The neighbor on my right side currently rents the home he’s in, and came by a few days ago to talk about how he and his fiancee were so discouraged by the rising costs of housing in Sonoma County that they have given up on trying to buy a home and were thinking of moving. He was certain that if they moved further north – to Mendocino County – they’d start to save money and eventually be able to afford ‘more house for the buck’.
With family roots that go far back in Santa Rosa, I admit to being a little defensive when he brought this up; did he know something I didn’t? Who would leave Sonoma County? As far as I could tell, the pricing was about equal, but I was game to do a quick comparison.
I found a few homes in different areas of Mendocino County, then using the price point and square footage as markers, found comparable homes here in Sonoma County. Admittedly, there are more homes on the market at lower price-points in Mendocino County, but not by a sizable margin. The differences are negligible, but if you’ve been thinking of changing counties, here’s what the current market looks like in comparison:
In the 300k+ price range;
Mendocino County: 140 Clara Ave, Ukiah, CA 95482 – $305,000
3 beds 2 baths 1,350 square feet, close to downtown Ukiah.
I couldn’t find the year of this home, but it’s located in a historic neighborhood and described as Victorian.
The interior is clean, and the vaulted ceilings help make the 1,350 square foot interior look much larger. At first blush, it seems like a solid deal.
Sonoma County: 2070 Cazadero Hwy, Cazadero – 369,000
2 beds 2 baths 1,630 square feet, rural, creekside location. (Only traditional home close in comparable price range.)
$369,000 was the closest I could find in Sonoma County that was comparable, both price-wise and by size. The year built is 1954, so my best guess is that it’s newer than the previous home in Ukiah.
The living room for this house also has the high ceilings, but because of location (woods, lots of trees and very rustic) the look and feel make it a very different home than a Victorian located in a downtown area.
In the 400k+ price range;
Mendocino County: 660 Center Valley St, Willits – $407,500
3 beds 1.5 baths 1,748 square feet, 5acres of land, rural, but not too far from main street in downtown Willits.
This ranch style home in Willits was built in 1958, and for a $407k price tag, comes with 5.26 acres and a 4 stall horse barn. A homebuyer who is an avid equestrian may find that this move is well within budget.
Rustic is the name of the game, and a potential buyer should keep in mind that what they may be saving on the cost of the house by moving to the country, it will likely ned to be spent on maintenance and upgrades to the barn on the property.
Sonoma County: 16200 Cutten Dr, Guerneville – 399,900
3 beds 3 baths 2,580 square feet, forest, in the Armstrong Valley area of Guerneville.
While not a ranch, this Guerneville home has all the outdoors a homebuyer would need if they enjoy hiking in the redwoods, or kayaking on the Russian River.
There are no horse stalls, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the interior was spacious and set up for entertaining with a custom wet bar. This house was built in 2001 (or rather, it’s a manufactured home that’s been built on a foundation on the land) and I never realized that newer homes still included wet bars in the living room. (I’m not including the million-plus homes – they generally have an entire suite dedicated to entertaining so a wet bar is de rigueur.)
In the 500k+ price range;
Mendocino County: 204 S Dora St, Ukiah – $569,000
3 beds 3 baths 2,400 square feet, extremely close to downtown Ukiah.
Another Victorian in Ukiah, this one was built in 1920 and has had extensive remodeling.
The kitchen has been updated with a stone slab island, and it has a saltwater pool in the backyard. The $569,000 price range is in line with the rest of this part of the North bay.
1840 Corby Ave, Santa Rosa – $525,000
5 beds, 4 baths, 2,858 square feet, close freeway access, in Southwest Santa Rosa.
This house was built in 1998, making it 78 years younger as well as $44,000 less than the aforementioned Victorian in Ukiah. The Victorian home makes up for this by its extensive remodeling and backyard pool.
While it doesn’t have the vintage charm, this kitchen is spacious and well lit. Not pictured is the jetted Hot Tub in the backyard, which may or may not be the tipping point for a homebuyer who really, really wanted a pool.
In the 1Million+ price range;
Mendocino County: 1420 Highway 175, Hopland – $1,250,000
4 beds, 3 baths, 3,200 square feet, rural, close to 175 Highway, secluded.
At the risk of anyone assuming I believe that Mendocino County is without its own upper crust, this beautiful estate with vineyard views shows that all is not more or less affordable in Mendocino than it is in Sonoma County. While I almost hate to say it, if you have the time, it’s worth scrolling through the pictures to check out the views and custom woodwork.
…and of course, the lake. I don’t know what it is about lakes or ponds on a property, but I’m a fan.
Sonoma County: 11825 Barnett Valley Rd, Sebastopol – $1,049,000
3 beds 2.5 baths 3,423 square feet, rural, close to the Bodega Freeway, not secluded.
If it’s views you want, no need to leave the county. This 5-acre estate in Sebastopol has miles of views – in almost every direction.
Sadly, no lake, but this billiard table looks promising in an upstair game room. I’m not certain this is included in the sale, but contingencies can always be made…