Strong sales and shrinking inventory have bumped Sonoma County home prices to their highest level in nearly a year and prompted multiple offers on available properties.
The median price for single-family homes rose nearly 8 percent in April to $345,000, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International Vice President Rick Laws. It was the highest monthly price since May 2011 when the median rose to $354,000.
Buyers purchased 434 single-family homes last month, up 22 percent from a year ago. Sales for the first four months of the year are the strongest since 2005 near the height of the nation’s housing bubble.
In recent years, buyers often faced multiple offers for condos and starter homes priced below $300. But agents and brokers now are reporting multiple offers for homes priced between $500,000 and $900,000.
“I think for the first time in five years I’m seeing more activity in all price points,” said Brian Connell, broker/manager of Frank Howard Allen in Santa Rosa.
The county ended April with 999 single-family homes for sale, the lowest number for that month since 766 homes were available in April 2005.
The inventory of available homes is half the amount from a year ago.
“That’s a pretty dramatic decrease in the number of listings.” said Tim Freeman, manager of Coldwell Banker in Santa Rosa. The entire San Francisco Bay Area is reporting similar trends for sales and inventory, he said.
County home values peaked in 2005, with an annual median price of $595,000. Prices began a steep slide in 2007 and hit an annual low last year of $325,000, a level last seen in 2000.
Buyers purchased 29 homes for $1 million or more in the county last month. That was as many sales in that price segment as in the previous three months combined and amounted to the best showing for any month in more than three years.
— Robert Digitale