Sonoma County Real Estate Market Pulse October 2008
The market for single-family homes under $400,000 is so strong in Sonoma County that it makes the overall sales rate in the county qualify as a sellers market, with only 4.5 months supply of inventory based at the current sales rate. Â Last September there were 14 months of inventory available county wide.
The fact is that the banks who have foreclosed here are the dominant seller in the county with over 40% of the sales.Â Since last fall they figured out they needed to slash prices in order to get them moving, and the strategy has been successful.Â One lender, Otto Kobler of Maximum Mortgage in Santa Rosa has told me that we are halfway through digesting the major wave of adjusting loans from 2005 which began hitting the market as REO’s last September.
Since March, open escrows month by month have exceeded the sales volumes of the last two years and they continue to climb.Â Real estate investors and first time buyers are snatching up homes at prices not seen since 2002 in some cases.Â Â Condominiums are selling fast with median prices under $200,000.Â The number of newly ratified contracts (open escrows) is increasing rapidly as the number of new listings county wide slows.
These overall market trends are very misleading however as sales volumes and inventories at higher price points are in very different territory.Â The action is at the low end and sellers of more expensive properties are seeing definite declines in volume.Â The market needs to digest the inventory at the lower end to acheive some stability.Â There are some amazing bargains out there for first time buyers and investors.