Sonoma County home sales fell in October to their second-lowest level in 15 years.
The county recorded 314 single-family homes sold last month, compared to an average over the past decade of 450 homes sales for October. The only recent year with fewer October sales was 2007, when home prices were in free fall.
The median sales price also declined in October to $342,500, a 6-percent decline from September and the lowest level since April, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report prepared by Rick Laws, manager of Coldwell Banker in Santa Rosa.
Stephen Liebling, manager of Coldwell Banker in Sebastopol, said he had expected an annual slowdown in autumn sales, but “this year it seems like that seasonal adjustment came a little early.”
He pointed to the shaky economy as a likely reason.
“It’s not about housing any more,” Liebling said. “It’s about jobs, and I think people are feeling a little less secure right now.”
The median price peaked at $619,000 in August 2005 before plunging more than 50 percent to $305,000 in February 2009. For most of the last year, the price has hovered at $345,000 to $375,000.
County homes sales total 3,631 for the first 10 months of 2010. That represents a decline of almost 9 percent. The decline is even in steeper for Santa Rosa, where sales are down 17 percent to date this year.
The county ended October with 1,747 homes listed for sale. That amount was down 12 percent from September and amounted to nearly 6 months worth of inventory.
— Robert Digitale