Category Archives: Monthly Sales Statistics Sonoma County

Top 6 Leading Indicators for a Healthy Real Estate Market for Sonoma County!

CAR Market at a Glance--Leading Indicators to watch for in our California Real Estate Market 2013 year end.
CAR Market at a Glance–Leading Indicators to watch for in our California Real Estate Market 2013 year end.

Sonoma County Realtors and Homeowners should keep track of these 6 leading indicators to a healthy real estate market. One NOT on this chart is the “Distressed” market. Once almost 60% of ALL of our monthly sales in Sonoma County, it is dropped off to ONLY 10%. Welcome to a “normal/equity” driven marketplace. The big REO or Real Estate Owned wave of foreclosed homes has gone by the wayside.

In the chart to the left we can see a tad bit of “re-trenching” of median home price but STILL up over 22% from last year at this time. Of course, with surging home pricing we see a FALL in home affordability as witnessed in the drop from 49% last year to a disturbing 32%. Let’s hope we can keep this number in the 30% range. Still, NOT a good number. Other items–interest rates have lurched almost 1% higher and inventory keeps shrinking. We are in a “normal” winter cycle with most folks awaiting spring to place their homes onto the market. Get a jump on them and think about LISTING NOW! Less competition, serious buyers, low rates and big pricing. Contact Allison and I to assist you in determining your REAL price in today’s super competitive marketplace.

51 BIG reasons to BUY REAL ESTATE NOW in Sonoma County!

The median home price surged 51%  over the past two years
The median home price surged dramatically over the past two years

Sonoma County, California median home price  up 51% in the past two years. Home sales are lagging due to seasonal changes but the median home price keeps right on it’s upward spiral.  The reason? The distressed sales market or those properties being sold as “bank-owned” “REO” (Real Estate Owned) and Short-Sales have dramatically disappeared from the real estate scene. Once as high as 56% of ALL Sales, this past month they dropped to a combined 8% of the total sales for October; a 83% drop.

The Distressed market pricing was substantially LOWER than the current “Equity” market of regular home sellers. So as the Distressed market is supplanted by the “Equity” seller list prices climb, hence sales median home prices.   The “Non-Bank” or “Equity”  sellers are up 90% in the “Under Contract” section of our monthly market stats–BIG NEWS for a solid recovering market! Continue reading 51 BIG reasons to BUY REAL ESTATE NOW in Sonoma County!

Sonoma County,Ca-July Sales -5% over last year-BUT!

That’s the headline–Monthly Sales DOWN–market must be cooling? Sluggish? But look closer–break out the sales by price point and it is a dramatically DIFFERENT STORY! See the following graphs:

Overall Sales for Sonoma County
Overall Sales for Sonoma County

As you can see by the above graph OVERALL Sales for Sonoma County -5%. BUT–let’s dig deeper and drill down on the price segments:

$500,000 to $750,000 July 2013 Solds.
$500,000 to $750,000 July 2013 Solds.

Here’s $500,000 to $750,000–UP BIG TIME Year over Year.  UP +87%!  The “Equity Seller/Buyer” is back. This was one of the hardest price points hit during the big heyday of the “Distressed Marketplace”. We had plenty of sellers (the banks) but they NEVER bought when they SOLD. So the “move-up” buyer disappeared and sales sagged. They have ROARED BACK.

July "Solds" $750,000 to $1Million
July “Solds” $750,000 to $1Million

$750,000 to $1,000,000 UP a remarkable 95%. Remember, all real estate is local and the “overall’ market number, though a good indicator does NOT reflect YOUR home and the price segment of which your home represents.

$1Million+Price Range up BIG TIME!
$1Million+Price Range up BIG TIME!


As we well know, Sonoma County, is considered a “destination” county–meaning tourists and prospective relocating companies, buyers, KNOW that this county offers a wealth of attractions, amentias NOT found in other bay area counties–consider this–we have a gorgeous, rugged Coast, Old growth Redwood Trees, some of the BEST wine appellations in the world, how about “Foodie” heaven. PLUS we are an hour away from one of the most exciting cities in the world–San Francisco with international air service, World Series Champs Giants, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.  So this $1 Million PLUS graph shouldn’t SURPRISE anyone. Solds are up a staggering 187% over last year.


All Categories of “Foreclosures” down EXCEPT the actual FORECLOSURES category-flat but NOT down!

Sonoma County, California–Note that the “Pre-foreclosure” market place, those 90 days late or “in-default” has fallen dramatically, almost 70% from the previous year, same is true of the “Auction” properties with a BIGGER decline of over 75%. However, the actual “Foreclosed” upon homes is NOT that dramatic year over year, 45% decline but note the “month” it is actually dead EVEN over last year. Hmmmmmmm?

