Our Market Tanks Faster...
"The Sonoma County housing market remains one of the weakest in the Bay Area, with prices continuing to slide here."
"Prices and sales fell in the three North Bay counties -- Sonoma, Marin and Napa."
'"When our market tanks, it tanks faster, and when the rest of the Bay Area comes out of the slump, they come out first," said Rick Laws, Santa Rosa manager for Coldwell Banker, which provides monthly real estate data to The Press Democrat."
"Sonoma County had the second-biggest drop in home prices in March, down 5.5 percent from a year ago. Only Napa County fared worse, with a 9.2 percent drop in prices."
"The DataQuick report shows Sonoma County's housing market is lagging behind most other Bay Area counties."
'"In Sonoma County, the median price of a residential unit stood at $520,000 last month, down from $550,000 a year earlier."'
This is the 9th month in a row that the median price has declined.
'"We took more of a hit in terms of median price and numbers of transactions, and we have more inventory than most of the other Bay Area counties," Laws said."
The PressDemocrat reported: Sonoma County sales fell 19.2%
ReReport.com puts the annual sales decline at 22.5% though they break out the condo/vs. single family home sales in order to make the numbers look better than they are. They also reported only a 3% decline in median home price and still claimed it was up to $556k. Since Rereport.com is done by realtors, I am going to say that dataquick's numbers are probably slightly more reliable, but only slightly.
Sonoma County Data
Price Reduced: 1038
47% of Sonoma County homes on the market are in some stage of foreclosure
Sonoma Valley Data
Price Reduced: 111
26% of Sonoma Valley homes on the market are in some stage of foreclosure
In other news...
(from the NYTimes)
“In a stark reversal, it’s now clear that people who chose renting over buying in the last two years made the right move. In much of the country, including large parts of the Northeast, California, Florida and the Southwest, recent home buyers have faced higher monthly costs than renters and have lost money on their investment in the meantime.”
“It’s almost as if they have thrown money away, an insult once reserved for renters.”
Local company speculates on Boomer demand...
"Reverse Mortgage Advantage Inc., a loan correspondent and brokerage, recently moved to a new Windsor office in anticipation of expected growth of reverse mortgage lending in the North Bay." "Reverse Mortgage Advantage originates and processes loans on behalf of banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers that do not have their own reverse mortgage services."
"Ninety-five to 98 percent of mortgage brokers don't want to be bothered with it," Mr. Nannini said. "It's just too small a product."
"Reverse mortgages have long been available to older homeowners, but once had a reputation for being risky because of penalties for selling a home too early and other pitfalls. "They were full of exorbitant fees and in a lot of cases, it was just not a good decision for the borrower," said Gale Davis, president and CEO of Tracy Federal Credit Union."
"Alan Nannini said that he helped start Reverse Mortgage Advantage in Santa Rosa last August to prepare for the demand for cash by baby boomers nearing eligibility."There's a potential there that it’s kind of betting on the future, but it's a pretty safe bet. I think it's going to be a real strong market. There's a lot of retirees here," Mr. Nannini said."
"Older homeowners who have paid off their mortgage or owe very little can use reverse mortgages to generate cash flow by borrowing against their home equity without having to repay anything until they no longer occupy the house."
"Lenders say that reverse mortgages have become more popular as real estate prices increased, making homes the most valuable asset for many people. A few years ago, Bank of Marin said it saw an opportunity to help cash-hungry homeowners take advantage of soaring real estate prices, and decided to get into the game."
'"We knew that there was a need out there in the community," said Try Aman, the bank's reverse mortgage officer."'
'"We knew that there were people who had a lot of equity in their homes, especially the high-valued homes in the area."'
"Since Bank of Marin was a business-oriented bank that wanted to offer a consumer product, it decided to distance itself by acting as the loan correspondent but not the lender. "We weren't 100 percent sure if this was a product we wanted to book ourselves," Ms. Aman said.Reverse mortgages originated by Bank of Marin are held by Financial Freedom, Ms. Aman said."