Jan 18th, 20112010 Year End Summary – Market Update

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Who We Are: This continues the expression of Who We Are that we began a couple of weeks ago. These are part of our statement:
Our vision is externally focused on the future
Our motivation is focused on performance
Our goal is to create a better business experience.

Wine Country Group Summary for 2010

The Wine Country Group enjoyed a solid 2010. We closed 751 sides compared to 764 in 2009, but our average sales price was up and we closed $330 million in dollar volume compared to $317 million in 2009. Our average sales price advanced 12% from $412,497 to $460,739. Since our sales are generally spread across Wine Country, this is a fairly solid indicator of market price trends in our specific area.

Our Sonoma office enjoyed an increase in sales from 296 units in 2009 to 365 units in 2010 – a increase of 23%. It is the highest level of sales for this office since we closed 413 in 2005. Our Glen Ellen and St. Helena offices also enjoyed a 36% +/- increase in the number of units sold.

Our net income for 2010 continued to move in a positive direction and was 107% ahead of the income for 2009.

And more to come in 2011

This is the theme for our 2011 Wine Country Group Kickoff to take place on Friday, February 4, at 8:30 AM at the Oakmont Golf Club. Our guest speaker will be Robert Eyler, PhD, Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Economics at Sonoma State University. He is also Director of the Center for Regional Economics. You can find more on Dr. Eyler at http://www.sonoma.edu/pubs/experts/eyler.shtml

Wine Country Group Summary for December, 2010

We closed 53 transactions this December compared to 75 a year ago, but similarly to the year end results, our average sales price was higher ($585,769 v. $408,491) and our dollar volume for the month of $30 million was very close to last December’s $31 million. We maintained a healthy pace with 32 new listings in December compared to 36 a year ago and 57 newly opened escrows compared to 43 last year. In a positive trend, we had only 8 canceled transactions in December compared to 21 in December a year ago.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (31.6%), Healdsburg (23.8%) and Cloverdale (16.1 %) markets. Our Napa and St. Helena offices in the Napa Valley hold 4th position in market share compared to our competitors. Our Healdsburg office had a great month of December closing $13.2 million dollars in sales representing 42.4% of all dollar volume closed in Healdsburg for the month. The Sonoma Valley offices registered an increase in sales for the year to 304 units compared to 258 a year ago (+6%) and in dollar volume $138 million compared to $126 million while most of our competition was static or declined in these areas.

The Wine Country Group currently has 102 pending sales with a value of $47 million dollars and 150 active listings with a value of $112 million dollars which is fairly consistent with the numbers a year ago.

December, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of December in Napa County (613) was 14.4% higher than the inventory (536) at this time last year, but it did decline 11.5% from the inventory in November, 2010 (693). The inventory peaked for the year in August and the December figure will likely be the low for the season – listings should pick up in January. New sales (116) were 16% ahead of the pace a year ago (100) and up 4.5% from the month of November (111 though originally reported as 131 – there were 20 cancellations of November sales). 30% of the current listings in Napa County are distressed properties (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure). 65% of the new sales and 56% of the closed sales for the month were distressed. The city of Napa figures mirrored the county with regard to the impact of distressed properties on the market. American Canyon remains short on inventory as there are just 2.7 months supply based on new sales and the impact of distressed properties is the highest in the county: 60% of inventory, 82% of new sales and 75% of closings.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), inventory dropped sharply (-14%) again in December to 157 units compared to 183 last month, It was equal to the 157 level of inventory December of 2009. There were 14 new sales for the month and the supply of inventory based on new sales dropped from 30.7 month supply in October to 11.1 months supply this month. Just 12% of the inventory consisted of distressed properties, but 57% (8) of the new sales for the month were distressed properties – so it’s definitely the hot part of the market.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,521) in Sonoma County at the end of December was 39% higher than a year ago (1,093) but it dropped 6% from the supply last month (1625) making three months of steady seasonal decline in inventory. New sales (420) in December were 7% ahead of the pace in December, 2009 (393) and they were 7% ahead of the pace of last month (391). The median price of homes closed in December in Sonoma County was $320,000 which was 6% lower the median price of homes sold a year ago ($341,000). Distressed properties make up 42% of the available inventory, 68% of new sales and 55% of closings for the month.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (161) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of December was equal to that for December, 2009 (162). It was 18% lower than that of last month (197) representing the seasonal downturn in listings. There were 40 new sales for the month which is 21% higher than that of a year ago (33) and 33% higher than that of last month (30). Cancelled transactions remain a relatively high percentage of sales. The median price of the homes closed (30) in the Valley in December rose sharply to $401,000 compared to $331,000 last month and $460,000 a year ago. The median price for the Sonoma Valley market appears to be jumping widely from month to month right now. Distressed sales are certainly impacting the overall median prices in the Sonoma Valley market as distressed properties represent 29% of the inventory, 65% of the new sales and 47% of the closings.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (68) in Healdsburg at the end of December was 8% higher than the inventory (63) in December, 2009 and It was 26% lower than that of a month ago (92) reflecting seasonal trends. New sales (11) were pretty consistent with the pace over the past six months. Only 12% of the inventory consists of “distressed properties”, but 45% of the new sales were distressed properties and 23% of the closings were distressed properties.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (46) at the end of December, 2010 was 21% higher than that of a year ago (38) and remained equal to that of month ago. It is the only one of our Wine Country markets where inventory did not decline significantly from November. Sales for the month of December (13) were ahead of the pace a year ago (8) but were equal to the 13 new sales reported in November, 2010. There is a 3.5 months supply of available inventory in Cloverdale based on the current pace of new sales. The Cloverdale market is more dramatically impacted by distressed properties than the county in general. 50% of the inventory are distressed properties and 77% of the new sales and 69% of the closings for the month are distressed properties.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (71) at the end of December was 73% higher than the inventory (41) in December, 2009 and was down 20% from the 89 units available last month. There were 33 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in December which compares to 19 sales in December of 2009. There is just a 2.2 months supply of inventory based on the new sales pace, so Windsor is a hot market right now. 56% of the available inventory are distressed properties while 88% of the new sales and 72% of the closings for the month are distressed properties. It appears that home buyer’s are recognizing value in the distressed sales in Windsor.

