Declining Sales and Exploding Rats
"Sales of both new and existing homes have fallen steadily in Sonoma County in the past year after the market and prices reached a peak in August 2005. The median price for resale homes has dropped 7.7 percent over the past year, falling to $567,500 in September. Several forecasts predict the region's housing market will remain weak for at least the next two years."
"Housing starts also have declined because homes are taking longer to sell. Both Christopherson and Rivendale have cut production 25 percent, compared with a year ago."
"Sonoma County builders have cut prices approximately 10 percent, compared with a year ago, in response to the housing slowdown. The county's largest builder, Christopherson Homes, has reduced its prices 5 percent to 10 percent over the last year. Rivendale Homes, the second-largest builder, has cut its prices 10 percent in the past year."
By the way....
"Pest control experts say rat populations have been on the rise in the North Bay for three to four years."
"There is a major rodent explosion going on, from Sausalito to Cloverdale. It's major all through Marin. There is no area that doesn't have some level of it going on," said Ed Meehan, a specialist with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District.
"He said the cause of the rat boom isn't clear, but one theory is that raccoons, which prey on the rodents, had been dying off.Whatever the reason, he said, no one wants to talk about rats because they are associated with filth. But all income levels and homes can have a problem, he said, and normally it has nothing to do with garbage."
'"I've been in pretty fancy homes in Marin where rats are running across the living room," he said."A lot of time in neighborhoods, pet food is left out at night, or it's bird feeders," Meehan said of the attractions for the rodents."
"Roof rats bring the most trouble, say exterminators, because they are like squirrels in their ability to climb fences and branches and find their way into attics and other spots.But there are also problems with Norway rats, also known as a brown, sewer or wharf rat. In the fall and winter they have a tendency to look indoors for a nice, warm place to raise a family, he said."