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Sonoma County housing market off to best start in six years

  • Real Estate agents Jeanne and John DeLario sold this Dry Creek home outside of Windsor for over $1 million.

    (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Sonoma County's residential real estate market chalked up $1.34 billion in sales for the first half of 2013, its best showing in six years.

Buyers wrapped up the first half of 2013 by purchasing 471 single-family homes in June, according to The Press Democrat's monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International Vice President Rick Laws.

Sales for the year's first six months totaled 2,425 homes, a decline of 8 percent from a year earlier.

But the total dollar volume still grew due to a mix of rising home values and increased sales in more-affluent neighborhoods. The county median sales price climbed to $439,000 in June, an increase of 3.3 percent from May and a jump of 26.2 percent from a year earlier.

In 2011, county sales of houses and condominiums totaled $956 million for January through June — the lowest amount since home prices tumbled six years ago. Two years later, the first-half total has increased by 39.8 percent.

"It's a comeback year for the real estate industry after a few challenging years," said Brian Connell, a broker/manager for Frank Howard Allen in Santa Rosa.

Brokers and agents said business has dramatically picked up for upper-end properties. For the first six months, sales of homes priced between $800,000 and $2 million increased 42 percent from a year ago.

Among such properties is a 2,200-square-foot home on nearly 3 acres outside Healdsburg that was listed for $1.195 million and is slated to close escrow on Thursday. The home was on the market just 12 days and received multiple offers, said John DeLario, a Coldwell Banker agent in Santa Rosa who represented the sellers with his wife Jeanne.

"I think this is indicative of times changing," Jeanne DeLario said of the home's short time on the market.

The county's real estate market soared in 2005, when buyers purchased $2.14 billion worth of residential real estate in the first half of the year. That August the county's median sales price hit a record $619,000.

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