The Genesis for Our New World

The newest chapter in Sonoma County has just opened as significant progress has been made in the efforts to re-envision and rebuild the lost portions of our community. Initially there was fear and concern, then came hope and desire, now you are recognizing joy and results.

​​​​​​​According to BAREIS, as March concluded, Sonoma County had exactly 449 non-commercial parcels on the open market – 74 of which were newly exposed to the market during the month. Our County saw 51 sites receive accepted offers during the period while another 34 parcels formally traded hands – at a median value of $220,000 – well above the fifteen-year running average of 20 sales per month. This indicates a strong demand for the most appropriately priced plots, though the increase in interest is overshadowed by the consistent supply of new lots being brought to the market as the chasm between sold and available properties is expected to widen as this year progresses.

Specifically, within Sonoma County, Santa Rosa’s Northeast quadrant has been the primary catalyst for the increased activity levels. The Tubbs fire has reshaped the landscape and the marketplace as we know it. The region was showcasing 182 residential lots on the open market as we wrapped up March. New offerings from sellers accounted for 31 of those during this period with buyers promptly capturing 24 new contracts on parcels – well above the historical average of two per month. Sellers completed an additional 15 sales during the period and, since the fires, have sold a total of 425 parcels – accounting for half of all non-commercial lot transactions in Sonoma County.

To put this in perspective, Northwest Santa Rosa has sold a total of 153 lots since November 2017 while the greater Sonoma Valley region has seen only 51 transactions. Sellers of lots should be readying them for market by making final clearings of dead or diseased vegetation or consider holding their sites for several years, hoping that time will make them more valuable.

​​​​​​​As the volume of offerings and transactions stack up we see measurable data points appear. In Northeast Santa Rosa, the average price paid for a lot in March was $298,000 while the median price hovered at $270,000 – median is the midpoint of all sold properties where by half sold for more while the other half sold for less. In a market as liquid as we are encountering, even though the average number of days to sell a parcel rose to 129, the only thing keeping the dirt from transacting is the price being asked by the seller. This is a common theme in basic economics – a seller sets a price, but a buyer establishes the market value.


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