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CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE FULL STORY ON AUGUST HOME PRICES:

NOTE: BELOW IS AN EARLY VERSION OF HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESS DEMOCRAT’S MONTHLY HOUSING REPORT.

Sonoma County’s median home price shot up in August to $385,500, an 11-percent increase from July as buyers purchased a larger share of properties priced between $400,000 and $800,000.

The median price for August was the highest for any month in nearly three years, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International Vice President Rick Laws.

Buyers purchased 520 single-family homes last month, an 11-percent increase from a year earlier.

To date this year, 3,665 county homes have been sold, a 21-percent increase from 2011 and the most sales in seven years.

Short sales and foreclosures last month made up 30 percent of all sales, the lowest level in at least four years. Short sales are properties being offered for less than the amount owed on the mortgage.

Homes selling between $400,000 and $800,000 made up 38 percent of all sales, the biggest share for any month in nearly three years.

“That means we’re finally getting people who are moving up,” said Mike Kelly, an agent with Keller Williams in Santa Rosa. Many of these buyers are selling a starter home and purchasing a more expensive property.

Kelly noted Wednesday that the market still has a large share of distressed properties, but it’s far better than nearly four years ago when three out of every four sales involved a short sale or foreclosure.

The county’s median price still remains far below its August 2005 peak of $619,000. And more 28,000 county homes, or 27 percent of all homeowners with mortgages, owe more than their homes are worth, according to a report released Wednesday by CoreLogic.

But agents say the market has rebounded off its lowest point in the downturn of $305,000 in February 2009.

Part of the reason for the rise in prices is that fewer homes are available for sale this year. August ended with an inventory of less than 1,000 homes for sale, about half the amount of a year earlier.

— Robert Digitale

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Bobby

    Badly written article. A short term rise in the median does not mean that overall prices are rising (home prices have not risen 11% in month). It means that more homes sold in a higher price range than in a lower range. It doesn’t mean that the inidividual home prices are increasing.

    However it is a good sign because the $400,000 to $800,000 has been very slow for several years. If the trend continues then it is evidence of real price appreciation.

    September 12th, 2012 2:32 pm

  2. Chris Crossman

    Robert Digitale is paid by local realtors and lenders to write articles in favor of the housing market, his articles are a total joke. I find the false information ridiculous, but I even find it more ridiculous that these realtors and lenders think that the media has such a major impact on the housing market.

    September 12th, 2012 3:18 pm

  3. Jeff

    It may be a poorly written article, and median prices don’t reflect a true increase in values, but values have gone up. My house just increased in value enough for me to refinance. It’s come up in value more than 30K dollars since last year.

    September 12th, 2012 4:54 pm

  4. Ernest Berghof

    We are definitely experiencing an dramatic “bounce” off the bottom of home prices. Median prices are just one indication, significant reduction in homes available for sale is another, and anecdotal evidence from current home buyers is yet another. Real estate markets are not efficient and therefore corrections tend to be slower and more pronounced. Based on the data I see everyday, I expect prices to see an overall year over year increase of 4-5% in 2012.

    September 19th, 2012 10:26 am

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