The heated dog days of summer have passed as we look to breakthrough to winter though our real estate markets remain red hot. The pandemic push to the suburbs continues for many as urban populations look to live in areas where space is more abundant and costs are less while still preferring a general proximity to the greater Bay Area.
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 630 single-family homes left for sale as we closed the books on September – 44 percent fewer than the 1,129 units that were available last year at this time. Sellers delivered 350 new listings to the market during the month – off 29 percent from a year earlier - while buyers gained control of another 513 new deals during the period – 16 percent greater than the prior September – further echoing the divide that has been building each month between supply and demand since May. In support of these metrics, completed sales tipped the scales at 529 this last month – 25 percent greater than in 2019 – continuing to add to the story of deurbanization we are seeing in the greater marketplace with regards to major metropolitan cities and where those populations are seeking to locate their new households.
The continued pace of the markets can be measured by the months’ supply of inventory (MSI) and, with vastly growing demands from buyers in our region - along with all-time low interest rates driving our markets - the data shows MSI registering 1.2 as of last month – even with wildfires in action. 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 94 homes reported for sale as September concluded – 35 percent fewer than a year earlier. This region experienced the addition of 38 new properties during the period while buyers garnered accepted contracts on 45 properties – a 29 percent jump over last year. Sellers awarded keys to another 52 homeowners confirming last month’s market dynamics while seeing MSI stabilize at 1.4.
Healdsburg witnessed 23 new listings making their way to market in September while buyers promptly snapped up 26 homes in new deals. Sellers closed out 29 transactions leaving this submarket with 70 homes for presentation to buyers in October – 42 percent less than a year earlier. The sum of demands has left this region with an MSI steadying around 2.4.
Petaluma’s Westside continued its hot pace with only 29 homes remaining for sale by month’s end – 52 percent less than the prior September - and that included the 15 new offerings brought forth during the period. Sellers found their way to 24 new contracts while buyers completed purchases on 20 additional dwellings - leaving this region with an MSI of 1.5.
Petaluma’s Eastside remains red hot as there were just 16 available homes to select from by months end - which is inclusive of the 21 additional offerings unveiled by owners during the period. Home shoppers placed 39 more dwellings into contract while sellers completed 25 transactions – no surprise as this market continues to capture buyers flowing in from the Bay Area. With less than a single month’s supply of homes being available – MSI at 0.6 – expect multiple offers to continue here.
Similarly, Sebastopol sellers delivered only 19 new listings in September. Buyers gained control of 29 deals during the period while sellers closed out 36 more sales leaving only 35 single-family homes available for buyers to peruse in October – 50 percent fewer than a year earlier - showcasing an MSI of 1.0 with even greater pressure mounting.
The staunch difference between new sellers and active buyers is looking to spread further and may lead to firmer or accelerating prices in our region moving forward, and now, with wildfire season nearly behind us and the holidays staring us down, we are all left wondering about what is next…Oh yeah, an election and hopefully a vaccine! So, while you do your civic duty of voting, please take care to maintain your distance and pray for a solution to the virus that has kept us cooped-up for too long.