As many people look ahead to the season before us the days will seem somewhat hollow comparatively to the joyous gathering’s we are all accustomed to having historically. Smaller in-person gatherings coupled with a lot of “zoom-parties” will be the right of passage this year as we maintain distance while preserving the public health, not to mention our own individual well-being. That said, we have many things to both be thankful for and to look ahead to – especially with new vaccines on our horizon. Our real estate markets remain buoyant after surviving a wide array of interruptions we have experienced this year – pandemic, power safety shut-offs, wildfires and a tense political environment.
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 732 single-family homes left for sale as we closed the books on October – about 100 more than the previous month though still 28 percent fewer than the 1,023 units that were available last year at this time. Sellers delivered 406 new listings to the market during the month – 13 percent above last year - while buyers gained control of another 450 new deals during the period – 21 percent greater than the prior October. In support of these metrics, completed sales tipped the scales at 472 this last month – 15 percent greater than in 2019 – which is also an amazing statistic considering the wildfires we were living through at the time.
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 1.6 as of last month – higher than the 1.1 reading from September while significantly tighter than the 2.5 it registered just last year. 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 97 homes reported for sale as October concluded – 32 percent fewer than a year earlier. This region experienced the addition of 38 new properties during the period while buyers garnered accepted contracts on 58 properties – a 132 percent jump over last year. Sellers awarded keys to another 46 homeowners confirming last month’s market dynamics while seeing MSI stabilize at 2.1.
Healdsburg witnessed 22 new listings making their way to market in October while buyers promptly snapped up 20 homes in new deals - just like last year. Sellers closed out 21 transactions leaving this submarket with 81 homes for presentation to buyers in November – 24 percent less than a year earlier. The sum of demands has left this region with an MSI rising to 3.9.
Petaluma’s Westside continued its hot pace with only 33 homes remaining for sale by month’s end – 38 percent less than the prior October - and that included the 16 new offerings brought forth during the period. Sellers found their way to 18 new contracts while buyers completed purchases on 19 additional dwellings - leaving this region with an MSI of 1.7.
Petaluma’s Eastside remains red hot as there were just 20 available homes to select from by months end - which is inclusive of the 22 additional offerings unveiled by owners during the period. Home shoppers placed 30 more dwellings into contract while sellers completed 39 transactions – no surprise as this market continues to capture interest due to is relative affordability in comparison to surrounding markets let alone the Bay Area. With less than a single month’s supply of homes being available – MSI at 0.5 – expect multiple offers to continue here.
With buyers leaning in to offer more for their next home, Sebastopol sellers were lured into delivering 31 new listings in October. Buyers gained control of 39 deals during the period while sellers closed out 31 more sales leaving only 41 single-family homes available for buyers to peruse in November – 31 percent fewer than a year earlier - showcasing an MSI of 1.3.
It has been said, that it takes 30 days of consistently doing something to initiate a new habit while it takes a year to change your routines…Let us all hope that when we come out of this pandemic we are a brighter, more resilient, less critical and more cohesive union.