Sonoma County home sales slowed in August to the lowest level in four years.

Buyers purchased 433 single-family homes, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International Vice President Rick Laws. Sales declined 15.1 percent from a year earlier and were the smallest number for the month since 400 homes were sold in August 2010.

The county’s median sales price declined to $475,000 in August from $510,000 in July. The median remained 8.7 percent higher than a year ago.

Inventory remained at about a two month’s supply at the current pace of sales. That is widely considered a sign of sellers’ market.

To date this year, sales have declined 9.3 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Sales may have dropped because buyers face tougher standards to obtain home loans and because there are fewer foreclosures and shorts sales on the market than in the last four years, said Gerrett Snedaker, a senior vice president in Sonoma for Wine Country Group by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

During those years, historically low interest rates have helped sales, he said, but many experts expect loan rates to eventually rise.

“I think we’re still working some normalization into the market after seven years of disruption,” Snedaker said. “It’s been so long, we’ve forgotten what normal is.”

— Robert Digitale

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