A New Hope

The original 1977 Star Wars mega hit was retroactively retitled A New Hope. Whereby a faction of righteous do-gooders attempts to take down the hated dark side. Similarly, we find ourselves in politically tumultuous times while also having to deal with the evil Coronavirus. With a surge of infections upon us, we still have great hope for the broad distribution of vaccines across our world though what we have learned this last year is that people are working to take control of their own personal environments and health by owning more real estate for their private enjoyment.
 
The Santa Rosa metro region is working to accommodate this new world order and according to BAREIS MLS, with 2020 in the rearview mirror, December’s data points to a marketplace absorbing homes at higher than typical seasonal level with only 220 single-family homes remaining for sale in the city and its environs – nine percent less than this same time a year ago – coupled with exacerbated buyer activity as 151 single-family homes were absorbed into pending contracts during the past month – 34 percent ahead of last year.
 
The entire municipality introduced just 78 new listings to the market over the last month – 28 percent fewer than a year ago - while the most recent period also found Sellers handing over keys on 159 completed sales. This compression of metrics is affirmed by Santa Rosa recording its’ Months’ Supply of Inventory (MSI) falling to 1.4 – attributed in good part due to the fundamental shift in population migration from the greater Bay Area along with the cost of money in our current economy.
 
MSI is the metric that indicates the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory at the current rate of sales. An MSI ranging from 4.0 to 6.0 is generally indicative of a balanced market, with lower numbers increasingly favoring sellers and vice versa.
 
Getting down to the underlying specifics, Northeast Santa Rosa saw the introduction of 30 single-family homes in December – on par with this same period a year ago, though a significant number of these were homes being offered for sale that are in the waning months of construction completion making them hard to transact on due to their unfinished status. The supply of homes was met with steady demand in December as there were only 108 dwellings for home seekers to consider by months end. Buyers embarked on 71 newly initiated escrows – 58 percent more than last year - while sellers received closing checks on another 66 properties delivering a sharply tighter MSI at 1.6.
 
Southeast Santa Rosa saw the supply of available properties drop significantly to 31 by year end – 18 percent less than a year earlier. This submarket debuted just 11 new homes in December while buyers garnered accepted offers on 22 additional dwellings. This coveted corner of the city experienced 28 formal transfers – maintaining pressure on an already tight market with MSI dipping further to 1.1.
 
Oakmont was one of the primary victims of a wildfire season that truncated both selling and buying activities during the last quarter of the year. The 55+ retirement community witnessed just eight sellers debuting new offerings in the final month of 2020 while buyers still found their way to acceptances on an additional 10 new purchases. Sellers concluded 11 transactions in December leaving this niche market with an MSI of 3.4.
 
Nearly twice as hot as just the year prior, Northwest Santa Rosa saw buyers swoop in to gain control of 36 more deals this month leaving just 26 available single-family homes to carry over into January – 38 percent fewer than last year. Sellers committed 23 new offerings to the markets while another 43 homes completed the closing process. This intense activity has dropped the MSI near its all-time tightest with a reading of 0.6.
 
With buyers completing 11 more deals during the final month of 2020 and a lack of more willing sellers, Southwest Santa Rosa found that it had just 18 homes available by year end. Sellers lobbed a mere six new listings into the public domain in December while buyers pledged their paychecks towards 12 accepted contracts during the period – causing this submarkets MSI to remain steady at 1.6.
 
Hope remains on our horizon. The hope for more sellers, continued low interest rates, a higher rate of employment and, as always, world peace.

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