Sonoma County Foreclosure Sales - Fourth Quarter 2008

Real Estate Agent with Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty

Chart of Sonoma County REO Sales in fourth quarter 2008REO Sales in Sonoma County continued at a record clip at the end of last year. The fourth quarter witnessed nearly ten sales per day as 875 homes and condos classified as REO properties were sold.

Santa Rosa had the most bank owned sale with over 400 residences sold. Rohnert Park, Petaluma, and Windsor rounded out the top four Sonoma County REO sales cities. I have data for other cities in Sonoma County, but they have too few sales to fit onto the chart.

DOM or Days On Market remained a very strong tool for looking at pricing trends. People who are just getting started in looking at foreclosed homes for sale should take time to study the market before they begin to make offers.

The Sonoma County REO Days on Market chart shows a fairly even distribution of DOM for the homes that sold in the fourth quarter. About 24% of homes sold in the first 30 days they were on the market. A slightly larger batch, about a third of all sales, sold in the 31-60 day time frame. The remaining sales, about 45% overall, had been listed for more than 60 days.

Sonoma County Days On Market Chart

The lower part of the chart tells the important part for new buyers to pay attention to. You can see by the columns that correspond to Days On Market time that the price sellers get for their homes drops significantly if the homes don't sell right away. Homes that have been on the market for more than 120 days are getting less than 80% of their original listing price.

There can be many reasons for this. It may be that the homes came on the market with unrealistic prices. It might be that the homes need more repairs than comparable homes in the area. In many cases it's a combination of bad pricing and needed repairs. The only way that you can understand if a foreclosed home for sale in Sonoma County fits into the "will sell fast" or "price will come down 20%" is to watch the market and work with an agent who is familiar with the trends in each neighborhood.

People starting to look at REO listings for the first time need to understand this relationship between DOM and price. It takes time to get a feel for the market and can help you make smart buying decisions.

There are some great bargains to be had in Sonoma County bank owned property, but you have to let the numbers help you understand which ones are great values.


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