The resiliency of our markets was just proven once again this October and that in a month truncated by power outages, evacuations and wildfire could not dampen the spirits of our region is clearly seen in this periods data points.
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 1023 single-family homes left for sale as October closed the ledger on available inventory – now two percent less 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 272 listings being delivered by sellers this month – 35 percent less than in 2018 when the period recorded the arrival of 419 new listings. Sonoma County witnessed 390 properties receive accepted offers in October – seven percent greater than last year – further confirming buyers are taking advantage of lower interest rates which, in turn, has translated to sellers successfully trading 380 dwellings during the month at a median value of $660,000.
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 - while also delivering fewer options for buyers to select from - the data shows a tightening MSI of 2.7.
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 October concluded. This region experienced the addition of 25 new properties during the period – 39 percent fewer than the prior year. Sonoma buyers moved forward on contracting with sellers on 28 new deals – 10 percent fewer than in 2018 - while another 29 homeowners were given keys to their new dwellings at a median purchase value of $1,110,000 - a record high monthly value. The dynamics within this market remain in balance with MSI registering 4.9.
Activity in Healdsburg picked up this month with buyers claiming control of 23 new deals and sellers closing out purchases on another 15 homes at a median closing value of $770,000. By months end inventory fell to 107 available homes for sale – which included the 12 that debuted during the period - allowing the MSI to remain in favor of buyers with a reading of 7.1.
Buyers on Petaluma’s Westside witnessed broader options than a year earlier with 53 properties still being available to them in November. That said, the activity sellers encountered was reassuring that this market remains vibrant as 21 new offers were accepted during the month – while another 26 units formally transferred to new owners at a median price of $820,000. That level of interest coupled with only 13 new listings to refill the pipeline continues to pressure the market tighter as noted with an MSI of 2.0.
The hottest locale within our county, Petaluma’s Eastside, closed out the month with 31 available homes to select from, inclusive of the 20 that debuted during the period. Home shoppers gained control of 36 more accepted contracts while sellers completed an additional 32 transactions at a median value of $658,000 - firmly holding this market under the control of existing property owners with MSI registering 1.0 with even more added pressure anticipated.
A continued shrinkage in inventory and expanding sales has Sebastopol’s market getting squeezed as only 12 homes were added to the market in October while buyers gained control of 18 more deals during the period. Sellers completed 31 escrows – the most in any month over the prior two years - at a median value of $872,000, leaving only 59 single-family homes available to buyers in November and an MSI dipping further to register a stingy 1.9.
On the street we are seeing a market with unusually high activity for a time of year when we typically would begin to witness the markets enter their winter slumber. This is being echoed more broadly than just within our region, so don’t be shocked if we come out hot this next year as we expect interest rates to remain steady and homes in shorter supply.