Sonoma County Real Estate Market: Feb. 2017

Prices Up, Sales Down to Start the Year

The median price for single-family, re-sale homes in Sonoma County was up for the fifty-fifth month in a row, year-over-year.

While bumping up against a new all-time high this year, the homes median price did not reach the high of $618,450 set in August 2005. The average home price did set a new record high in June, showing that the high-end of the market was very active.

We expect prices to remain firm in the coming months due to a lack of inventory. Homes for sale are about one third of their average since January 1998.

Mortgage Rate Outlook

Feb. 3, 2017 — Thanks to an early-week settling of interest rates from a soft stock market, our expected small bump for mortgage rates failed to materialize this week for the most part. That’s actually a good sign, given the onslaught of new data to process and a Federal Reserve meeting to digest, situations that have produced higher rates in the not-that-distant past.

The Federal Reserve met on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss monetary policy. No action by the central bank was expected, and none came, but we did detect perhaps a bit more confidence being expressed by the Fed in the statement that closed the two-day affair. Although the text was mostly unchanged from the prior missive, those usually noted that “Inflation is expected to rise to 2 percent over the medium term”; the latest was more absolute, stating that “inflation will rise to 2 percent over the medium term.”

Futures markets had already discounted the likelihood of a move by the Fed at its next meeting in mid-March to less than a 20 percent chance, but new data in the days after the meeting took this to below 10 percent by late Friday. Our view is that a lot can change in six weeks, and if the Fed is serious about making perhaps three moves in short-term rates this year it may not want to cram them all in to the last half of 2017. We’ll see how all that plays out as we go.

Mortgage rates seem to us to be back in a place where they are in no hurry to run strongly in one direction or the other, at least not by much and not for long. As such, we’ll figure on a wobble of a few basis points in Freddie Mac’s average 30-year FRM, probably downward (but nearly equally as likely to rise).


  • Median home prices increased by 5.0% year-over-year to $580,000 from $552,500.
  • The average home sales price rose by 5.1% year-over-year to $718,098 from $683,543.
  • Home sales fell by 11.3% year-over-year to 220 from 248.
  • Active listings rose 10.1% year-over-year to 646 from 587.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio rose by 0.7% year-over-year to 99.2% from 98.4%.
  • The average days on market fell by 7.6% year-over-year to 84 from 91.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices slipped by 0.9% to $580,000 from $585,000.
  • The average home sales price rose by 1.4% to $718,098 from $708,310.
  • Home sales down by 22% to 220 from 282.
  • Active listings increased 14.7% to 646 from 563.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio dropped by 0.1% to 99.2% from 99.3%.
  • The average days on market increased by 6.4% to 84 from 79.

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