Why it may be a good time to sell your mid-priced home in Sonoma County
I figure when my clients or blog visitors are asking me questions that there may be a few of you out there with the same sort of questions. Recently I was asked by a homeowner if this might be a time to consider selling their current home in a very nice Santa Rosa neighborhood. They were hesitant because in the fall of 2008 they put their home on the market briefly hoping to buy a country home with some more land for their hobbies and a little closer for their commutes.
We all remember last fall at this time. Many people put any plans to buy and sell on hold as Lehman Brothers collapsed and we seemed (as another client put it) to be headed for financial Armageddon. (!!!)
Since that time many markets, including Sonoma County’s, have been dominated by the sales of distressed properties. In our case that means properties priced under $350,000 to $400,000 dollars.
Foreclosures and short sales dominated the inventory and this year buyers have flocked to them in high numbers. As a result, prices have come up 3 to 7% in the lower price ranges since an apparent bottom in January or February of 2009.
Last winter, savvy buyers (you know who you are!), perceived a chance to drive some bargains in the winter months. They were willing to get ahead of the home buying curve before the mainstream media caught on to what was happening. Instead of competing with 10 or 20 other buyers for the same properties that ultimately sold over asking, they were able to buy homes with less competition and at lower prices.
I think something similar may be happening now for properties priced under $550,000 or so on the seller side. If you have been thinking of selling your home and “moving up” to a country property for example, there may be a nice window of opportunity for you to make the move, particularly since the revised and expanded buyer tax credit now may apply to you or the buyers of your home and put another $6,500 in your pocket. Check the links for details on these credits as they don’t apply to everyone and all situations. I suspect the media will be talking about this topic- a window of opportunity for mid-priced home sellers–over the coming months. Often the best opportunities lie in acting in advance of the mainstream acceptance of a trend. Usually the trend is months ahead of the media talk.
Certainly there is expected to be a new wave in the spring of foreclosure properties but right now there is very little inventory of homes for sale in Sonoma County between $450,000 and $550,000. And there are great bargains to be had in country property or slightly more expensive homes. In every market, there are opportunities, you just need to be aware of the current trends and be opportunistic! Granted you are not going to sell your home for what it would have fetched 2 or 3 years ago, but neither will you pay what you would have on the other end.
Here is a picture of supply and demand for single family homes between $450,000 and $550,000 in Sonoma County over the last two years. You can see that while unit sales are down 10% from 2007 at this time, the supply of inventory is down a whopping 70%!