Windsor Housing Inventory Pinch
Real estate inventory shortages are real. A Google search for "real estate inventory shortage" has articles from Florida, California, and elsewhere indicating that almost every area of the country has less inventory than last year at this time.
Windsor has historically been one of the more affordable areas in Sonoma County. Because it was a rapidly developing suburban town for much of the last three decades, it has a pretty uniform mix of housing ranging from modest starter homes to larger executive homes. Both these categories were hit hard by the crash of the housing bubble, primarily due to the large number of homes entering the market immediately prior to the bubble years.
You can see by the chart that available homes for sale has fallen in one year from 48 single family detached homes in January of 2012 to 19 in January of 2013 and only 15 in February. It makes it hard to shop for a home when there isn't much to look at.
Another common thread is that the national shortage of homes for sale is especially dramatic in entry level homes. That amount varies depending on locale, but in Sonoma County, California it would refer to homes up to about $300,000.
This second chart shows only Windsor single family homes in that starter price range, i.e. up to $300,000.
The change between January and February of 2012 compared to 2013 is dramatic. Just over a year ago, in the first two months of the year there were 18 and 13 homes on the market in the entry level price point. Sales were active, but there was inventory to choose from. Looking to the right side of the chart for the same months in 2013 and the inventory of homes for sale is 1 in Januaryand 0 in Frebruary.
Whether you are a first time home buyer or a down-sizing senior looking for a modest retirement home, Windsor is looking pretty grim. The first chart is bad enough with only 15 homes for sale in February at any price point. The emerging reality is that starter homes are temporarily extinct as a species. Even worse, there don't seem to be any plans underway to help keep housing affordable.
That's a different topic, but our land use and zoning choices, our building codes, and our own personal desires all have an impact on what gets built and how expensive it's going to be.