Foreclosures quickly becoming a thing of the past here in Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County, California–June of 2013 has seen the ever accelerating decline of the “distressed” real estate market place. The new “Equity” Seller, or what we affectionately now call-“move arounders” because they go up, laterally and down with a new purchase, are NOW the dominate player in our real estate market. The “dark” days of the foreclosure frenzy are behind. A market of 60% “Distressed” homes (Bank Foreclosures–REO and Short-sales) has now shrunk to a paltry 17% of all sales per month in Sonoma County. Equity sellers are a sign of a healthy real estate market. However, with this increase come pricing which is a tad higher than what the market will bear. Hence Days on the Market, though at a super low, is starting to inch up as is the existing inventory. All in all a very healthy and welcomed change in the marketplace. Here’s a look at the latest Foreclosure Activity:

Sonoma County Real Estate Market Update–First 6 months Review!

The “Wine Country” real estate market has many “micro” areas from the blistering hot demand and sales town of Sonoma with its idyllic town square, to the SW area of Santa Rosa which is seeing price recovery slower than any area in Sonoma County. I’ve taken the first six months of this year and compared it to last years first six months. The spreadsheet below demonstrates what’s going on.  We broke up the Sonoma County real estate market into categories or “types” of sales. These are the usual “food-groups” from our Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Across the TOP of the sheet it show “All” which means the entire Sonoma County Real Estate market: Single family homes, Condos and Ranches/Farms. I’ve then broken them out to “Current Monthly” numbers (June). So the REO category shows the “Actives”, “Continue to show” (CTS), “Pending” and then the “Sold” is for the ENTIRE  first six months.  I also broke out the June  “Solds” category which shows total  sales of 529. You can follow this category and note the sales where MORE last year for the first 6 months and also for the Month of June. Median price shot up from $332,000 last year to $420,000 this year or 21%. Not bad. What’s striking is the REO and SS (Real Estate owned and Short-Sales) columns which show substantial declines in the distressed marketplace. This is GOOD news! Many who where under water two years ago are now “land-lubbers”. Note that “Cash” sales are identical for both years at 31% of ALL sales. What does all this mean? Cash buyers are still strong and a detriment to the first time homebuyer who maybe a VET or FHA buyer with a small down payment. More equity sellers (real homeowners and sellers) indicates folks are on the move as there is big demand and little supply pushing median up. Plunging “Distressed” homes indicate stabilizing of the default homeowner OR banks just working with folks longer with loan mods, longer default times and short-sale approvals.


There goes the neighborhood! Median Price Sonoma Cty breaks $400,000 barrier–Now at 2003 Pricing!

So when the market TOOK OFF one of the thresholds it first encountered was the fabled $400,000 median price barrier–that was BACK in 2003. So TEN years later here we are again at another threshold? Or peak? Our median kept thundering along hitting a record $630,000 at the height of the bubble market in 2007. A whole bunch of foreclosures, loan Mods and Short-Sales later we are crossing the Rubicon once again. What can hold us back?

  • The fed bumping interest rates into the 5% range?
  •  Lender tightening? Pricing frightening away investors?
  •  Europe exploding or more like collapsing under their economic woes?

What is the problem about exceeding the $400,000 Median? For many underwater households an increasing median price and price appreciation equate to a skin-diver snorkeling vs. a deep sea underwater vessel! Like when you look up while underwater and the closer to the surface you can start making out clearer object?  Those underwater are saying, “Go baby! Go!”  However, our crop of first time home buyers may be getting desperate as the median continues to climb. The higher it goes the less home one qualifies. FHA, VA buyers, low down folks, already snubbed for cash buyers, are seeing the dream slip through their fingers AGAIN!

At the height of the last big bubble market, 2007, our “Affordability Factor”, based on the median income of Sonoma County, was 6.5%. This meant  ONLY 6.5% of families earning the income could buy a home. Our “Affordability Factor” was that of Santa Barbara with a median home price of $1,100,000. But the scariest portion of the last bubble market was the DUMB money out there. Fog a mirror—YOU’RE QUALIFIED. That is gone from the system. My friends keep telling me look out, $630,000 here we come. But I think the last 3 years of our market was all fueled by EZ lending practices and EVERYONE up the real estate food chair looking the other way. It went all the way to Moody’s who rated loan packages as A paper when the package was mixed with junk from all over the state of California and beyond. The economic boys and girls started scratching their heads when default rates, historically in the single digit range, jumped to double digits just MONTHS after origination.

  But “Frank-Dodd Legislation” should make this an impossibility. Low inventory will drive the market to a point. WE shall see. Stay tuned!Below–Median Sales Price up 26% over last year and now sitting at $402,000 of TOTAL market (Condos, SFD’s and Country Property).







$1,000,000+ Real Estate Report- Sonoma County,California–Going UP?

