Napa County Real Estate December 2020 Report

Though Covid-19 upended many normal seasonal trends this year, and then the fires added their impacts, the market did begin its typical “holiday season” slowdown in November – however activity remained well above levels of last year. It is unknown how the latest pandemic circumstances may affect the market in December, which is usually by far the slowest month of the year.

More importantly, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well during this challenging holiday season.

This first chart tracks percentage changes in median house sales price since 1990. It is based upon the Q1 2000 price being indexed to 100: A reading of 50 signifies a median price half that in Q1 2000; 200 means the price has doubled since then. In early 1990, the Napa County median house price was about $180,000; it is currently running about $800,000.

Despite the fires, Napa County ranked second in the Bay Area for the largest year-over-year percentage increase in dollar volume sales since the pandemic struck.

As pandemic and fires hit, the number of new listings coming on market saw sharp declines, but then spiked back up each time. Market activity usually begins its big holiday season drop in November, with activity hitting its annual low point in December.

A major factor in the market has been the relatively low levels of inventory this year.

Market activity, as measured by the number of listings going into contract, peaked in summer. Then the fires had an impact. Though dropping in October and November – as is the normal seasonal trend – the number in November was 38% higher than in November 2019.

The below chart measures demand as compared to the supply of listings available to buy, i.e. the percentage of active listings going into contract during the month. The percentages in summer and fall 2020 ran far above the same periods of last year.

Strong buyer demand and low inventory brought about a considerable year-over-year decline in the number of price reductions.

Luxury home sales soared in the Wine Country to new heights, but was then severely affected by the fires. Still, Napa County luxury home sales were up 43% since the pandemic hit as compared to the same period of 2019. (By total number of annual home sales, Napa County is the smallest real estate market in the Bay Area.)

Highest priced listings on the market in early November, and the highest priced MLS home sales occurring May through October 2020, by Bay Area County.

And interest rates hit another all-time low in early December.

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