The pandemic is not over – nor expected to be soon. Our markets were already feeling a push in demand when the year opened, though now we are actually seeing this fundamental shift show up in data points that echo similarly throughout our nation as people that can, look to exit major metropolitan centers in favor of nearby desirable suburban markets.
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 948 single-family homes left for sale as we closed the books on May. These pandemic data points, due to stay-at-home orders, will not likely find their innate activity levels again until at least this autumn as we anticipate clunky fits and starts over the next 90 days or so. That said, sellers still delivered 401 new listings to the market during the month – off 35 percent from a year earlier - while Sonoma County buyers gained control of another 463 new deals during the period – four percent greater than the prior May. Sellers managed to complete 190 sales in the period – and those results are from a market that was seemingly closed when most of these transactions were initiated – giving overwhelming support to the early metrics that were breaking records as we opened the year initially.
The continued pace of the markets can be measured by the months’ supply of inventory (MSI) and, with steady demands from buyers in our region, even more attractive mortgage terms and sellers being more in line with market sentiments the data shows MSI registered 5.0 as of last month – a balanced reading for a market that was supposed to be closed. This level of liquidity and activity is among the highest in the seven Bay Area counties we track and in some part due to the native demands of households, unique to our region, who are still replacing homes they lost in the Tubbs, Nuns & Kincade calamities.
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 details in the town of Sonoma, which submarket includes the hamlets of Kenwood and Glen Ellen, there were 113 homes reported for sale as May concluded. This region experienced the addition of 29 new properties during the period – 55 percent fewer new offerings from the year prior - while buyers garnered accepted contracts on 53 new deals – a 23 percent jump over last year when our markets were completely open. Sellers awarded keys to another 21 homeowners confirming last month’s market dynamics while establishing an MSI of 5.4 – though expect this to tighten up significantly next month as we swing towards a very under supplied and over demanded market dynamic for reasons mentioned above.
Healdsburg felt a remarkably similar activity spike with only 18 new listings making their way to market in May while buyers promptly snapped up 21 in new deals. Sellers closed out 11 transactions leaving this submarket with 82 homes for presentation to buyers in June. The sum of activity left this region with an MSI of 7.5 and falling rapidly based upon consumer demands being witnessed already this month.
Petaluma’s Westside ended the period with 39 available homes for sale which included the 15 new offerings brought forth during the month. Sellers found their way to 27 new contracts while also completing sales with buyers on seven more homes - leaving this region with an MSI of 5.6 though expected to plummet to nearly 1.4 in June.
Teeming with buyer demands though missing active sellers, Petaluma’s Eastside did not even relent in May as this market closed out the month with just 23 available homes to select from which included the 18 additional offerings unveiled by owners during the period. Home shoppers gained control of 22 more accepted contracts while sellers completed 15 transactions – amazing activity and follow through considering the shut-down orders and indicative of a market looking to set new highs with MSI at 1.5 and falling.
Sebastopol sellers delivered only 16 new listings in May. Buyers gained control of 24 deals during the period while sellers closed out 11 more sales leaving only 52 single-family homes available for buyers to peruse in June and showcasing an MSI of 4.7 with expectations of this shrinking to 2.2 this next month.
The pulse of a hyper-active marketplace can be felt on the streets and in the conversations we are having. Whether you are standing by to re-enter the market or thinking of sheltering further, both require diligent planning to unearth the results you want – reach out, and let’s plan together!