Solano County: Available inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Solano County remained high at 1,398 units in December, 2010. This is 79% higher than the inventory in December, 2009 (781). New sales for the month (550) were up 18% year over year (466) and were up 12% from the pace last month (493). There is 2.5 months supply of available inventory based on the current sales pace. The median price of closed homes is steady in the $200,000 range. Distressed properties made up 70% of the inventory, 82% of the new sales and 74% of the closed sales for the month.

Closings:

The following agents enjoyed closings between 12/6/10 and 1/14/11: Robyn Makurak (Sonoma); Carol Lexa (Healdsburg); Susan Irvine (Glen Ellen); Susan Montgomery (Healdsburg); Herb Heil (Sonoma); Erika Linn (Healdsburg); Tammi Owens (Sonoma); Ally May (Sonoma); Debbie Hendershot (Healdsburg); Diane Harris and Deke Dekay (Healdsburg); Pam Giusto (Sonoma) and Cherie Chooljian (Sonoma).

The following agents enjoyed two closings during this period: Carol Figone (Healdsburg); Erin George (Sonoma); Jana Jones (Healdsburg); Nicki Rector (Healdsburg); Faeli Vyn (Napa); Lark Raymond (Napa); Charlie Laughlin (Napa); Beth Bruno (Healdsburg); Ann Amtower (Healdsburg); Penelope La Montagne (Healdsburg) and Ellen Politz (Napa).

Linda Alioto (St. Helena); Lisa Albertson (Sonoma/Healdsburg) and Mike Caselli (Sonoma) enjoyed three closings over this period.

Cheri Stanely (Napa); Sheila Deignan (Sonoma); Jane and Ron Pavelka (Cloverdale) and David Barker (Napa) enjoyed four closings each.

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker had five closings during this period.

And, Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office closed seven transactions during this period.

Congratulations to all!

Dec 12th, 2010Market Update – November, 2010

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Who We Are: This continues the expression of Who We Are that we began a couple of weeks ago. These are part of our Community Values:
    Honesty – as the basis of our relationships
    Trust – as the key to working together
    Integrity – honorable conduct to the highest ethical standards
    Adopting change – radical change

More in the next posting.

Wine Country Group Summary for November, 2010

November rebounded from a sluggish October on a year over year basis. Particularly, our Sonoma office went from 21 closings a year ago to 39 this year. The 39 closings are the highest for the Sonoma Office for any November since 2003 when we closed 47 transactions. In total, we closed 61 transactions this November compared to 52 a year ago. The dollar volume was $21.0 million compared to $23.6 million in last year, so our average sales price is down from last year. We maintained a healthy pace with 37 new listings in November compared to 20 a year ago and 52 newly opened escrows compared to 47 last year.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (31.5%), Healdsburg (23.5%) and Cloverdale (14.6%) markets. In Sonoma County in general Frank Howard Allen Realtors has a 12.8% share in units sold and 13.8% share in dollar volume – both leading the marketplace. We’ve improved our market share in Up Valley Napa Valley to 8.3% tying Sotheby’s for #3 in the market. Our Napa Valley offices retain a 4.6% overall market share in Napa County. The Wine Country Group currently has 97 pending sales with a value of $64 million dollars and 183 active listings with a value of $127 million dollars.

November, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of November in Napa County (693) was 18.5% higher than the inventory (585) at this time last year, but it did decline 9.6% from the inventory in October, 2010 (767). It appears that the inventory may have peaked for the year at this time. New sales (131) were 16% ahead of the pace a year ago (113) and up 10% from the month of October (119). There continues to be a high level of cancellations or delayed transactions (perhaps short sales) as the sales over the past four months have been in the 120 range while the closings for November were only 99 transactions. 27% of the current listings in Napa County are distressed properties (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure). 58% of the new sales and 56% of the closed sales for the month were distressed. The city of Napa figures mirrored the county with regard to the impact of distressed properties on the market. American Canyon remains short on inventory as there are just 2.4 months supply based on new sales and the impact of distressed properties is the highest in the county: 56% of inventory, 73% of new sales and 68% of closings.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), inventory dropped sharply (-15%) in November to 183 units compared to 215 last month and 172 in November of 2009. The inventory seems to have peaked for the year. There were a fifteen month high of 20 new sales for the month and the supply of inventory based on new sales dropped from 30.7 month supply last month to 9.2 months supply this month. Just 10% of the inventory consisted of distressed properties, but 40% (8) of the new sales for the month were distressed properties.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,625) in Sonoma County at the end of November was 34% higher than a year ago (1,213) but it dropped 10% from the supply last month making two months of decline in inventory. New sales (468) in November were 13% ahead of the pace in November, 2009 (415) and they were 12% ahead of the pace of last month (416). The median price of homes closed in November in Sonoma County rebounded to $331,000 which was exactly equal to the median price of homes sold a year ago. So, the market appears to be stable. There is only a 3.5 month supply of inventory based on the current sales pace. Distressed properties make up 34% of the available inventory, 63% of new sales and 49% of closings for the month.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (197) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of November was equal to that for November, 2009 (194). It was 12% lower than that of last month (224) representing the second month in a row of decline which reflects typical seasonal patterns. There were 34 new sales for the month which is equal to that of a year ago (33) and slightly lower than that of last month (39). Last month’s initial report of 46 sales was reduced in this month’s report to 39 sales, so it appears that15% of last month’s sales came back on the market in November. Cancelled transactions remain a relatively high percentage of sales. The median price of the homes closed (35) in the Valley in November dropped sharply to was $331,000 compared to $595,000 last month and $435,000 a year ago. As last month’s median price was the highest median price in the last fifteen months, this months median was the lowest in the past 15 months. Hard to predict pricing direction under these circumstances. Distressed sales are certainly impacting the overall median prices in the Sonoma Valley market as distressed properties represent 26% of the inventory, 47% of the new sales and 51% of the closings.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (92) in Healdsburg at the end of November was 16% higher than the inventory (79) in November, 2009 and It was 15% lower than that of a month ago (108). New sales (14) were pretty consistent with the pace over the past six months and better than the 10 new sales in November, 2009. Only 6% of the inventory consists of “distressed properties”. 28% of the new sales were distressed properties and 29% of the closings were distressed properties.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (49) at the end of November, 2010 was 32% higher than that of a year ago (37) and remained equal to that of month ago. Sales for the month of October (14) were ahead of the pace a year ago (8) but were also ahead of the 10 new sales reported in October, 2010. There is a 3.5 months supply of available inventory in Cloverdale based on the current pace of new sales. The Cloverdale market is more dramatically impacted by distressed properties than the county in general but lesser so than some communities like Windsor (see below). 43% of the inventory are distressed properties and 71% of the new sales and 60% of the closings for the month are distressed properties.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (89) at the end of November was 71% higher than the inventory (52) in November, 2009 and was down slightly from the 94 units available last month. There were 40 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in November which compares to 25 sales in November of 2009. There is just a 2.2 months supply of inventory based on the new sales pace, so Windsor is a hot market right now. 58% of the available inventory are distressed properties while 78% of the new sales and 63% of the closings for the month are distressed properties. It appears that home buyer’s are recognizing value in the distressed sales in Windsor.

Solano County: Available inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Solano County remained high at 1,510 units in November, 2010. This is 103% higher than the inventory in November, 2009 (742). New sales for the month (577) were up 14% year over year (503) and were up 18% from the pace last month (486). There is 2.6 months supply of available inventory based on the current sales pace. The median price of closed homes is steady in the $200,000 range. Distressed properties made up 70% of the inventory, 79% of the new sales and 75% of the closed sales for the month.

Closings:

The following agents enjoyed closings for the last three week period: Jeff Veness (St. Helena); Ellen Politz (Napa); Mary Beth Foster(Sonoma); Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma); Howard Powell (Sonoma); Ann Amtower (Healdsburg); Erick Rothfeld (Sonoma); Cheri Stanley (Napa); Erin George (Sonoma) and Bill Streett (Sonoma).

The following agents enjoyed two closings during this period: Joyce Davison (Sonoma); Robyn Makurak (Sonoma); Kent Mitchell (Healdsburg); Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker (Kenwood); Tish Thames (Sonoma); Jane and Ron Pavelka (Cloverdale) and Constance Sharpe (Glen Ellen).

Linda Alioto of our St. Helena office enjoyed four closings over this period.

And Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office closed a whopping ten transactions during this period – over three per week!

Congratulations to all!

