California North Coast home prices tick up in August, but interest rate rise is taking a bite

North Bay home prices ticked up last month in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties, but Mendocino, Lake and Marin counties followed the San Francisco Bay Area trend in downward price movement from July, according to the latest data.

That’s the anticipated market reaction to rapidly rising mortgage interest rates amid central bankers’ battle against inflation.

After peaking at $2.1 million in April, the median price in Marin continued to move downward, to $1.25 million in August, the California Association of Realtors reported. Median prices are a metric that as many homes are selling for more than the median as they are for less.

The median price for single-family existing homes sold across the nation in August was $440,000, while the median in California was $839,500, according to the state and national trade groups. For the North Bay, the median was $738,000, according to Gerrett Snedaker, broker for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wine Country Group, which has 12 North Bay offices and about 200 agents.

Availability of homes for sale in the North Bay is falling, as are closed deals, according to Snedaker.

“Inventory remains low on a historical basis,” he wrote on his blog Thursday about market conditions.

At times, the number of homes for sale has exceeded 10,000 in the Bay Area Real Estate Information Service listings for Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, Snedaker noted.

Multiple listing service data for August show North Bay inventory was 2,747 homes for sale, 14% below the 3,180 listings a year before and 13% below the inventory in July (3,163). Snedaker noted that it was the second month in a row in which inventory dropped on a month to month basis.

Sales in the region in last month (1,176) were 21% ahead of July sales (1,144) but 18% below the 1,680 sales the previous August.

Following a national trend as the cost or mortgages increases, North Bay homes are being marketed at lower prices than a year ago, according to data Snedaker analyzed.

Across the country about 40% of the homes currently put into the multiple listing services are having price reductions before they eventually sell, a measure called the price-reduction ratio, he noted.

“In much of our region, the ratios are lower,“ Snedaker wrote.

Last month, the ratio of North Bay listed homes with price reductions was 37%, compared with about 40% nationwide. But ratios for Sonoma and Napa counties were even lower, at 27% and 34%, respectively, while Mendocino County’s was higher at 49%.

Homes selling over list price accounted for 42% of Sonoma County sales in August, 34% in Napa County but just 5% in Mendocino County.

Statewide, sales of existing single-family homes benefited from a brief dip in interest rates.

“California’s housing market stabilized briefly as a temporary reprieve on mortgage rates in July and early August brought buyers into the market,” said California Association of Realtors President Otto Catrina, a Bay Area real estate broker, said in a statement. “Active listings have passed their annual peak, and while homes are taking slightly longer to sell, the share of homes seeing price reductions has also stabilized to near pre-pandemic levels. In fact, price growth in August actually picked up on both a monthly and annual basis, and pending sales suggest a bounce-back for homes priced $2 million and above.”

Area August 2022 August 2021 Price monthly change Price annual change Sales monthly change Sales annual change
San Francisco Bay Area $1,250,000 $1,265,000 -3.8% -1.2% 9.9% -29.1%
Lake County $330,000 $335,000 -7.3% -1.5% -15.3% -34.4%
Marin County $1,626,000 $1,560,000 -5.5% 4.2% 30.5% -6.2%
Mendocino County $502,500 $533,000 -18.9% -5.7% 33.3% -13.3%
Napa County $1,162,500 $900,000 5.0% 29.2% 32.4% -23.1%
Solano County $610,000 $590,000 2.0% 3.4% 7.1% -32.1%
Sonoma County $840,000 $770,000 2.8% 9.1% -1.5% -40.3%
Single-family home sales and median prices (Source: California Association of Realtors)

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