Sonoma County Economic Forecast

View from Francis Ford Coppola Winery - A Sonoma County Destination

Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to hear Ben Stone of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board speak on the state of the economy in Sonoma County in general and specifically in Sebastopol.  I have known Ben for years – long before I entered the business of real estate – and have always found his comments to be well formed and appropriate.  I was going to say accurate but who really can predict the future?

Ben is a very positive guy – and he worked hard to come up with some positive economic news.  It was very nice to hear that the West County Schools have above average SAT scores and the lowest drop out rate in the county.  The other good news was actually on home sales.  While the Press Democrat recently had the headline “Mortgage defaults jump” (which is a very misleading headline), Sebastopol saw a rebound of 4.3% in home sales from 2009-2010.

The prediction for Sonoma County is that the pace of recovery is likely to follow the path of the broader U. S. economy.  Why?  Because Sonoma County exports products outside of the area (read WINE) and tourism is dependent upon the country having the disposable income in order to travel.  Thanks to these industries, Sonoma County is in the top 20-30 economic areas of the United States.

From my perspective, the housing market is in much better condition than recent years.  The struggle today is to get loans closed in a timely manner.  The closings happen but always with a delay.  If you are looking to buy or sell, keep this in mind.

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