Home Buying in 95404>Question Details

Mic, Home Buyer in 95404

Will the market in Santa Rosa, CA, open up?

Asked by Mic, 95404 Mon Mar 5, 2012

The market in Santa Rosa, CA, seems very slow right now. Nothing much new in our price range ($700-850K) seems to be coming up. Lots above, and lots below, but that seems dry. In your experience, what are the market trends? Should we push our budget to get a more expensive house now, or wait it out?

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Buy my beautiful home in Sonoma instead. 4bdrm. 3 ba. 3 car garage, nice street. nice neighbors. $835K. Carol: 707-996-1047
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 16, 2013
It all depends on ones price range. Under 500K is getting multiple offers on a lot of homes and selling over listing price. As a Realtor I would of course need to know location and more details of my clients needs to answer in the most accurate of ways.

Where the upper end of the market is a buyers market still unlike the lower end that is a sellers market at this time and it is not looking like inventory will be getting a lot better anytime soon until there is confidence in everyone that they can sell.

Feel free to contact me and go to my website at http://www.housesinsonomacounty.com and you will recieve a free app if you register to search for properties while you are on the go. Thank you Kelly Dale Lyles
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 31, 2013
Well, it all depends what you WANT for your price range! You can certainly outbid a lot of others with your credit and or cash. What I think has happened is that the banks are no longer flooding the market, and inventory is low. To make matters worser, many agents are still listing short sales and regular listings at low enough prices to get multiple offers, and from what I am seeing, every listing is getting multiple offers and selling higher than what was listed. The problem with this is that there are many homeowner sitting on the sidelines who are waiting for the market to come up to sell their house and finally downsize or retire. These people see the listing prices and think that is what their house is worth, and don't want to list yet until prices are higher, not knowing the actual selling prices. So I think it's going to take a little while for more people to realize that they can get what they want and start listing these house in waiting!
In my opinion, what you need to do is have a realtor helping you prepare for the steady flow of more and more inventory getting released by this summer. The season is still just getting started. I'm sure there are many homeowners preparing their homes for sale for this summer. Many folks with kids wait till summer when the kids are done with school. Your other option is to look for things that you can remodel. Drop me an email and I'll be happy to talk more. Best, Terry Bell, CPS RE Santa Rosa, CA 707-292-5712 TerryinSR@aol.com DRE#01414808
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 21, 2013
The market now is at a 1.35 months supply of inventory--under 4 months is considered an "appreciating" marketplace. So you can do the math on this one. It's up to you to factor WHAT you can afford and what your threshold of "pain" is. Remember, our median price shot up $50,000 over last year with less sales but HUGE demand driving the market. Rates are creeping up and the FED has set an unemployment rate of 7% as the time to let the Interest Rates float--not a good thing--so monitor this and other indices.
Somethings to consider--while you wait prices are going up. IF we use 5% appreciation a 6 month's delay while you ponder your moves--in the $700,000 price point is $35,000. Rates go up say a 1/2 a point on a jumbo loan and you can add THAT difference to the $35,000. We explore this topic plus many more on our weekly Sonoma County radio show:
The Real Estate Hour, Sundays 9 to 10am, KSRO, 1350AM or streaming live at http://www.KSRO.com. Wish to talk to us more discreetly? Try: NoDumbQuestion@gmail.com Allison and I believe there are NO DUMB questions in Real Estate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 18, 2013
We have just passed the time when there was a surplus of homes for sale in all price ranges. What changed? Several things have changed in the last three months.

First of all, low interest rates have always lead the real estate market out of a downturn. Interest rates are as low as they have been since 1953!! This means that it is actually cheaper to own than to rent, and that does not even include the tax benefits of ownership! As a result, renters are buying, and investors are buying to rent homes out and make a nice income. This is especially true of homes up to about $300,000. Homes in that price range usually sell very fast, with multiple offers, even if they need work. The number of anxious buyers has exploded.

Meanwhile, the supply of homes was not expanding as fast as the demand. This has resulted in higher prices already. So, homes that may have been in the upper $200,000 range in January through March 2012 are now going on the market in the $300,000 range. The demand in all price ranges has surged, driving up prices.

What happened to the supply? Well, for some known reasons, and for some reasons I think are true, the banks have been releasing less foreclosures and short sales onto the market. They used to account for over half of the homes for sale.

