Santa Rosa home sales declined 16 percent for the first nine months of 2010, while the rest of Sonoma County reported a slight rise in sales.
The drop in sales for Santa Rosa resulted largely from fewer foreclosures and other distressed properties available for sale in the starter home market, real estate agents said.
But the city housing market also was more sluggish than the rest of the county for single-family homes sold above $500,000, according to the Press Democrat’s monthly housing report prepared by Rick Laws, manager of Coldwell Banker in Santa Rosa.
For the first three quarters of 2010, the county posted a 20-percent jump in sales above $500,000. Sales of such properties in Santa Rosa increased only 4 percent. County sales excluding Santa Rosa are up overall 2 percent to date this year.
Agents differed on the reasons for the overall performance in Santa Rosa. But some pointed to a Press Democrat story on Sunday that reported stronger sales for country properties than those in town.
“Country properties are unique, and people want to get back to unique,” said Sheree Fogel, an agent in Santa Rosa with Artisan Sotheby’s International Realty.
The county recorded 385 single-family home sales in September, a decline of 6 percent over September 2009. The median sales prices last month was $368,000, almost unchanged from the revised August median price.
Laws said Santa Rosa, the county’s largest city, has most of the county’s distressed properties and was most affected by the drop in inventory for such homes.
“It reflects in lower sales in Santa Rosa,” he said.
— Robert Digitale