Market updates Tag

Sonoma County homes sales drop 21 percent in July – Pending Sales Up to Two Year High

This week, the Press Democrat newspaper confirmed the analysis of Sonoma County home sales reported here a couple of weeks ago, proof yet again that a local blogger can more nimbly provide the latest hard core real estate data. My reports are based upon the exact same data the Press Democrat is getting. ;) The headline featured July's drop in CLOSED home sales. If you read through the article, however, you will also learn that pending sales (newly ratified purchase contracts) are up to a two year high in July, indicating that sales activity is still strong, and has rebounded after the expiration of the $8,000 Federal Homebuyer's Tax Credit April 30, 2010. While not all the pending sales will come to a succesful conclusion, it is still a good leading indicator of market activity. Just a reminder that if you are looking for the latest Sonoma County home sales data, you can sign up for an email subscription to my blog, or check here the first week of every month to see the latest real estate sales trends analyzed here. For an archive of previous months' data, check out my Scribd Account. If you are wondering, Scribd is an online repository for sharing of documents with social media components. It is to documents what Flickr is to photos. ...

Sonoma County Home Sales Resume Pace 2 Months after Tax Credit Expiration

A look at the latest real estate sales trends for Sonoma County, based on sales figures through July 2010. The market is somewhat stabilized, with a greater diversity of properties for sale from "regular" folks, and less of a reliance on distressed properties. Newly pending sales through July matched the high rate of sales from April 2010, when the federal tax credit was about to expire....

Sonoma County Real Estate Sales Update

Year over year the median Sonoma County home price dropped 5% to $359,000. However, the apparent bottom for this market (whether a V, U or W is yet to be determined) was in February when the median price was #315,000. Some of my smart buyer clients (you know who you are) are happily ensconced in homes they bought in January and February, sensing the (a?) bottom had arrived....

Median Home Price Rises in Sonoma County

A few days ago I wrote in a post: The sheer activity level, the vast number of first time buyers and investor clients looking for rental property, and the declining number of new listings have all been detailed here over the previous months. In December, new sales exceeded new listings for the first time in many months, and, beginning in February it seems to us that the bottom was reached and had passed some entry level buyers by. A few minutes ago I received the following snapshot of the Sonoma County Real Estate Market closed sales figures from March 2008 through March 2009, thanks to my broker, Rick Laws of Coldwell Banker, who compiles our market statistics and shares them generously, with not only me and my colleagues, but the Press Democrat newspaper.Obviously one of the take aways from this graph, year over year, is the 27% drop in median price for the county. But the median price rose from its low in February about $10,000 with a high rate of closed sales and a good statistical base. Prices on the low end seem to have stabilized and maybe bounced upwards a few percent. This is as welcome as the signs of spring!...

Have we hit bottom in the Sonoma County real estate market cycle?

Actually the only way you know is when it has passed by. A few weeks ago an agent friend and I were visiting as I fed the horses one early spring evening. She was telling me of the difficulties she was having successfully securing a home for first time buyers. This a great agent with many years of experience who was working with entry level low income buyers in Sonoma County. They were looking for a home priced under $200,000 in the Santa Rosa city limits. They were pre-approved for FHA financing with the reputable lender who had referred them to my client. They are eligible for a $10,000 down payment assistance from the city of Santa Rosa which will subsidize their down payment. Their income and credit qualified them for an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan. Although they qualify for the federal government first time buyer $8,000 tax credit, that cash won't reach their pockets until after the sale has closed. This couple was competing in many multiple offer situations with all cash investor buyers or other first time buyers such as themselves. Many properties in their price range were in such poor condition that they would not meet the strict FHA property condition guidelines, and the repairs needed would have put them beyond the couple's limited budget. I don't know how many offers they wrote but they were not having luck. As my friend detailed the many days and hours she spent with this couple, she said it was seeming increasingly unlikely that they would make it into the market. I paused as I asked her, "Do you think we have hit the bottom here in Sonoma County?". She said yes--good properties are selling extremely fast and sometimes at over asking price. I had to agree. What had seemed a consistently active but still laid back market this winter was falling into high gear as the days got longer. As some of my buyer clients and I surmised in January and February, we felt that things would be much more competitive as spring arrived, and that seems to be true. In fact, the southern part of Sonoma County, in Petaluma was already scorching hot at Christmas and New Year's time. And that same scorch-ability (sp?) seemed to be tracking north along the 101 corridor. The...

2008 Sonoma County Real Estate: Three Quick Sales Trends

These three graphs tell the quick story of pricing, supply and demand trends for housing in Sonoma County from December 2007 through 2008.  But the real story for your home depends on the price range for your house and the part of the county in which you live, or seek to live.  You cannot automatically say that every home in the country dropped 30%.  The price dropped most steeply in those communities with high rates of distressed housing:  West Santa Rosa, East Petaluma, Windsor and Rohnert Park/Cotati. But, on average, and in summary: The median price dropped 30% year over year. The number of newly ratified sales contracts grew steadily all year and lead to a 184% increase year over year. Months supply of inventory dropped dramatically (73%) and steadily all year, exceeding the drop in prices.  From a very strong buyers market in December '07, with over 14 months supply of homes at last December's sales rate, this December saw only 3.7 months supply.  Six months is considered a balanced market.  Anything under is a seller's market--in this case the banks who own nearly half the properties sold. ...