Since they were foreclosures and, and there was little demand, prices were declining. This was made worse by the way appraisers were being treated. They were prohibited from appraising a new sale for more than the last sale. Consequently, if any errors were made in the appraisal, the values could only go down, and they did.
Now, the banks also realized that they were giving the homes away when they suddenly saw multiple offers and prices being bid up. They made an extra effort to help homeowners, even those who had not made a payment in two years, stay in their home. The Banks were, and are modifying the loans to interest rates as low as 1.5%, and adding the unmade payments to the end of the loan.
The result is that about the same time the number of buyers exploded, the banks decided to hold foreclosures off the market, and help homeowners avoid short sales. Now, I speculate that part of the reason for this is also that we are in an election year. ALL incumbants want to be re-elected, and unhappy homeowners will vote to "Throw the B******s out when they lose their home. I think the banks are being leaned on to avoid taking homes away from voters.... at least until the election in November. This has made the number of available homes shrink. The political influence mechanism may not be as direct as this, but the effect is the same.
However, at the same time, sellers who are not in trouble or have avoided it by stretching their savings, etc. now see that there is a good market to sell into. So, we are seeing a large number of NON-foreclosed and NON-short sale homes coming on the market. Still, many owners are waiting for even better times down the road. So, we still are coming up short on available homes.
Another phenomenon holding down the inventory is that banks like Bank Of America have sold Billions of Dollars worth of foreclosures and potential foreclosures to investors like Warren Buffet ($10 Billion recently) with the requirement that these homes be rented or otherwise kept off the market for about five years.
So, what does this mean for you, looking in the $600,000 range? Well, it is the same in any of the price ranges. The inventory is short, and there are many other buyers who want to buy a property that is in good condition and at a good price. SO, you have to be ready to wade into the fray when you see one you like. You can be sure that if YOU like it, somebody else will too. You have to be prepared to enter a multiple bid situation and use all your strengths to win out. This means offering cash, perhaps getting a loan on some other property, maybe one you will be selling to make the move. It means overbidding a property that is an obviously good buy, and overbidding the other overbidders. It means offering the Seller certainty in the form of bank letters and bank statements and promises to close escrow in 30 days or less, so you are chosen to be the lucky buyer. It means having a good agent who can assess the conditions and advise you on what to do to be the successful bidder.
Now, if nothing you see in your chosen price range is attractive, even though there are more and more homes coming on the market as we go into the summer Buying and Selling season, you may have to venture higher, or offer low on obviously overpriced properties. Overpriced properties will simply sit there until the Seller becomes realistic.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 28, 2012
You may be able to look at higher priced homes and bargain them into your range. Since there is more inventory in the upper end homes a buyer may have more bargaining power than in other price ranges. Take a good look at what you are wanting. In this market, there are may be homes in lower price ranges that would have the same features you are looking for in the $700 to $850 range. My advice would be to find a Realtor you like working with, who has a good feel for what you want, and stick with that person. Your loyalty will be rewarded by having an agent who keeps current and up to the minute with new listings, who will ask other agents for properties soon to be on the market that might suit you, and who might even contact owners in areas you like, to see if any of the owners in that area might be interested in selling. Also - going up in price does not necessarily translate to a home you like better. It might just be a bigger version of something you already rejected. Be as flexible as possible. Be loyal to your agent. I wish you luck. Call me if I can be of assistance. Arlee cell 479-2499.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 6, 2012
How about the one I just listed on 1646 Ronne Dr. in 95404 for $799K 6 Bdrms, 3baths, and 2 half-baths brand new on a 1/3 acre! Vacant Lot and fixer house on next parcels are also available! See it on my website! http://www.TerrysHomes4sale.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 16, 2012
If you push the budget and prices firm up and rates go up than buying now will have been the right decision. On the other hand if we have a very large amount of inventory come on the market that is distressed we could see prices soften.

Overall inventory is down and rates are low. This follows the previous few years of high inventory that has been absorbed. This is usually a sign of a stronger market ahead which leads to price stability.

The question on every ones mind is what the banks will do as they are still in the driver’s seat as far as inventory goes. If they dump inventory on the market they will be hurting the value of their portfolio and I do not believe that most banks are in a position to incur further losses. They maybe have learned their lesson the last few years.

We do not know what the banks will do. I think it would be smarter for them to keep inventory down and with a job recovery on the horizon, with low we should see price stability.

The Fed has and is printing. There are signs of inflation everywhere, this could have an effect on Real Estate values, however I in no way am pretending to be an economist.

Looking south in the Bay area, San Francisco, Palo Alto and even Santa Rosa, rents are on the way up. A quick Craig’s list search shows rents in San Francisco ranging from $3,000 to $9500 per month for apartments. Locally low interest rates combined with 10-20% down payments will result in mortgage payments equal to asking rents.