Join the “Kelly-Norman Team” at Keller Williams Realty on our weekly radio show as we keep you up-to-date on the Sonoma County,California real estate marketplace. Below is a synopsis of  our monthly $1,000,000 report and the Luxury Home market for Sonoma County, California.

 So many properties to choose from, vineyards, Equestrian ranches, weekend estates, we have it all in the $1,000,000 report. Sonoma County, California is a “Destination” area with the quintessential wine country experience of Healdsburg and Sonoma plus the dramatic coastal regions with luxury homes at Bodega Harbour with world class golf course or snug vacation rentals along the coast–we have it all!

  The report for February show a steady surge in the luxury home market that is the $1,000,000+ price point. Since November the number of sales have steadily marched upward doubling in just 4 months from 9 to 20 properties “Under Contract” or in escrow. Why is this?

  Let’s look at the “Buyer” of in this price point; affluent, self-directed, can move quickly if they wish and in the KNOW when it comes business and investment trends. This BUYER knows the market has turned and realize that appreciation in this price point can be significant. So they don’t WAIT for the “spring market” but invest boldly and quickly. Hence the upswing in purchases over the relatively “dead” time of winter.

  The “Hot Areas”–as you would suspect for Sonoma County the the “Wine-Country” experience–the towns which MOST reflex the lifestyle of our county–Healdsburg and Sonoma. These towns are loaded with character, have a down-home “Square” and world class restaurants and wineries nearby. However, Santa Rosa–the financial hub of Sonoma County-also has dominance in this price point–Fountaingrove, Shiloh Ranch, Montecio Meadow and Heights, Rielbi Valley–all boast many a $1,000,000+ property.

  The area of high activity currently? Sonoma with 10 properties under contract, Santa Rosa withi 7 followed by 4 for Healdsburg. Now this may NOT sound like a super hot market but for this time of year it bodes well for the “Spring/Summer” marketplace. But let’s NOT forget that currently 172 propeties populate the $1,000,000 + price point with “Active” listings. WE had total sales in February of 17 so you can say these folks have a 1 in 10 chance of SELLING their Homes. Or when you look at the Under Contract sales about a 8 months supply.

Join Allison Norman and Mike Kelly of the Kelly-Norman Team ,every Sunday, 9 to 10am PST 1350AM, KSRO or Tune us in via the web at  The “News and Talk of Sonoma County” KSRO radio.  Also, check out our blog: for more details.

Preview:  Below is a chart showing those properties “Under Contract” or in escrow for the past year. Note the escalation since December–a march upwards. Why? Those who are buying $1,000,000+ properties are NOT tied to the seasons and have resources to move quickly. The marketplace in Sonoma County is in “lift-off” and as you can see a 100% increase is a leading indicator of the health of the $1,000,000 PLUS Sonoma County,California marketplace.

Third Year in Row, Sept sales Plunge! This year steeper because of previous Big Sales Months. Scarcity, low rates!

I was predicting that September Sales would drop from the higher summers months. I was right! But it just repeated what it had done in 2011 and 2010. However, this past month was real BIG compared to the highest summer sales in over 3 years. Those interest rates and folks finally realizing that we HIT bottom back in 2009, have spurred high sales volume. Sales fell 20+% from August indicating that even with 3.125% rates, folks gotta get back to work.

Three Year Sales

Some folks say the big DROP is because of lack of inventory. I don’t buy it. We’ve been tight now for 3 months with scarcity of inventory. Folks are back to work, schools in, the “new” seasonality?



If we have NO REO’s–Does this mean Prices Will Rise? It did in Phoenix, AZ–UP 33%!! One of the hardest hit markets in the nation.

As the big Attorneys General settlement begins to sink in the banks are shifting and migrating away from the sale of Individual REO’s ( real estate owned or foreclosed homes) and this change in the retail market and REO’s influence is shown in the Phoenix, AZ marketplace. The REO’s there our at all time lows and guess what happened to home prices? They soared 33.1% over last year at this time. Now here in Sonoma County not only do we have a scarce REO inventory but scarcity THROUGHOUT the market as the following slides show. As REO’s are sold in bulk to large investment groups and sold at auction with more and more bidders, we will most likely NOT see all that big a segment in the retail or “street” marketplace. The graphs tell the story:


As you can see from the first graph, REO’s are down 63% over last year at this time. Whatever the reason, the absence of these listings will increase median price and having little REO’s will make the inventory MORE scarce and increase bidding for existing stock–hence RAISING prices. How much? Your guess is as good as mine. But with rates in the Upper 3% range the demand should remain high. Our “trough” or “bottom” came in 2009. The consumer KNOWS prices are on the rise and that this is a golden buying opportunity.

The graph below show how SCARCE inventory is THROUGHOUT Sonoma County.  Our Month’s supply of Inventory has plummeted by 71.3%. Every buyer KNOWS this as they and their Realtors compete against each other for a few properties with MULTIPLE offers.