Nov 16th, 2010Generating new business!

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Who We Are – Part II

Our community values include:
    Respect – sho that we may earn others’ respect
    Courage – so that we many take risks
    Curiosity – so that we may learn
    High expectations – to do our best and to support others in                 doing their best

More in the next Broker Blog update.

Generating New Business:
  The following is borrowed from Loren Keim, Realtor and Author.

Here are a few quick things you can do to try to generate business:

  • Post your listings for free to Craigslist – We generate a number of buyers each month from our ads on Craigslist.
  • Enter
    your listings for free into Postlets.com and syndicate your listings to
    other sites from there – It takes 10 minutes to add a listing and it’s
    syndicated to Trulia, Vast, Google Base, Oodle, Hotpads and others.
  • Post a note about your latest listing on Facebook.
  • Send out a free e-card from egreetings.com to several of your past clients.
  • Send out an e-newsletter to your past clients.
  • Pick up the phone and call anyone you know.
  • Jot a handwritten note to someone you haven’t seen in a while.

Wine Country Group Summary for October, 2010

Like national trends around the country, our Wine Country Group closings were off in the month of October on a year over year basis. Particularly, our Napa office went from 23 closings a year ago to 12 this year and our Healdsburg office went from 16 sides a year ago to 2 (there were only a total of 9 closings in Healdsburg) this October. In total, we closed 42 transactions this October compared to 76 a year ago. The dollar volume was $19.7 million compared to $33.0 million in October, 2009. This is a bit of a hit to our momentum for the first three quarters of the year, but some agents that I spoke to today are saying that more buyers are appearing in the market this month. We maintained a healthy pace with 38 new listings and 44 newly opened escrows for the month. It seems that the first time home buyer program that was effective last fall, may be part of the difference between then and now.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (30.0%), Healdsburg (26.3%) and Cloverdale (14.5%) markets. In Sonoma County in general Frank Howard Allen Realtors has a 12.6% share in units sold and 13.6% share in dollar volume – both leading the marketplace. The Wine Country Group currently has 113 pending sales with a value of $62 million dollars and 189 active listings with a value of $137 million dollars.

    October, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of October in Napa County (767) was 30% higher than the inventory (590) at this time last year. It was equal to the inventory in September, 2010 (754). New sales (132) were the same as the pace a year ago (127) and down slightly (6%) from the month of September (140). There seems to be a high level of cancellations or delayed transactions (perhaps short sales) as the sales over the past three months have been in the 130 range while the closings for October were only 86 transactions. 27% of the current listings in Napa County were distressed properties (bank-owned, short sale or foreclosure). 67% of the new sales and 50% of the closed sales for the month were distressed. The average price per square foot for conventional homes closed in October was $259/sf compared to $186/sf for the distressed property closings. The city of Napa figures mirrored the county with regard to the impact of distressed properties on the market. American Canyon has just 2.1 months supply of inventory based on new sales and the impact of distressed properties is the highest in the county: 55% of inventory, 76% of new sales and 65% of closings.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 215 units at the end of October, 2010 and has a 30.7 month supply based on the current sales pace. This compares with 182 at the end of October, 2009 and 214 at the end of last month. Sales for the month (7) were equal to the pace of a year ago (9) but dropped from the 15 new sales last month. Just 10% of the inventory consisted of distressed properties.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1807) in Sonoma County at the end of October was 38% higher than a year ago (1308). It was 6% lower than that of last month. New sales (492) in October were slightly below the pace in October, 2009 (514) and they were 12% ahead of the pace of last month (440). The median price of homes closed in October in Sonoma County was $318,000, the lowest level in the past fifteen months. The average price per square foot of sold homes has stabilized around $230-$250/sq. ft. Distressed properties make up 31% of the available inventory, 61% of new sales and 46% of closings for the month.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (224) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of October was equal to that for October, 2009 (225). It was nearly 10% lower than that of last month (247). There were 46 new sales for the month which is slightly lower than that of a year ago (49) and 53% higher than that of last month (30). The median price of the homes closed (22) in the Valley in October was $595,000 compared to $390,000 a year ago and it was the highest median price in the last fifteen months. As in Napa, there seem to be a lot of delays and/or cancellations in the pipeline as new sales over the past several months have been in the forties and fifties and there were only 22 closings in the month of October. Distressed sales are playing less of a role in the Sonoma Valley market than in the rest of Sonoma County. In the Valley, distressed properties equal 21% of the inventory, 52% of the new sales and 41% of the closings.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (108) in Healdsburg at the end of October was 14% higher than the inventory (95) in October, 2009 and It was slightly lower than that of a month ago (116). New sales (15) were pretty consistent with the pace over the past six months. Only 6% of the inventory consists of “distressed properties”. 26% of the new sales were distressed properties and 33% of the closings were distressed properties.


Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (49) at the end of October, 2010 was 58% higher than that of a year ago (31) and remained equal to that of month ago (47). Sales for the month of October (12) were equal to the pace a year ago (11) but were off from 17 in September, 2010. There is a 4.1 months supply of available inventory in Cloverdale based on the current pace of new sales. The Cloverdale market is more dramatically impacted by distressed properties than the county in general. 43% of the inventory are distressed properties and two thirds of the new sales and six out of the seven closings for the month are distressed properties.


Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (94) at the end of October was 92% higher than the inventory (49) in October, 2009 and was down slightly from the 102 units available last month. There were 40 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in October which compares to 33 sales in October of 2009. The new sales level was up 21% from the 29 last month. The current market has 2.4 months of supply based on the current sales pace and the sales pace. 53% of the available inventory are distressed properties while 73% of the new sales and 52% of the closings for the month are distressed properties.

Solano County: Available inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Solano County reached a fifteen month high of 1,550 units in October, 2010. This is 110% higher than the inventory in October, 2009 (736). New sales for the month (564) were down about 8% year over year and were up 17% from the pace last month. There is 2.7 months supply of available inventory based on the current sales pace. The median price of closed homes is steady in the $200,000 range. Distressed properties made up 68% of the inventory, 75% of the new sales and 72% of the closed sales for the month.

Closings: The following agents also enjoyed closings during the past five weeks: Marla and Steve Ericson (St. Helena); Lisa Albertson (Healdsburg); Erin George (Sonoma); Herb Heil (Sonoma); Kendra Martin (Sonoma); Nicki Rector (Healdsburg); Howard Powell (Sonoma); Linda Alioto (St. Helena); Barbara Sommerville (Sonoma); Sheila Deignan (Sonoma); Penelope La Montagne (Healdsburg); Carol Lexa (Healdsburg); Dan Gallagher (Sonoma); Jane Barker (Napa); Leo Merle (Sonoma); Tish Thames (Sonoma); Pam Giusto (Sonoma); Pat and Norm Brown (Sonoma); Robyn Makurak (Sonoma); Terri D”Amico (Sonoma) and Diane Harris and Deke Dekay (Healdsburg).

The following agents enjoyed two closings each: Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker (Kenwood); David Barker (Napa) and Felice Torri (Sonoma).

Mike Caselli (Sonoma) and Kendra Martin (Sonoma) enjoyed three closings each.

Mari Johnson (Sonoma) and Jane and Ron Pavelka (Healdsburg/Cloverdale) enjoyed five closings during this period.

Cheri Stanley (Napa) had seven closings and, Daniel Casabonne accomplished eight closings during this period.

Congratulations to all!

Oct 14th, 2010Who We Are, Company and Market Updates and Closings

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Who We Are: At least once a year, I like to review the statement of “Who We Are” in the Broker Blog. This statement hangs by the phone in my office and is basically a daily reference when I am speaking to our agents. I’ll cover the statement in the next couple of blog posting starting today:
“Who We Are: We are a committed community of leading real estate professionals who help our clients with transitions that involve how and where they live and work”.

More in the next posting.

Wine Country Group Summary for 1st Three Quarters of 2010:

Frank Howard Allen Realtors, the Wine Country Group, enjoyed 581 closed transaction sides with a cumulative value of over $259 million dollars for the first three quarters of 2010. This is a 4% increase in units and a 13% increase in dollar volume compared to the first three quarters of 2009. The average sales price of the homes that we closed in the first three quarters of 2010 is $446,000. This is an increase of 9% from the $408,000 in 2009 and confirms that the “bottom“ of our market in terms of sales price decline appears to have been February of 2009. Our open sales (656) for the first three quarters of 2010 are 5% ahead of that for 2009 (623), however, cancellations continue at a high rate. Overall, in our Wine Country Markets, there seems to be about a 16% cancellation rate. New listings (468) are slightly behind that of a year ago. Our Sonoma and Healdsburg offices continue to lead the way with 29% and 8% increase in closed sales for the year over year period.

We had a strong month of September with 78 closed transactions totaling $35 million in dollar volume compared to 70 closings and $26 million in September, 2009. This is the highest September unit volume that we have ever experienced. We have had higher dollar volume September during the early 2000s when prices were higher. We opened 54 new escrows in September compared to 72 a year ago, so there is a bit of slowing on the new open sales side. We had 33 new listings compared to 45 a year ago. It will be interesting to see if we get a bit of Fall momentum in October before the holiday slow down that usually begins at Thanksgiving.

As of Monday, October 11, we had 107 pending sales with a gross sales dollar volume of $53,000,000. This compares to 129 pending sales a year ago and $65,000,000 in dollar volume a year ago. We have about 14% fewer listings (197 compared to 229) year over year. Our average listing price has been steady through the last couple of months at slightly under $800,000. It appears that the Fall may a bit slower than last year.

We remain number one in market share for units sold in the past twelve months in our Sonoma Valley (30.1% – nearly twice as many homes sold as our nearest competitor), Healdsburg (25.8% – 3.5 times as many homes sold as our nearest competitor) and Cloverdale (14.2%) markets. Our Napa and St. Helena offices position the Wine Country Group in 3rd place in market share for units sold in the Napa County market.

September, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: Available inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of September, 2010 (754) dropped 3% from the 779 level of last month and ended a eight month climb in inventory that began in February of this year. It is, perhaps, the beginning of the typical seasonal decline in inventory that happens in the late fall. Approximately 25% of the available inventory are “distressed properties” (bank-owned or short sales). There were 99 new sales in the month of September, 2010, compared to 78 in August and 69 in September of last year. Approximately 61% of the new sales were distressed properties, so the buyers are skewed towards the “bargains” seen in the distressed properties. Of the closings for the month (47), 46% were distressed properties. As mentioned before, the market is experiencing an overall cancellation rate of approximately 16% much of which can be attributed to the distressed properties failing to meet the standards for FHA or Conventional lenders. The median price of the homes and condominiums sold in September was $340,000 which is low compared to the $370,000s experienced in the last few months. The overall median price appears to be being pulled down by he median price of the 47 distressed sales that had a median price of $252,000. The median price of the 64 non distressed sales was $414,000.

The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in September (107) that was 40% higher than that of a year ago (76) and 14% ahead of that of August (94). It is the highest level of monthly new sales in the past five years. There is a 4.2 month supply of inventory. Available inventory is 25% ahead of a year ago but also declined 9% from last month. Closings are equal to the pace of September, 2009. The percentages of distressed sales, closings and listings, mirrors the county figures.

American Canyon has just 1.8 months supply of inventory. American Canyon has higher percentages of distressed properties for sale than the overall county with 60% of the listings at the end of September being distressed properties and 76% of the sales and closings for the month being distressed properties. The cancellation rate in American Canyon is approximately 40% compared to 16% in the county overall, so this confirms that distressed properties are experiencing a higher cancellation rate with many homes needing to be sold at least a couple of times.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had 15 new sales in the month of September compared to 18 in September, 2009. Available inventory stands at 214 units which is a twelve month high. Only 7% of the Up Valley inventory are “distressed properties” (either bank owned or short sales), but 33% of the new sales in September were distressed properties. Predictably, the distressed properties are selling at a higher rate than the non-distressed properties. Up Valley has the largest hang-over of available properties of any of our markets across Wine Country.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,931) in Sonoma County at the end of September was 37% higher than a year ago (1,393). The inventory has not peaked as it has in Napa County. Of the inventory, 31% of the properties were “distressed properties”, either bank owned or short sales. New sales (515) in September were 3% ahead of the pace in September, 2009 (501) and were 8% ahead of the pace of last month (476). Of the new sales in September, 58% were distressed sales. Of the closings for the month (414), 192, or 46% were distressed properties. The median price of the homes that closed in September in Sonoma County was $345,000. This is 6% higher than the medium price of closed homes in September, 2009 ($325,000) and is the highest median price that we have experienced over the past 15 months. The median price of the distressed properties closed in September was $269,000 and the median price of the non-distressed properties was $411,000. Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 3.7 month supply of inventory – a typical indication of a “seller’s market”.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (247) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of September was slightly ahead of that for September, 2009 (235), and also a bit ahead of the inventory last month (234). As in the county as a whole, the seasonal peak has not yet been reached. Only 23% of the inventory is represented by distressed properties (bank owned or short sales). There were 39 new sales for the month which is equal to that of a year ago and 25% off from the 52 sales in August of this year. At the same time, closings (46) were 24% ahead that of September, 2009 and that of last month (37). Of the closed homes for the month, 28% were distressed properties, and of the new sales for the month, 49% were distressed properties. Understandably, the banks and short sellers are more motivated sellers. The median price of the distressed property sales was $375,000 compared to the median price of the non-distressed sales being $549,000.

Of course, the major news in the Sonoma Valley real estate world in September was the sale of Villa Shanel for the reported figure of $30,000,000. This exceeds the overall value of the other 46 sales in the Valley that totaled $23,000,000. Since this sale is not reported in MLS, it will not show up in the aggregate averages, but it is nice to see that there is still demand at the “ultra” high end of the market. This sale appears to be the highest value for a residential property in the history of the Valley as well as the County. Congratulations to the real estate agents integrally involved in this sale.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (116) in Healdsburg at the end of September was 13% higher than that of the available inventory (103) in September, ‘09. There were 7 distressed properties in the inventory, 6%, equaling Up Valley Napa for the lowest percentage of any of our Wine Country markets. There were just 12 new sales for the month which is 14% behind that of a year ago (14) and 25% behind the 16 new sales last month. Interestingly, 5 of the 12 new sales (46%) were distressed properties. Closings for the month (17) were comparable to that of both a year ago and last month with 7 of them being distressed properties (41%). The Healdsburg also seems stable right now.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (47) at the end of September, 2010 was 31% higher than that of a year ago (36). 45% or 21 of the available units were distressed properties. There were 17 new sales for the month compared to 12 a year ago and 10 last month. 76% or 13 of these sales were distressed properties. There were 9 closings in the month, 5 of which were distressed properties (56%). Interestingly, the median price of the distressed property closed sales ($315,000) was greater than the median price of the non-distressed closings ($310,000), but it is a relatively small sample. Cloverdale remains one of the hotter markets in Wine Country at present with inventory at a mere 2.8 month supply based on the current sales pace.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (102) at the end of September was a whopping 100% higher than that of the inventory (51) in September, 2009 and was 26% higher than the inventory at the end of August (81). “Distressed properties” – bank owned or short sales – represent 53% of the inventory. I’m looking into whether there was some builder release or other circumstance that jumped the Windsor inventory up by 26% in one month. I’ll let you know if I find out. There were 33 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in September which is 27% ahead of the 26 sales last month, but is 37% behind the pace of September of 2009 (52). 76% of the new sales were distressed properties (25). 20 out of the 28 closings in September were distressed properties (71%). The median price of homes sold in Windsor in September was $350,000 which is consistent with the level over the past fifteen months..