As always we highly recommend you speak to a mortgage broker and your accountant. If you need a referral or want to engage in further conversation I can be reached at cell 707-695-8811
Web Reference: http://www.LuxuryHome.pro
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 16, 2012

Are you working with an agent that has emailed you expired listings where the buyers have given up on selling their home? That un-advertised inventory is one way to increase your property choices with sellers who may be very, very motivated.

Do not go over your budget what ever you decide...but feel free to increase the price range of your searches. Remember list price is not sales price and an aggressive agent will often be able to get you a better result then you may have envisioned.

To more accurately answer your question an agent would need to know square footage, lot size, bedroom and bathroom count and most importaly the area of Santa Rosa.

Since I focus on upper end properties I can tell you that it is far better to be a buyer looking above 500K since it is still a buyers market. Under that price and it is a feeding freenzy for good properties that are priced correctly.

Also we are seeing more upper end short sales. There are short sales in the 850K range and I expect more higher priced short sales to come onto the market. 1 out of 5 mortgages over a million is in default, although that statistic include many that may be a strategic default to motivate the lender to do a loan modifcaiton.

Anyone who posts here would be happy to assit you, meet with you, or take a call to answer more questions.
I am no exception. My cell is 707-292-8400.


Web Reference: http://www.yarrowkubrin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
Just yesterday I was cleaning out an old file box and came across a real estate trade magazine with the feature article on how the market is due to come roaring back. The magazine was from 2009. So, I would not push your budget. No one can really say where the market is going with any confidence. It will eventually go up, but when, we don't know. In the meantime financial peace of mind is an even greater luxury than any home you could purchase.

Right now the market activity is still firmly in the $500K and below range and a lot of cash transactions. The banks are not lending easily; some say not at all. Traditionally the market starts to come to life towards the 3rd week in March.

My advise: Have your financing firmly in place with as large a down as you can afford, then have your agent do a postcard mailing to the neighborhoods you're looking at with enough detail about you to convince the recipients that you are real Buyers and see what turns up. Good luck! The right place will come up if you're prepared and patient.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
The answer is in having an agent working with you already! Many homeowners are waiting on the sidelines for the market to come back before they put their home on the market, or may have had their home on the market and it didn't sell. By working with an agent who knows what you're looking for and what you can afford, and what neighborhoods you're looking at, can do a lot of research since we have more advanced search engines than the public, can perhaps locate soon to be short sales, homes that were expired listings, and lots of other properties. I would be happy to help you in your quest! Best, Terry Bell, CPS Real Estate, Santa Rosa, CA 707-292-5712
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
Linda was absolutely right about the inventory situation. The lower tiers of the market are seeing multiple offers and overbids, but your price range hasn't experienced as much demand and sellers are holding back from jumping in to test the market. I think most agents are hoping that sellers that are on the sidelines respond to the increase in buying by putting their homes on the market. You can probably anticipate an increase in listings over the next month according to seasonal patterns. I link to a post about recent REO sales in Sonoma County to illustrate the hot trends in that market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
I've been analyzing the markets for several years now specifically for trends. So far, my analyses have been on the mark.

Here's some advice:

1. be wary of pushing your budget. be conservative. hold tight. this county is heading for harder times. don't be afraid to wait a bit, as prices above your range may slump into your range. However the down side is that price drop may push those homes into short sale status... many of which fail to complete the transaction prior to foreclosure.

2. median and average home prices in sonoma county have been slumping approx 6%/year since 2007 and right now there's 99 homes scheduled for auction in Santa Rosa in the next 3.5 months. However, only 9 are scheduled for auction with estimated values above $600k. so future pickings may be somewhat slim there.

3. if you want those property addresses, just email me and ask for them. at least you can drive by those properties to see what may be coming on the market in the not too distant future. that may give you a way to help you decide how best to proceed.

Buying real estate is tough right now. So don't give up, and don't give in. You'll be very glad down the road if you follow that advice. cj
Web Reference: http://www.cjholmes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
Inventory is low compared to last year, and properties that are priced right do sell immediately. You may want to look a little higher. Some properties in the higher range may come down. What are you looking for - area, square footage, etc.? I would be happy to email you properties that fit your needs as they come on the market and pitch your needs to other agents that may have listings coming on the market.

Feel free to contact me at LindaHomer@Realtor.com or my office phone is 707-636-1612 and cell is 707-328-0125. I would be happy to work with you to find a home that fits your needs.

Linda Homer, CRS GRI
Broker Associate
Frank Howard Allen Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
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