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Inventory of for-sale homes at 12-year low in Sonoma

8 Feb 2013 1:42 PM
Inventory of for-sale homes at 12-year low in Sonoma

After several years during which homes often languished for several months before finding a buyer, Sonoma County real estate appears to have finally turned the corner, and houses are now flying off the market. According to the Press Democrat, Sonoma's inventory of for-sale homes has dipped to its lowest level in 12 years. This has led to increased competition for houses and contributed to rising home values throughout the county.

The inventory has been dropping for several consecutive months, but a recent swell of buying activity has now brought the situation to a new level.

"We have seen an inventory crush for quite some time, but especially this year," Rick Lawa, a local housing market analyst who compiles a monthly market report for the area, told the source. "It's gotten to the point of being drastic."

There were only 679 single-family homes for sale in Sonoma County in November, which represented a 22 percent drop from October and a 60 percent plummet from November 2011. For perspective, 2,597 homes were on the market just before the housing collapse hit in late 2007.

According to Equities, one of the causes of this rapid reduction in Sonoma inventory is due to the county's quickly improving economy. Unemployment is down and the region added more than 8,000 jobs in 2012. Combined with low interest rates and improving optimism, these trends have helped raise the median price for a home in the area by 18 percent over the course of the year.

According to Zillow, home prices in the county have been rising steadily since the end of 2011. However, a rapid spike in the last half of 2012 - likely prompted by diminishing supply - has helped prices return to a point that hasn't been seen for several years.