Napa County Real Estate – 2021 Begins

Our January report focused mostly on 2020’s annual statistics. This report will put most of its attention on quarterly and monthly indicators, which better illustrate changes occurring as 2020 progressed: pre-pandemic to initial pandemic crash through the subsequent market recovery. Napa County, of course, was also impacted by the terrible fires in late summer, and especially in early autumn as the 4th quarter was beginning.

The 2021 market started off very strong: The number of listings going into contract in January was almost 50% higher than in January 2020. As is the norm, the number of new listings coming on market started to climb from its typical annual low point in December – and new listing activity was also up year-over-year in January.

We are using the photo above as a fond remembrance of pre-pandemic days, with the hope of their earliest possible return.

The next chart compares the year-over-year changes in sales for homes selling for over and under $2 million. Sales in the higher price segment saw a very substantial surge in 2020, while sales under $2 million saw a smaller increase. Neither statistic really does justice to the rapid acceleration in market activity occurring in the second half of the year.

The big jump in high-price home sales was a common dynamic around most of the Bay Area.

Generally low inventory levels of listings on the market have played a large role in the heat of the market.

Month by month, year-over-year comparison of the number of listings accepting offers (going into contract) – illustrating the initial pandemic drop in activity followed by the market rebound that saw monthly market activity climb far above the levels of the previous year.

The 2 tables below reflect market statistics and values for Q4 2020 only. They will often be different than those for the full year 2020. Median sales values can fluctuate for a number of reasons, and are especially prone to do so in markets with low sales volumes and wide ranges in home prices. Most of Napa’s communities have both relatively affordable segments as well as extremely expensive homes.

Note that it is not unusual for more expensive markets to have softer supply and demand statistics – such as higher average days on market figures, and lower percentages of listings accepting offers within the period – though this is not always the case.

Luxury home sales in Napa and Sonoma Counties by city and price segment:

The tremendous surge in luxury home sales in Q3 softened in Q4, undoubtedly affected by the early autumn fires.

Two of the factors behind the housing market recovery were the dramatic drop in interest rates, and the significant rebound in the stock market – especially in the stock prices of some of our Bay Area high-tech giants.

Of course, another big factor for Napa County was the migration of inner Bay Area residents to beautiful, less densely populated areas after the pandemic struck.