A winter chill seemed to come early to Sonoma County’s real estate market. Sales were at their lowest level for October since 2007. Sales also dropped from September of 2010, which makes me wonder if the news of robo-signing of foreclosure documents just put a huge wet blanket on already skittish buyers.
Inventory was up only slightly, and newly pending sales maintained a very good pace, belying the drop in closed sales. It is possible that all the concern about the possible risk of buying foreclosed properties put a damper on sales. In that case short sales might be marginally more attractive to buyers. (Editor’s Comment: it is hard to make a short sale (they are anything but short) attractive to a potential buyer, but if it is the only game in town then I guess they look better, more about that in another post.)
The median home price dropped about 9% to $342,500. It has been bouncing around in the mid-$300,000 range for over a year.
I have been tracking home sales on this blog since mid-2007. This is the first big (non seasonal) drop in sales volume since late 2008. One month does not a trend make however. It will be interesting to see if is a temporary reaction to the headlines, or represents a more sustained trend.
What does this mean for you if you are a Buyer? If your income situation is stable (a big if for a lot of people), then this winter could present an excellent buying opportunity. Rates have dropped even since the summer to a decades low. Bottom line if you are a buyer now and the numbers work for you, this may be a great chance to buy with less competition at very low cost.
If you are a Seller? Without a doubt the drop in sales has got to give you pause if you are a seller. However, to whatever degree there is uncertainty about foreclosure inventory, your “normal” home is going to look a lot more attractive, but not if you overprice it.
I can think of any number of “normal” homes that are not priced in line with the competition and are just sitting, getting stale. If you are considering selling within the next two to three years, then you will want to be aggressive and pro-active about how you approach your sale, given the circumstances. It is better to be ahead of the market trends if you are a seller, not behind them.
Your home is not going to sell at a good price if it doesn’t show in tip top condition, and not if your listing agent does not know how to market it online. (Hint: talk to me about what it will take to get your home sold in this market!)
Anyway–for a closer look at the sales data and trends, visit the document below. You can find previous sales data for Sonoma County there as well.
And if you have any questions about Sonoma County real estate, and what these numbers mean to your real estate situation, please email or phone me.
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