Todd & Lisa Sheppard
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Archive for August 2016

Sonoma County’s Housing Market Slowed in July

August 24th, 2016   by lisasheppard

Sonoma County home sales were a bit sluggish last month and declined 17% from a year earlier, with buyers purchasing a total of 450 homes, the lowest number in five years.   Add to that, the number of new listings hitting the market declined drastically, 20% from a year earlier and to the lowest level in seven years.  This means that the already tight housing inventory will become tighter, with fewer properties on the market and high demand.  These numbers have agents and brokers puzzled as to what is going on, with summer typically being the highest number of home sales and listings.

Elsewhere in the state, six counties reported declining home sales of over 10%:  San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Madeline Schnapp, PropertyRadar’s director of economic research, predicted that the slower sales will continue in urban communities and extend to suburban areas like Sonoma County, with higher-priced areas feeling the effects first.  Madeline indicated that tight inventory and high prices could mean a pause in home price increases through 2017.

Sonoma County’s median price here hit a record high of $619,000 in August 2005, then sank to a low of $305,000 during the economic recession in 2009.  The rebound of the housing market is now in its fifth year and each year median prices have risen an average of 8% or more.

Brokers will be watching home sale activity in the coming months because a drop in demand typically leads to a slowing or even a halt in appreciation.

Home Prices on the Rise

August 11th, 2016   by lisasheppard

Model house on money

National home prices increased 1.1% in June and 5.7% from a year earlier, according the Home Price Index forecast by CoreLogic.

Low mortgage rates have helped boost home sales nationally, and areas with strong economic growth had the highest home appreciation.  CoreLogic predicts that home prices will continue to increase by 5% or more over the next year.

Sonoma County’s Record $81 Billion Property Tax Roll Reflects Economic Turnaround

August 4th, 2016   by lisasheppard

Sonoma County’s taxable properties is at an all-time high of $81 billion, and this increase is due to rising home values, new construction and inflation.  Home values have risen consistently in the last four years, which has helped fuel the county’s economic turnaround.  During the recession, homeowners were seeing property values decrease and many homes were reassessed, allowing homeowners to enjoy lower property taxes during 2008-2010.  However, home values are increasing quickly at a rate not anticipated. This year’s assessment roll is up 5.9% from last year, and up 31% since the start of the recession in 2007.

The strong housing market has pushed the median single-family home price to $600,000 in June, slightly below the all-time high of $619,000 in August 2005.  That is mixed news for homeowners who will benefit from increased equity in their homes and for homeowners who were once underwater, but also means that most homeowners will be paying higher property taxes this year.

The largest increases in property values were in Cloverdale and Rohnert Park, with increases of 7.61% and 7.37%, respectively.  Cotati property values grew 6.36%, Petaluma 6.26%, Sonoma 6.1%, Healdsburg 5.94%, Santa Rosa 5.57%, Sebastopol 5.2% and Windsor 4.88%.

While higher property taxes may not be the best news for homeowners, those funds do provide funding for public schools, local governments and services, and the general fund which helps fund a host of county services and initiatives, such as housing, preschools, roads, and infrastructure.

Sonoma County home values are expected to continue to climb next year, with the property tax assessment roll projected to increase 3%.