Sonoma County Real Estate Report : Strong 2016 Start to Sonoma Homes Market

Comparing Q1 2016 with Q1 2015, the Sonoma median house sales price jumped 13% and its median condo price increased 15%. Those are larger jumps than seen in either San Francisco or Marin, which probably has to do with the much greater affordability of Sonoma homes. The inventory of listings available to purchase in the county dropped a little year over year, but, conversely, the number of sales actually increased a little, which is a clear indication of increasing demand.

Q2 & Q3 are typically the most active quarters of the year in the Sonoma real estate market, with substantially greater volumes of new listings and sales. It will be interesting to see if the market continues to heat up further into the year.

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Market Supply & Demand Trends

The following 2 charts illustrate some of the dynamics of the Sonoma market over the past few years, and are broken out by houses under and over $1 million. It is common for the market for more affordable homes to be hotter than that for more expensive homes, and indeed market pressure has generally increased around the Bay Area in the more affordable price ranges as buyers look, sometimes desperately, for purchase options they can still afford.

Properties under $1 million maintained an extremely high percentage of listings accepting offers in the quarter, and those listings that sold without going through price reductions averaged a sales price just a tad above asking price (100.2%). For home listings above $1 million, where the buyer pool is smaller and inventory sells more slowly, the average sales price for homes selling without price reductions was about 3% below list price. For those more expensive homes that went through price reductions before selling, the discount plunges to 17% off original list price, a clear sign of dramatic overpricing. Homes over $1 million also, on average, take significantly longer to sell than the more affordable price segment.

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Comparative Home Values

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Stock Markets & Interest Rates
After all the travail regarding the stock market volatility since last summer, it is now, as of early-mid April, pretty much back to where it began. And interest rates have actually fallen since the Fed raised the benchmark rate in mid-December. These conditions are typically considered very positive for real estate markets, though both can be subject to sudden and significant change.

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These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and all numbers should be considered approximate. Sales statistics of one month generally reflect offers negotiated 4 to 6 weeks earlier, thus a fair number of YTD 2016 sales reflect market activity in late 2015.