Solano County: Inventory remains very tight in Solano County with only 2.5 months of supply based on the current sales pace. Distressed properties make up the majority of the market of both the homes that are selling (78%) and those in inventory (67%).

Summary: Distressed sales are still playing a very important role in the volume of transactions in our market. If the pipeline of REO’s to our markets becomes tangled and delayed, the impact is hard to determine. Will the buyers acquiring the distressed properties in our markets switch to conventional properties that carry a higher price for the most part? It is difficult to forecast, but the demographics in our area and the underlying demand for Wine Country properties may put us in a better position than some other markets. The high end market in Wine Country has its moments as indicated by the big sale last month, but it is selective and discretionary.

Closings:

The following agents enjoyed closings for the last four week period: Linda Alioto (St. Helena); Helaine Forte (Napa); Mara Kahn (Sonoma); Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma); Diane Litchfield (Sonoma); Dee Grohmann (Healdsburg); Ann Amtower (Healdsburg); Leo Merle (Sonoma); Pat Brown (Sonoma); Steve and Marla Ericson (St. Helena); Pam Giusto (Sonoma); Susan Irvine (Sonoma); Cherie Choolijian (Sonoma); Robyn Makurak (Sonoma); Diane Krause (Sonoma); Jana Jones (Healdsburg) and Herb Heil (Sonoma).

The following agents enjoyed two closings during this period: Joyce Davison (Sonoma); Mary Beth Foster (Sonoma) and Charlie Laughlin (Napa).

Lisa Albertson of our Sonoma and Healdsburg offices, Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley of the Foss Creek team (Healdsburg), and Deke Dekay and Diane Harris of our Healdsburg office enjoyed three closings over this period.

Cheri Stanley of our Napa office enjoyed four closings during this period.

Sheila Deignan of our Sonoma office enjoyed five closings.

Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office and David Barker of our Napa office each had six closings during this period.

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker of our Kenwood office enjoyed seven closings.

And finally, Sheila Deignan of our Sonoma office topped the bunch and enjoyed eight closings during this four week period – two per week! Well done.

Congratulations to all!

Sep 20th, 2010Market Update – August, 2010

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Wine Country Group Summary for August, 2010

We closed 65 transactions this August compared to 70 a year ago.  The dollar volume was $29.5 million compared to $25.0 million in August, 2009.  That puts us 18% ahead in dollar volume and 7% off in units.  We maintained a healthy pace with 45 new listings and 71 newly opened escrows for the month compared to 34 new listings and 46 new open escrows a year ago.  The 71 new escrows for August were the highest for the firm for any August excepting 2004 when we had 75.  We are 14% ahead year over year with 121 pending sales as of September 7 and we are 22% ahead in pending dollar volume.  We are down about 11% in listings with 213 at the end of August, 2010 compared to 238 as of August, 2009.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (30.3%), Healdsburg (26.7%) and Cloverdale (14.5%) markets.  In Sonoma County in general Frank Howard Allen Realtors has increased its units sold (958) by 13% year to date (Jan-Aug) for 2010 vs. the same period for 2009 (847).  Our primary competitors are both down 17% for the same period.  All of the Frank Howard Allen agents in the area are working to improve their business.

August, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of August in Napa County (779) was 27% higher than the inventory (613) at this time last year.  It was equal to the inventory in July, 2010 (775).  New sales (155) were the same as the pace a year ago (154) and 15% ahead of the month of July (135).  The median price of the homes closed in Napa County in August was $385,000, 8% higher than that of a year ago and the highest since November of 2009.  The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in August (103) that was 17% higher than that of a year ago (88) and 12% ahead of that of July (92).   American Canyon has just 1.6 months supply of inventory based on new sales.  Up Valley Napa County has a 12.6 months supply.    

