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Wine Country Real Estate Trends in December 2013 and Annual Results

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By Gerrett Snedaker

Garret Snedaker

Garret Snedaker

2013 Results for Sonoma County, Napa County and Wine Country: According to figures from BAREIS MLS system, for the year, Sonoma County had 5,599 residential properties sold.  This compares to 6,125 a year ago – a decrease of 8.6%.  The dollar volume for 2013 was $2.8 billion, 11.7% higher than the sales volume of $2.5 billion in 2012.  The average price increased 22% from $416,000 in 2012 to $508,000 in 2013.

For Napa County, there were 1,633 closed residential properties in 2013 compared to 1,642 in 2012.  This is a decrease of less than 1%.  The sales dollar volume increased 14% from $892 million to $1.2 billion.  The average price increased 15% from $543,000 in 2012 to $623,000 in 2013.

Combining the two for a Wine Country total, the number of units sold decreased by 7% from 7,767 to 7,232.  The total sales volume increased by 14.7% from $3.44 billion to $3.86 billion and the average selling price increased 20.5% from $443,000 to $534,000.

For the Month of December:

Sonoma County: Sonoma County has the lowest inventory of available homes (575) for any month going back as far as my database does – January 2000. Even in the height of the boom market in 2004-05, we had more inventory than we do now.  The inventory is 5% lower than it was in December 2012 (605).  For the past decade, our inventory peaked at 3,552 units in September 2007.  We currently have less than 20% of that amount.  The available inventory dropped from 702 units last month – a 18% drop – but this mirrors the trend of most years when inventory drops for the holidays.

New sales (297) were 22% lower than last year (380) and 34% below that of last month (450).  This is the lowest pace of sales for any month going back to January 2008.  There is a 1.9 months supply of inventory based on the existing sales pace – an indication of a “Seller’s market”.  New listings for the month (194) were 28% lower than the pace in December 2012 (269).  The median price of homes closed in December in Sonoma County ($425,000) was 20% ahead of the median price of a year ago ($355,000) but it has been generally stable since June of this year.

Distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) currently make up 8.5% of the inventory and 16% of the new sales.  One year ago, the distressed property inventory represented 14% of the overall inventory and distressed sales represented 37% of all new sales.  There is 0.9 months supply of inventory of distressed properties based on the current sales pace.  The median price of 56 distressed properties that sold in the month of December ($321,000) was 19% higher than December a year ago ($270,000).

Sonoma County Luxury Homes: Sales of luxury homes (sales price in excess of $900,000) in the Sonoma County have enjoyed a strong growth in activity in the last twelve months.  There has been a 31% increase in the number of luxury homes closed (428) from 1/1/13 to 12/31/13 compared to 327 from 1/1/12 to 12/31/12.  There were 28 new luxury home sales in December 2013 compared to 14 in December 2012.

Sonoma Valley: There were just 25 available homes in inventory at the end of December in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood).  This is the lowest level of inventory for any month going back as far as my database does – January 2000.  It is 29% lower than the inventory a year ago (77) and 36% below the inventory last month (86). There were 34 new sales for the month.  This is slightly below the sales in December 2012 (37) and 17% behind the pace last month (41).  There is just one distressed property (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure) in the inventory in Sonoma, so that market has essentially dried up.

Coastal Sonoma: Things continued to be busy in the Coastal Sonoma (Bodega Bay, Jenner and Stewart’s Point) market.  Sales for the month of December were 7 homes compared to 2 a year ago and 4 last month.  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Coastal Sonoma (23) at the end of December 2013 was 18% lower than that of a year ago (28) and was 26% lower than last month (31).  There is a 3.3 months supply of available inventory in the Coastal Sonoma market based on the current pace of new sales.  The days on market (130) remains relatively high when compared to the rest of the County (77).

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (44) in Healdsburg at the end of December was down 21% from that of last year (56) and it was down 20% from that of last month (55).  This is the lowest inventory in Healdsburg in the past 13 years.  New sales (12) were slightly below the 15 new sales in December 2012 and were slightly ahead of the 9 sales last month.  The months of available inventory based on the current sales pace is 3.7 months.   There is only one “distressed property” (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure), currently available in Healdsburg.

Petaluma: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (43) in Petaluma at the end of December was 12% lower than a year ago (49) and it was 48% lower than the supply last month (54).  As with the County as a whole, this is the lowest level of inventory in Petaluma since the year 2000.  New sales in December (28) were 48% below the pace in December 2012 (54) and they were 49% lower than the pace of last month (55).  There is a 1.5 months supply of inventory based on the current sales pace.  Distressed properties (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure) make up 14% of the available inventory, 3% of new sales and 14% of closings for the month.

Sebastopol Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (35) in Sebastopol at the end of December was 25.5% lower than that of December 2012 (47) and it was 39% lower than that of last month (54).  As with the County as a whole, this is the lowest inventory recorded for Sebastopol since 2000.  There were just 11 new sales for the month of December compared to 18 in December 2012 and 23 for last month.  This is the lowest number of sales in Sebastopol for any month since December of 2008.  There is a 3.2 months supply of inventory based on the current sales pace.  There are only three distressed properties (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure) available in Sebastopol.  This market is essentially out of distressed properties at the current time.  If they come on the market, they sell right away.

If you would like a monthly update of this information, or information on other market areas, please drop me an e-mail at gsned@winecountrygroup.com