Sonoma County Real Estate A Challenging Year Begins Winding Down 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 Sonoma County median house price was about $180,000; it is currently running about $715,000.

As is typical, the number of new listings plunged in November. In the first week of December – not illustrated on this chart – new listing activity ticked back up from the short Thanksgiving week, but remained far below pre-November numbers. December is usually the month with the fewest new listings coming on market.

This chart also illustrates the temporary impacts of this year’s fires on new listing activity.

Market activity as measured by the number of listings going into contract peaked in mid-summer. Though dropping in November – as is the normal seasonal trend – the number was 50% 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 percentage in fall 2020 ran far above the same period of last year.

Months-supply-of-inventory is another measure of demand vs. supply, but with this metric, lower readings signify higher-demand markets.

Despite the fires, Sonoma was one of the top 4 Bay Area Counties as measured by the increase in dollar-volume sales. (By unit sales increase, it was one of the top 3 – not illustrated on this chart below.)

Sales activity for luxury homes soared since the pandemic struck. Amazingly, despite the significant effects of the fires, Sonoma saw the highest year-over-year percentage increase – 110% – in the number of luxury home sales during this period (second chart below).

Link to our full NorCal Luxury Home Market Report

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.

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