Sonoma County Home Sales Drop but Pending Sales Increase Sharply

Sonoma County Home Sales Drop but Pending Sales Increase Sharply

Last week’s Press Democrat featured an article about the latest monthly home sales figures compiled by Rick Laws. Quick headline: HOME SALES DROP for the third month in a row!
The underlying story is a bit different. Inventory has declined significantly over the last two years. Newly pending sales (homes under contract but not yet sold) rose sharply to 496, one of the highest monthly rates in the last 13 months, even though January is typically slow. That is up 117% over January pending sales two years ago and up 17% over last year.

In early 2010, buyers remained active over the holidays. Pouring rain and football playoffs did not deter them in January, at most price ranges. Unlike last January, when activity was concentrated at the lowest price ranges (under $350K), this year the market is active up to about $800,000. There is also high buyer activity at price ranges from about $1,800,000 to $2,500,000. 37% of buyers in this price range paid cash in Q4 2009, making financing less of an issue for them, and buyers under $800,000 are finding conventional loans easier to obtain, putting the squeeze on sales in between those two price points.
I have compiled a report from the same data used to generate the Press Democrat’s stories and am posting it here. I pulled the data going back two years rather than just one so that the numbers can be viewed in the context of seasonal trends.
Most striking is the extreme increase in unit sales versus two years ago, the extreme decrease in inventory (from 3365 homes for sale to 2070)–thanks to the high rate of sales, and the increase in median price (year over year with last February representing a bottom in prices.) Please call or email me if you have any questions, or if you would like me to analyze a particular home or area. If you are considering selling your home but have been reluctant to do so “because of the market”, please get in touch. This may be a great time to sell!
Sonoma County Home Sale Trends January 2010

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