November 2008 Sonoma County Real Estate Sales still cooking

Given the short month, the holiday season and oh yes, the economic meltdown in the news, real estate sales are holding steady as viewed at the end of November, 2008 in Sonoma County California. I will have more detailed information by price points later in the month but here is a quick tidbit of post-Thanksgiving real estate stats. The number of units sold will increase with the final report since there is a several day lag on sales closed at the end of each month while the reporting catches up. This information is provided by Rick Laws, my broker at Coldwell Banker Santa Rosa, and is based upon sales reported via the MLS here by Brokermetrics.                                      Nov 07         Nov 08          #Units Change          Percent Change Under Contract          206              455                   249                     120.9 % Sold                               242             320                   78                        32.2 % New Listings                474              370                 -104                    -21.9 % First thing that jumps out is that there were 120.9 % MORE brave souls who wrote offers on properties in this wild short month of November versus last year at this time.  The number of closed sales is up at least 32 % year to year as well.   The number of new listings has declined nearly 22 % versus last November, as many people hunker down.  This makes for some interesting trend lines year over year, as well as expected seasonal declines in units sold as we head into the winter months.   Anecdotally, the buyers are split about evenly between investors and first-time home buyers.  Units sold are dominated by the low-end of our market, under $400,000.  Since the one point drop in mortgage rates just before Thanksgiving really was not much of a factor in November's sales, it will be interesting to see how that boosts (or not) our  real estate sales for Sonoma County in December.   Stay tuned....

Months Supply of Sonoma County Entry Level Real Estate Declines Sharply

One of the most interesting measures of the tension between buyers and sellers in a real estate market is the "Months Supply of Inventory" figure. What this number tells us is the number of months it would take to sell the existing number of homes for sale at the present rate of closed sales. Buyers Market or Sellers Market? Generally six months of inventory is considered to be a market balanced between buyers and sellers. Anything less, and sellers are advantaged in negotiations. Anything more, and the trend favors buyers. Two years ago in Sonoma county, there were 6.2 months of entry level inventory for sale. When the first wave of foreclosed properties began hitting our market in force in 2007, the inventory piled up to a high point that so few properties were selling, as many more were coming on the market. Consequently, MSI (Months Supply of Inventory) ballooned to a 14.8 months supply, a strongly favored buyers market. Early in 2008, banks began slashing prices and buyers have been increasingly active ever since. (See my posts under market updates beginning in March to track this trend.) The lower priced properties, driven by foreclosures, have steadily been absorbed by first time buyers and investors. They have been gobbling up REO's so quickly that now there are only 2.7 months of inventory available at the current rate of new listings and sales, a strongly favored sellers market. If you are a buyer interested in purchasing an REO home, it is important for buyers to be prepared for the market realities especially for the most solid homes in the best locations. 1. You must have a STRONG pre-approval. In many cases first time buyers will be competing with all cash investors for the same properties. 2. You may need to make multiple offers on a stream of properties before you land the right one. 3. It ALL DEPENDS. Make sure you have a committed working relationship with a realtor who is knowledgeable about the changing market, and who knows how to present and negotiate your offer(s) in the best light. Just as sellers have learned (in some cases!) to be realistic, it is important for buyers to do the same. Happy hunting! ...

Sonoma County Market Dynamics for May 2008: Demand up, Supply of New listings down 14%

Ok so I admit that there is more to being successful in buying and selling real estate (as a realtor or an actual buyer or seller) than knowing market statistics. But the dynamics of this real estate market are changing so rapidly, and the various locations and price points add multiple additional layers of complexity, so that it bears spending some time looking at the numbers. Most of us also like to see if the trends on aggregate bear out our senses as we live and breathe in this market every day. So any of my clients or friends who ask me "How's the market?" knows that I can wax poetic on the subject. Tongue slightly in cheek. ;) Anyway, my broker Rick Laws, just released May's sales statistic for Sonoma County to us this morning and the sales up-tick we noted previously appears to be continuing or even accelerating. Add that to the big news that the number of new listings is actually down 14%. This is for all residential sales in Sonoma County at all price points. I have asked Rick for some additional breakdowns. This is a rough pass of the data because as Rick says, some of the sales reporting for last month can be a little late and dribble in over the first 10 days of the month, which is when he normally compiles the stats that you see in the Press Democrat. Closed sales are up slightly over last year at this time. But even more interestingly, newly opened escrows (sales under contract but due to close in 1 to 2 months) are up 68 percent this year over last. Even if some fall out of escrow, that is a significant boost to a trend we first noted here in early March. Even more interestingly, new listings are down 14% over last year. So where do you think the market is heading?Please click on the image above for a larger view.     ...

Entry Level Sonoma County Real Estate Market Hopping!

Please click on the image above to see one that is actually readable! The trend we first noted in February is continuing in Sonoma County Real Estate Sales, led by our entry level market of homes under $500,000. Not only is the number of new CLOSED sales up to the highest point in over two years, the number of newly opened escrows (UNDER CONTRACT above) is increasing even more rapidly, on pace to close next month. Many of these homes are bank-owned (REO's) or short sales and the buyers consist of investors and first time buyers or folks who are down-sizing. The number of newly opened escrows in this category is up 274% over last year at this time. While buyers think they can offer considerably lower than asking, that is not necessarily true. I just opened escrow for a client in this price range and we were able to get a great property that had been on the market for some time (not a foreclosure) and ridden the price trend down. The perils of overpricing in this case benefited my buyer who is in contract to purchase this home for 33% less than the original asking price, and 15% under the most recent price. But the REO's are now priced to sell for the most part and attracting multiple offers. One of the best deals I saw in Montgomery Village last week at under $320,000 had four offers within a few days of coming on the market and still the bank had not selected which cherry offer to pick. But even if this property sells for slightly over asking, it is a great solid home (in need of much TLC) on a prime street and lot with surrounding homes that will love to see this one fixed up! Perhaps the big thud we heard in Sonoma County last winter was the sound of the market hitting bottom. We shall see. More stats and opinions to come on other segments of the Sonoma County Real Estate market this week....

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