Cautiously Onward and Extremely Active

As we begin to relax shelter in place requirements our markets are indicating a strong response with regards to buyers and their wants – essentially almost a reset to where we were a few months back. Having been cooped up in homes that they have found inadequate for what they really need, buyers within - as well as from outside our region – are springing into action to accomplish their goals during a time of unprecedented low interest rates coupled with new demands for what they believe their living spaces should be for the times ahead
 
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 777 single-family homes left for sale as we closed the books on April. 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 120 days or so. That said, sellers still delivered 196 new listings to the market during the month – off 66 percent from a year earlier - while Sonoma County buyers gained control of another 196 new deals during the period. The shock in all of this lies in the fact that sellers still managed to complete the sale of 222 dwellings during the period – which is only 32 percent fewer than last year when activity was not artificially shut down – a testament to the strong momentum that was in our markets prior to the SIP and buyers yearning to bring a solution to how and where they want to live moving forward.
 
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 3.5 as of last month. 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 93 homes reported for sale as April concluded. This region experienced the addition of just six new properties during the period – 91 percent fewer new offerings from the year prior - while buyers garnered accepted contracts on 20 new deals. Sellers awarded keys to another 22 homeowners confirming last month’s market dynamics while establishing an MSI of 4.2.
 
Healdsburg felt activity decline in all category’s year-over year with only seven new listings appearing in the market as buyers leaned in and snapped up nine new contracts in April. With all things being odd, sellers managed to close out another nine sales by months end, leaving inventory standing at 68 available homes for sale – 28 percent less availability than in 2019. The sum of activity left this submarket with an MSI of 7.6 – essentially allowing buyers greater near-term influence, though expect this to wane as SIP gets relaxed.
 
Petaluma’s Westside ended the period with 35 available homes for sale which included the eight new offerings brought forth during the month. Sellers found their way to 11 new contracts while also completing sales with buyers on 10 more homes - leaving this region with an MSI of 3.5.
 
Teeming with buyer demands though missing active sellers, Petaluma’s Eastside closed out the month with just 18 available homes to select from which included the five additional offerings unveiled by owners during the period. Home shoppers gained control of 19 more accepted contracts while sellers completed 17 transactions – amazing activity and follow through considering the shut-down orders and indicative of a market looking to set new highs with MSI hovering at 1.1 and falling.
 
Not as buoyant on the books though highly active on the streets, Sebastopol sellers only delivered 10 new listings in April. Buyers gained control of 13 deals during the period while sellers closed out nine more sales leaving only 38 single-family homes available for buyers to peruse in May and showcasing an MSI of 4.2.
 
As we begin to come together in more ways than one, the heartbeat of the 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 – we are here for that!

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