Sonoma County's housing market got off to an uncharacteristically strong start in January with a jump in both signed contracts and completed sales.
Buyers began the year by purchasing 318 single-family homes, up 20 percent from January 2010, according to The Press Democrat's monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International Vice President Rick Laws.
The number of signed contracts to purchase a home jumped 42 percent, to 504 — the highest number for any month in more than three years.
Not all those contracts are expected to result in final sales in the coming months. Even so, brokers noted that the contracts involved homes in a wide variety of price ranges, not just the starter home segment where sales have been concentrated for the past three years.
Brokers maintained that the new contracts for more-expensive homes means more buyers with home equity and other assets are stepping forward after months of watching from the sidelines.