As reported last month, we were anticipating a buy rally in the market which happen to coincide with a lack of new offerings that has put upward pricing pressure on 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 1136 single-family homes left for sale as August closed the ledger on available inventory – just two 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 363 listings being delivered by sellers this month – 32 percent less than in 2018 when the period recorded the arrival of 534 new listings. Sonoma County witnessed 482 properties receive accepted offers in August – 20 percent greater than last year – further confirming buyers are taking advantage of lower interest rates which was confirmed with sellers successfully trading 387 dwellings during the month at a median value of $712,000 – a new all-time high.
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 143 homes reported for sale as August concluded. This region experienced the addition of 22 new properties during the period – 46 percent fewer than the prior year. Sonoma buyers moved forward on contracting with sellers on 52 new deals – 58 percent more than in 2018 - while another 38 homeowners were given keys to their new dwellings at a median purchase value of $804,000. The dynamics within this market are still hanging on the cusp of balance with MSI registering 3.8.
Activity in Healdsburg picked up significantly this month with buyers claiming control of 29 new deals and sellers closing out purchases on another 16 homes at a median closing value of $912,000. By months end inventory dropped to 116 available homes for sale – which included the 16 that debuted during the period - allowing the MSI to contract further to 7.4.
Buyers on Petaluma’s Westside saw their options broaden from the year earlier with 65 properties still being available to them in September. That said, the activity sellers were witnessing was reassuring that this market has a vibrancy to it as 27 new offers were accepted during the month while another 24 units formally transferred to new owners at a median price of $854,000. That level of interest coupled with 25 new listings to refill the pipeline will abate any panicky moments on either side of the fence for now with MSI hanging at 2.7.
Petaluma’s Eastside closed out the month with 42 available homes to select from, inclusive of the 17 that debuted during the period. Home shoppers gained control of 24 more accepted contracts while sellers completed an additional 34 transactions at a median value of $725,000 - firmly holding this market under the control of existing property owners with MSI registering 1.2.
Shrinking inventory and expanding sales has Sebastopol’s market getting squeezed as only 16 homes were added to the market in August while buyers gained control of 36 more deals during the period. Sellers completed 26 escrows leaving only 67 single-family homes to open with in September and an MSI falling to 2.6.
As suggested last month, this August ended up bucking the decades long trend and produced some record activity and new highs. So, don’t sit on the side lines any longer, the game is still underway.