None of us will ever be able to forget the year we just lived through. It will be well-written and spoken about for decades - maybe even centuries - to come! The year started like most others we have grown accustom to though when the Coronavirus landed on our shores that changed all our lives forever. For better or for worse, we have survived – though, as many feel, just barely. Events like pandemics historically exacerbate socioeconomic conditions while raising anxieties at all corners of our world.
According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County had exactly 500 single-family homes left for sale as we closed the books on 2019 – 22 percent fewer than the 639 units that were available at the outset of last year. Sellers delivered just 179 new listings to the market during the month – 12 percent fewer than the year prior - while buyers gained control of another 355 new deals during the period – 46 percent greater than the previous December. In support of these metrics, completed sales tipped the scales at 421 this last month – 31 percent more than this same time last year.
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 – much tighter than the 2.0 reading from last year at this time. 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 and now Glass Fire 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 67 homes reported for sale as December concluded – seven percent fewer than a year earlier. This region experienced the addition of just 12 new listings during the period while buyers garnered accepted contracts on 26 more properties – a 30 percent jump over last year. Sellers awarded keys to another 31 homeowners confirming last month’s market dynamics while seeing MSI stabilize at 2.2.
Healdsburg witnessed just eight new listings making their way to market in December while buyers promptly snapped up 14 homes in new deals. Sellers closed out 21 transactions – 133 percent greater than the prior year - leaving this submarket with 52 homes for presentation to buyers in January. The sum of demands has left this region with an MSI settling at 2.5.
Petaluma’s Westside continued its hot pace with only 24 homes remaining for sale by month’s end and that included the 18 new offerings brought forth during the period. Sellers found their way to 18 new contracts – 80 percent ahead of last year - while buyers completed purchases on 26 additional dwellings - leaving this region with a supremely tight MSI of 0.9.
Petaluma’s Eastside is registering a record for supply of inventory that can now be measured in weeks not months, to be precise 1 week! With the calendar sunsetting on 2019, there were just eight available homes for buyers to select from by months end - which is inclusive of the 10 additional offerings unveiled by owners during the period. Home shoppers placed 20 more dwellings into contract while sellers completed another 36 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 0.2 – expect multiple offers to continue here.
With buyers leaning in to offer more for their next home, Sebastopol sellers were lured into delivering just 10 new listings in December. Buyers gained control of 20 deals during the period while sellers closed out 27 more sales leaving only 26 single-family homes available for buyers to peruse in the new year – 40 percent fewer than twelve months prior - showcasing an MSI of 1.0.
We know we are still here. We may also realize - due to the precautions we took this last year - that many of us were able to avoid the myriad of typical colds, flu’s, etc., due likely to our forced new habits of sanitization, social distancing and mask wearing. Here’s to hoping we remain as clean as we have become once we break out of this pandemic and that whatever our new normal is, may it arrive sooner rather than later.