them.