It took six years to get there, but Sonoma County’s median home price has climbed once more above a half million dollars.
The median price for a single-family home reached $508,500 in July, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International Vice President Rick Laws. It rose 2.5 percent from June and 6.2 percent from a year earlier.
The monthly median price hasn’t been at or above $500,000 since January 2008.
Cary Bertolone, a co-owner of Bertolone Realty in Santa Rosa, acknowledged being a little shocked at the news.
“It’s a jolt of reality,” he said. The new data suggested to him that the market had reached about 80 percent of the record value it attained before the housing crash began in late 2007.
The county’s median price topped out at $619,000 in August 2005, before falling to $305,000 in February 2009. During the crash in prices, more than 15,000 county homeowners lost properties in foreclosures or short sales.
In July, buyers purchased 498 single-family homes, an increase of 1.4 percent from a year earlier. For the entire year, home sales have decreased 8.6 percent from same period in 2013.
Real estate agents and brokers said lower sales are due partly to a lack of available homes on the market. July ended with roughly a two-month’s supply of inventory at the current sales pace. As a result, buyers often are competing for the same properties.
“It’s definitely a sellers market at the moment,” said Grace Lucero, manager of Vanguard Properties in Healdsburg.
Brokers attribute the rise in the median price partly to rising home values and partly to a shift in the types of homes that are selling today. To date this year, sales of homes priced below $300,000 have declined 67 percent, while those for homes priced at or above $700,000 have increased 30 percent.
Whatever the causes, Bertonlone noted, “there’s not many homes left for $300,000 now.”
– Robert Digitale
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