Archive for July 1st, 2009

What is really happening in the Sebastopol Real Estate Market?

Last week (while I was vacationing in Vancouver BC) a friend emailed me that the latest comments to disturb her were in an article in the Press Democrat that the over million dollar market was holding its own.   I immediately wrote her back to counter that opinion.  Things are not moving well in the luxury home market.  A sale just closed outside of Forestville for around $3.4M which sounds pretty good.  Until you learn that it was on the market for over $5M and that there is income from a vineyard that brings in a pretty penny.  Then there is the $1.2M listing that has a new lovely home, a granny unit and a swimming pool in Sebastopol proper that has had at least one price reduction and still no offer.  This would have been unheard of in years past (even last year).  So I am not sure where the opinion that the high end market is holding its own is coming from.  It could be that list prices are still high but without anything selling, who can say that prices are holding.  

For the record, here are some statistics on the over $1M market in Sebastopol.

1.  36 homes are on the market

2.  3 properties have sold since January 1, 2009

3.  2 properties went into contract in June

4.  10 new properties went on the market in June

5.  No homes in this price range sold in May or June

6.  The current inventory is at 15 months – up from 8 months in June 2008

I do not believe that the sellers of these homes feel that the high end market is doing well.

Two other market categories are of interest to those of us who closely follow the real estate market in Sebastopol.  One is the under $600K market.  Why is this interesting?  Because three years ago, this market was a tear down classification.  There was nothing move in ready in this price range.  Today it is a very different story.  Yes, there are still some properties that need to be taken to the ground and rebuilt.  But there are now homes that are ready to move in.  They may even have granite countertops and dual pane windows.  It is a very active market.  Looking at the same statistics as the over a million market:

1.  45 homes are on the market

2.  43 have sold since January 1, 2009

3.  16 went into contract in June

4.  12 came onto the market in June

5.  6 homes sold in June

6.  The current inventory is a 2 month supply – down from 5 months in June 2008

The bulk of Sebastopol homes now fall into the market between these two extremes.  Ranging from $600K to $1M are the most desirable accommodations around Sebastopol.  These are mainly larger homes on reasonable lot sizes that range from dated but livable to down right knock-your-socks-off beautiful.  Many homes that have in the past sold above $1M are finding themselves in this category.  In is a solid market segment.  The same statistics are:

1.  59 homes are on the market

2. 28 have sold since January 1, 2009

3. 11 went into contract in June

4.  13 came on the market in June

5.  9 sold in June

6.  The current inventory is a 4 month supply – down from 9 months in June 2008.

These statistics were taken from the BAREIS MLS which is used by all local REALTORS. 

If you would like further details on the Sebastopol Real Estate Market or in your specific area of Sonoma County, please drop me an email or give me a call.  Better yet, comment on this blog.  I would be happy to provide you with the information that you seek.

What do I think is really happening in real estate in general?  Check back in and you will get my thoughts on where we are going.  Just a hint – I think we are in for some more price drops at the higher end of the market.  Some of these are going to have to sell.


July 2009


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