In The News

Jeff Schween for The Press Democrat – America’s Biggest Land Grab

America’s Biggest Land Grab

The future first commander-in-chief of our nation found himself, on this day in 1777, embarking on his storied journey to Valley Forge setting in motion – along with 12,000 soldiers – events that would truly shape our history. The courageous task at hand and willingness to risk life and limb for such stalwart beliefs of independence and fair representation were some of the initial heartbeats and breathes of our great nation. Our culture, even though more advanced today, still believes in the fundamental principles that continue to guide America 239 years later. This genetic embodiment has survived and though we enjoy a much higher standard of living now, we still encounter challenges both personally and culturally.

Having worked with and seen the many sides of the “American Dream” go in numerous directions for countless contacts – sometimes of their own doing and sometimes due to external forces – you would surmise that it takes constant courage along with stalwart beliefs and a willingness to continue to take action – even in the face of defeat – to accomplish most life changing events.

Creating a strategy that addresses your quest to accomplish acquiring the most suitable home for yourself requires deep thinking, interactive and reasonable evaluations along with pragmatic reviews of the best choices for your specific situation. Equipping yourself with factual information and reliable statistics may help you pierce through the rhetoric of others to find your optimal realization.

Sonoma County, the largest in the North Bay by population and transactions, witnessed its’ median price for a single-family home taper back to $575,000 – still over nine percent higher than a year ago.

According to BAREIS MLS, Sonoma County closed November with 604 single-family homes for sale on the open market. The marketplace typically sees definitive growth in inventory as each new year unfolds with peaks typically showing in spring and summer months while valleys appear in fall and winter. This November, Sonoma County buyers successfully contracted to purchase 320 homes – 13 percent less than in 2015 – notably due to a function of the fact that sellers brought only 207 new listings to the market – a staggering 23 percent less than a year ago. Transactions were completed on 375 homes during the period creating an exacerbated absorption rate of 62 percent – putting sellers on notice that opportunity lies ahead in the next quarter.

The absorption rate is calculated by dividing the total number of homes sold in a month by the total number of homes available for sale at the end of the same month. A high absorption rate – 20 percent and above – indicates that the supply of available homes will shrink rapidly, thereby increasing the odds that an owner will sell a property in a shorter period of time. Conversely, an absorption rate below 15 percent is indicative of a buyer’s market, meaning homes are selling more slowly.

Marin County is still encountering very similar conditions as its neighbor to the north. The month of November brought a paltry 72 new single-family homes to market – 30 percent fewer than twelve months prior – while buyers managed to contract for 134 new deals, leaving 230 units available by months end as sellers concluded sales on 134 abodes – only nine percent less than this same time last year and a condition subject solely to the crumbling supply of new inventory. Marin buyers remain watchful every day for new offerings as this market has an elevated absorption rate of 63 percent along with a current median price of $1,050,000. Napa County buyers negotiated 99 new contracts during November, while also only seeing 72 new listings make their way to market – affirming the trends throughout the North Bay. Inventory comparisons to the prior year indicate that the active supply of homes is down 10 percent from a year ago and will likely decline further as the seasonality of our winter markets take hold. Napa buyers were left with only 295 homes to select from as the month concluded leaving the county with a heightened absorption rate of 35 percent along with a median price of $638,000.

Change appears to be constantly upon us and if we are not growing then we are inevitably shrinking. Foreseeing pressure on interest rates – likely inflation with it – you may want to be on the forefront of grabbing your own piece of the pie to better secure your future and even your family’s legacy.

By Jeff Schween, of Pacific Union International’s Santa Rosa office.