During the last quarter we have been reporting about a “buy rally” and this month’s data further confirms that trend in the market which happens to coincide with a lack of new offerings that has put upward pressure on pricing in our region and, with interest rates favoring buyers, deals are quickly being put together to take advantage of the lower long term costs associated with housing.
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 1129 single-family homes left for sale as September closed the ledger on available inventory – just three percent more than a year earlier. Keep in mind the amount of new inventory coming to market has been at a much lesser rate than in the prior year with only 383 listings being delivered by sellers this month – 11 percent less than in 2018 when the period recorded the arrival of 428 new listings. Sonoma County witnessed 453 properties receive accepted offers in September – 17 percent greater than last year – further confirming buyers are taking advantage of lower interest rates which, in turn, has translated to sellers successfully trading 392 dwellings during the month at a median value of $650,000.
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 to compliment the reprieve in mortgage terms along with sellers being more in line with market sentiments, the data points to a tightening MSI of 2.9.
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 144 homes reported for sale as September concluded. This region experienced the addition of 33 new properties during the period – 11 percent fewer than the prior year. Sonoma buyers moved forward on contracting with sellers on 35 new deals – 17 percent more than in 2018 - while another 46 homeowners were given keys to their new dwellings at a median purchase value of $777,000. The dynamics within this market are still hanging on the cusp of balance - though still favoring sellers - with MSI registering 3.1.
Activity in Healdsburg picked up this month with buyers claiming control of 13 new deals and sellers closing out purchases on another 19 homes at a median closing value of $840,000. By months end inventory fell to 120 available homes for sale – which included the 20 that debuted during the period - allowing the MSI to remain in favor of buyers, though on the precipice of balance, with a reading of 6.3.
Buyers on Petaluma’s Westside saw their options broaden from a year earlier with 60 properties still being available to them in October. That said, the activity sellers were witnessing was reassuring that this market has a vibrancy to it as 29 new offers were accepted during the month – the most in any period over the last two years - while another 25 units formally transferred to new owners at a median price of $738,000. That level of interest coupled with 19 new listings to refill the pipeline is teasing the market tighter with an MSI of 2.4.
Petaluma’s Eastside closed out the month with 35 available homes to select from, inclusive of the 15 that debuted during the period. Home shoppers gained control of 36 more accepted contracts while sellers completed an additional 21 transactions at a median value of $665,000 - firmly holding this market under the control of existing property owners with MSI registering 1.7 and falling.
A continued shrinkage in inventory and expanding sales has Sebastopol’s market getting squeezed as only 18 homes were added to the market in September while buyers gained control of 30 more deals during the period. Sellers completed 27 escrows at a median value of $985,000, leaving only 70 single-family homes available to buyers in October and an MSI showing a stingy 2.6.
Further affirming strength in our region, September followed through with immense activity that is backing the trends of the last few months. It is becoming clearer that the amount of those looking to sell in Sonoma County has dwindled in comparison to those looking to buy. These metrics can work against someone who is sitting on the sidelines looking for the right opportunity. If selling or buying is on your horizon, let us design a play book for your winning drive.