Sonoma County sales are off to a slow start this year as many sellers sit tight and buyers wait for further price declines. The usual winter dip in sales as well as the record rainfall that led to the worst flooding in decades has contributed to a decline in sales and in median home price.
In February, 227 single-family homes were sold in the county, down from 267 homes sold in February 2018. The median home price also fell to $620,000 down 15% from the February 2018 median home price of $689,000.
Despite the robust first half, the local housing market flattened considerably in 2018. The total value of all single-family homes sold countywide last year was $3.65 billion, almost $60 million less than the $3.71 billion in 2017, the first annual decline in the value of county home sales since 2011.
The wildfires in October 2017 contributed to steep price increases and low inventory/high demand through June 2018. There was a sudden influx of buyers looking for a place to live and home insurance companies were obligated to provide temporary housing similar to homes lost by fire survivors. Homes listed were snatched up quickly and inventory was depleted. The second anniversary of the wildfires in October 2019 will mark another critical milestone, with most home insurers ending monthly rents on temporary homes for fire survivors, which may translate into more buyers entering the market as some survivors choose to move on.
Many agents feel that sales activity will pick up again during Spring. Through the remainder of 2019, projected inventory of homes is expected to grow by 20%, while the median sales price is projected to increase by 3%.