March median home prices

1992 $191,000

1997 192,750

2002 351,000

2007 565,000

2012 319,000

2017 639,000

source: Pacific Union, Press Democrat monthly housing reports

Sonoma County’s housing market set a record sale price in March, a jump fueled by strong demand and tight inventory.

The county’s median sales price for a single-family home last month reached $639,000, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report, compiled by Pacific Union International senior vice president Rick Laws. The price increased 14 percent from a year earlier.

In the past five years, prices have doubled.

It was the first time in 12 years the market has set a new high record. The March median price exceeded the former all-time peak of $619,000 set in August 2005. About two years later the housing market suffered an unprecedented slide, reaching bottom in February 2009 at $305,000.

“It’s a little crazy right this minute,” said Craig Curreri, a broker associate with Pacific Union in Santa Rosa.

Buyers continue to find themselves in a sellers market where multiple offers over the asking price are common for the relatively low number of available homes. This spring many buyers paid “premium prices” over what comparable homes had recently garnered, Curreri said.

When discussing the market with other agents, he said, the topic often turns to, “Can you believe what that house sold for?”

The 2005 peak price remains a higher value when adjusted for inflation. The amount would equal $772,000 in today’s dollars, according to calculations available from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Even so, the unadjusted median price over time remains a key marker for the housing market.

This year’s rise in the median price came not only from appreciation but also from a shift in the market caused by a significant jump in luxury home sales. Completed deals for homes selling for $1 million or more increased 41 percent to date this year compared to the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of homes selling for less than $600,000 decreased 24 percent.

In March, buyers purchased 349 single-family homes here, a decline of nearly 7 percent from a year earlier. County home sales have declined in three of the past four years.

Fewer than 570 homes were for sale at the end of March. The remaining inventory was skewed toward the higher end of the market. Only 133 of those homes were listed for less than $600,000, while 247 homes were listed for $1 million or more.

Check back later for more details.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @rdigit

March median home prices

1992 $191,000

1997 192,750

2002 351,000

2007 565,000

2012 319,000

2017 639,000

source: Pacific Union, Press Democrat monthly housing reports