Now that summer is over, it is a good time to take stock of house sale activity across the county during the busiest season of the year. I have taken a look at house sale activity from July through September for properties priced at $1m or above. As well as looking at Sonoma County as a whole, I have also analyzed data from four distinct markets: Healdsburg, Sonoma, Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.
The overall picture across the county is one that shows relatively flat year on year activity when compared to the same quarter last year. The number of properties sold is marginally up (2.4%), the average number of days on market has increased to 80 days compared to 61 last year and the overall number of properties for sale has increased by 25% reflecting a slower sell through rate of inventory. Overall however, the median sale price has remained the same at $1.13m and the sale price to list price as also remained static at 95% (ie houses are typically selling for 5% less than asking price).
While the overall picture for the county is pretty flat year on year, the story is very different for the two most expensive markets (Healdsburg and Sonoma) as well as for Sebastopol.
Sebastopol stands out from all other markets as the hot market where sales are dramatically up (31%), properties are selling at pretty much list price (sale price to list price is 99%) and it has the highest year on year increase in median house price, up 4.6% to an average price of $1.323m. While the average days on market has increased from this time last year to 68 days, properties here are still selling 15% faster than the county average and more than twice as quickly as Healdsburg.
By comparison, the two markets that are typically the most expensive, are also the worst performing, with Healdsburg performing worse than the city of Sonoma. If you are selling a property in Healdsburg the numbers don’t make great reading: sales are 16% down, the average days on market has increased by 88% up to 5 months, the median price has fallen by 8.4% and the sale price to list price slipped to below 90%. The number of properties for sales has also increased nearly 20% year on year. The Sonoma market is similar with inventory up 29%, sales down 13%, days on market up 29% and media prices down 3.5%
What Are the Takeaways?
-When taken overall, the market in Sonoma County is fairly flat when compared to the same period last year.
-Sebastopol is clearly the hot market showing a lot of buyer demand probably down to buyers being priced out of Healdsburg and the development of it “hip” downtown
-The prime markets of Healdsburg and Sonoma have definitely cooled considerably. Sellers are struggling to sell properties for the price they expect and it’s taking longer than sellers would like. Buyers can definitely make aggressive offers and expect some good savings for all but the most sought after properties
-The $1+ market in Santa Rosa is the market that is most affected by the micro market created by the fires of two years ago but overall is steady
-Sellers everywhere can expect their properties to sit on the market for longer
-Buyers can definitely push for deals in the premium markets but need to be quick to get a good property in a hot area like Sebastopol.