Curve Flattening…What’s Next?

Still within a never seen before event like the one we are all living through currently, we are left with more questions than answers, more fears than hopes. We were amid heightened activity levels – as noted by the follow through in the metrics seen below - with consumer confidence growing, then artificially halted. What’s next, well…
 
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 669 single-family homes left for sale as we closed the books on March. 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 275 new listings to the market during the month – off 45 percent from a year earlier - while Sonoma County buyers gained control of 275 new deals. The shock in all of this lies in the fact that sellers still managed to complete the sale of 273 dwellings during the period – six percent more than last March – a testament to the strong momentum that was in our markets prior to the SIP.
 
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 2.5 as of last month.
 
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 102 homes reported for sale as March concluded. This region experienced the addition of just 29 new properties during the period while buyers garnered accepted contracts on 26 new deals. Sellers awarded keys to another 28 homeowners – amazingly 12 percent more than the prior year – while the dynamics within this market technically reverted to favoring sellers with a reading of 3.6.
 
Healdsburg felt activity decline in all category’s year-over year with only 11 new listings appearing in the market as buyers leaned in and snapped up nine new contracts in March. With all things being odd, sellers managed to close out eight sales by months end, leaving inventory standing at 62 available homes for sale. The sum of activity left this submarket with an MSI of 7.8 – essentially putting buyers in the driver seat for now.
 
More typical of activity seen in December, Petaluma’s Westside ended the period with 29 available homes for sale which included the eight new offerings brought forth. Sellers encountered continuous signs of reassurance as 12 new contracts were accepted during the month while another 11 units formally changed hands leaving this region with an MSI reading of 2.6.
 
Hotly pursued with elevated buyer activity, Petaluma’s Eastside closed out the month with just 14 available homes to select from – even with 18 new listings debuting during the period. Home shoppers gained control of a whopping 19 more accepted contracts while sellers completed 25 transactions – 56 percent more than in 2019 - firmly holding this market under the control of existing property owners with MSI now registering 0.6.
 
A continued shrinkage in inventory and expanding sales has Sebastopol’s market getting squeezed as only 11 homes were added to the market in March while buyers gained control of 14 more deals during the period. Sellers still completed 11 escrows leaving only 35 single-family homes available for buyers to peruse in April and showcasing an MSI of 3.2.
 
As a country and a region, we have recovered from tragic times before - typically stronger, smarter and kinder – and we will again, but this resiliency thing is getting old!

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