For the past 48 months, Sonoma County’s home prices have consistently remained higher from a year earlier. That trend held in May when the median single-family home price rose to $580,500, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report, compiled by Pacific Union International senior vice president Rick Laws. The price increased 6.5 percent from a year earlier. The last time home prices were higher 12 months earlier was in May 2012. Four years ago the median price was $329,500, and the housing market was just starting a rebound that continues to this day.
“We have been consistently recovering,” Laws said Monday. “And we are in recovery.” Buyers last month purchased 428 single-family homes in the county. The total was 5.9 lower than a year earlier. But to-date sales for 2016 are nearly identical to the same period for the past two years.
The housing market remains a place where large numbers of county residents can’t afford a home and many potential buyers face obstacles when seeking property, agents and brokers say. Such buyers include those looking for condominiums and smaller homes and those who need to sell a property in order to buy another one.
If you’re a buyer competing for houses priced under $500,000, “you are struggling,” said Vicki Roberts, an agent with Bertolone Realty in Santa Rosa. This week Roberts offered a home in Rohnert Park for $479,000 and quickly received five offers and plenty of inquiries. “I’ve been swamped with calls,” she said. The county’s median price now stands just 7 percent below the record high of $619,000 set in August 2015. That peak came in the midst of a national housing bubble made possible by risky residential lending.
By Robert Digitale
The Press Democrat