real-estate-buyers Tag

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! ...

Sebastopol and Sonoma County Real Estate Market Update

Since I have been looking at the foreclosure market in Sonoma County, I decided to switch gears back to country property and take a look again at the health of that market. Tomorrow, May 18th, I am holding open a 2.6 acre country property with a spectacular view setting, usable for horses, gardening, grapes or getting away from it all. So I decided to look at the Sebastopol market trends for properties in a similar price range, $600,000 to $1.1 million dollars to see how prices and inventory are doing now, and over the last year. Some of my previous posts have covered this topic in the past. Here is a chart of Market Trends for the $600K to $1M price range for real estate in Sebastopol for the last year. The median price through April has risen from $735 to $765. With such a small sample size this number can fluctuate widely but the really startling number is the amount of listing inventory, which has declined from 93 last May to 63 now. Have the sellers been scared away? The number of accepted listings versus sales inventory is also a good indicator that this upward trend could continue. Perhaps it is because the foreclosure and short sales are in short supply in Sebastopol. That is why all real estate is local, and buyers and sellers alike can benefit by looking at market trends for their particular area. I heard a good reference the other day which stated that looking at national or statewide real estate trends to figure out what is going on in your market is like trying to predict your local weather by referencing a national average temperature of 57 degrees. Kind of hard to do. If you have questions on this data or would like to slice it a different way, please email or call me, or visit tomorrow at 2210 Pleasant Hill Road. ...

Sonoma County going to the Dogs?

I was surprised to note how many of the people who visited my open house last month at a cute farmstead in Sebastopol were looking for property for their dogs! This property was in a great location at the end of a private lane well away from main roads and neighbors who might be disturbed by the occasional bark. Well I shouldn't be surprised since one of the main reasons I moved to Sonoma County was to have more room for my two dogs (Vizslas) and the horses as well as the humans of course, yet still be within an hour of the Golden Gate Bridge. Finding a safe property off the main thoroughfares was a key priority to me, and is to many of the buyers of Sonoma County real estate I meet. Friend Sandy Lurins, was so on top of the trend that she founded the very successful Fetch (thepaper) in her copious free time (not!) while not working at her day job at Autodesk. Sonoma Pets is a print publication and on-line pet directory for Sonoma County published by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. There are many excellent small animal and equine veterinarians in the county, so much that many pet owners from the Bay Area will travel here for specialty care. ...

Finding great real estate deals requires a laser beam approach

I enjoy looking at market statistics for the Sonoma County real estate market. As a realtor and full time professional in the market, I look to statistics to confirm or enlighten me vis a vis my own perceptions. I also know the damage that can result from a broad brush focus on statistics. Witness the overall drop in Santa Rosa real estate values year over year of over 15%. (according to Zillow) Not only Zillow but lenders use this sort of data to tar any Santa Rosa home, when the truth is the hardest hit have been the large tracts of entry level inventory that Sonoma County communities such as Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park/Cotati and Windsor have. These communities have the highest preponderance of entry level single-family tract homes which were hardest hit by the sub-prime crisis. All of these communities have some wonderful country properties, vineyard properties and horse farms which will be negatively impacted from a lender's eye in terms of valuation, relative to equivalent properties in Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Sonoma. They could be equally or more scenic, have oodles of wine country juice but are harder hit from a statistical eye. That is why the laser beam approach is best when you are actively in the market for real estate, or are planning to sell a property for that matter. As my colleague in coastal San Mateo county, Marian Bennett said recently, "Coastside real estate is very “location specific”. Trends can be information but they are not the whole picture if you are ACTIVELY in the market. In our office alone, 2 homes sold within hours of being listed last week. Part of that may be heading into the spring buying time and/or the seller had the golden triangle (my phrase) of Location, Price, and Presentation. "...

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