Condominiums and starter homes remain in tight supply in Sonoma County. The move-up homes above $500,000 have seen little price appreciation, but last month agents recorded a whopping increase in new listings.
And for those trying to sell their slow-moving, million dollar homes? “It’s all about price, baby,” said Rick Laws of Coldwell Banker at Tuesday’s meeting of the North Bay Association of Realtors.
Laws, who compiles data for The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report, gave one his regular presentations on sales data in four segments of the county’s real estate market.
The highlights:
For condominiums, median sales prices have bounced back 27 percent to $177,500 last month from the market’s low around February 2009. Of course, that price is still down more than 50 percent from August 2005, when the median condo price was nearly $380,000.
For single-family homes under $500,000, new listings were up 28 percent last month compared to February 2009. But new sales agreements signed between buyers and sales rose even higher in the same period by 48 percent.
“Demand is eating into supply,” Laws said. As with condos, this segment of the market has less than two months worth of inventory, half the time compared to 14 months ago.
For single-family homes that sold between $500,000 and $1 million, prices have been stagnant for the past year, and sales have hovered between about 30 and 70 homes a month. But last month new listings jumped by the highest amount in more than 18 months.
Some of those listings belong to owners who “thought they would wait out the market and they’re getting a little bit tired,” Laws said. As such, they have decided to sell.
For homes selling from $1 million to $10 million, the median price has fallen 23 percent between February 2009 and last month. Of course, the numbers are small. Over the past 14 months, sales in this segment of the market have ranged from a low of five to a high of 23 homes per month.
Distressed home sales make up a smaller share of the luxury market than in the other three segments, Laws said. But because demand for million dollar homes is sluggish, sellers still find themselves competing against foreclosures or short sales, where the owner seeks to sell the property for less than is owed on the mortgage.
— Robert Digitale
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