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends:  The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 202 units at the end of August, 2010.  This compares with 203 at the end of August, 2009 and 210 at the end of last month.  Sales for the month (16) were equal to the pace of a year ago (15) and have been steady over the past six months.  The median price of the homes closed (15) in August was $965,000, the highest In the past two years.

Sonoma County Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1888) in Sonoma County at the end of August was 31% higher than a year ago (1438).  That’s the high water mark for available listings in the past year.  I do expect the number of listings to drop as we move into the Fall market.  New sales (555) in August were equal to the pace in August, 2009 (554) and they were 7% ahead of the pace of last month (517).  The median price of homes closed in August in Sonoma  County was $342,000.  This is 5% higher than the medium price of closed homes in August, 2009 ($325,000) and in line with the median price over the past twelve months.  The average price per square foot of sold homes has stabilized around $230-$250/sq. ft.  Based on the current sales pace, there is a 3.4 month supply of inventory – a continuing indication of a slight “seller’s market” (4 months supply is considered a “balanced” market).  

Sonoma Valley Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (234) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of August was equal to that  for August, 2009 (233).  It was slightly lower than  that of last month (243).   There were 54 new sales for the month which is 20% higher than that of a year ago (45) and 35% higher than that of last month (40).  This is the highest level of new sales in the Sonoma Valley for the past two years.  The median price of the homes closed (38) in the Valley in August was $428,000 compared to $417,000 a year ago and consistent with the trend over the past twelve months.

Healdsburg Trends:   The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (103) in Healdsburg at the end of August dropped 15% from the level of available inventory (121) last month.  It was slightly lower than that of a year ago.  New sales (19) were 24% below that of last month (25) and were equal to that of a year ago (20).  There is a 5.4 month supply of available homes and condominiums for sale based upon the current sales pace. The median price of homes and condominiums closed in August was $576,000, the highest in the past fifteen months.  Real estate sales activity in Healdsburg seems to be stable.

Cloverdale Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (57) at the end of August, 2010 was 54% higher than that of a year ago (37) and remained equal to that of month ago (55). Sales for the month of August (13) have fallen off sharply from 26 in May, 2010 and from 23 in August a year ago.  There is a 4.4 months supply of available inventory in Cloverdale based on the current pace of new sales.

Windsor Trends:  The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (81) at the end of August was 11% higher than the inventory (73) last month and was 40% ahead of the inventory of August, 2009 (58).  There were 32 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in August which is equal to the 32 sales in August of 2009.  The new sales level was down 27% from the 44 last month. The current market has 2.5 months of supply based on the current sales pace and the sales pace seems to be adjusting towards the norm.  

Solano County:  Available inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Solano County reached a fifteen month high of 1,329 units in August, 2010.  This is 79% higher than the inventory in August, 2009 (741).  New sales for the month (684) were steady year over year.  There is 1.9 months supply of available inventory based on the current sales pace and the median price of closed homes is steady in the $200,000 range.

Training:  Legal updates are scheduled for Tuesday, October 19th in Rohnert Park and for Tuesday, November 9th in San Rafael.  Both sessions begin at 9:00 and end at 11:10.

There will be additional basic contract training and advanced sales training this Fall – stay tuned for the dates and locations.

Closings:  Nick Thompson of our Healdsburg office had his first ever closing as a real estate agent this past month.  Something to never forget!  Congratulations ot Nick and many, many more.

The following agents also enjoyed closings during the past five weeks: Marla and Steve Ericson (St. Helena);  Beth Bruno (Healdsburg);  Isaac Raboy (Sonoma);  Mike Caselli (Sonoma);  Herb Heil (Sonoma);  Kendra Martin (Sonoma);  Susan Irvine (Glen Ellen);  Debby Hendershot (Healdsburg);  Faeli Vyn (Napa);  Dee Grohmann (Healdsburg);  Alicia Robledo (Sonoma);  Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma);  Jana Jones (Healdsburg);  Ann Amtower (Healdsburg);  Vinni Bubak (Napa) and Jane Barker (Napa).

The following agents enjoyed two closings each:  Gina Clyde (Sonoma); Mari Johnson (Sonoma) and Lisa Albertson (Sonoma/Healdsburg).

David Barker (Napa);  Sheila Deignan (Sonoma) and Cheri Stanley (Napa) enjoyed three closings each.

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker;  Ellen Politz (Napa) and Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley (Healdsburg) had four closings during this period.

Jane and Ron Pavelka (Healdsburg/Cloverdale) had six closings for this month and Daniel Casabonne accomplished eight closings during this period – maintaining the pace of two per week.

Congratulations to all!

Aug 17th, 2010Market Update – July, 2010

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Wine Country Group Summary for July, 2010

We closed 59 transactions this July compared to 70 a year ago. The dollar volume was $23.6 million compared to $38.0 million in July, 2009. It appears that some of our normal July sales were squeezed into our very busy June period. Also, a fall off in our REO sales in the month affected the results. We had about 8 REO closings in July this year compared to 24 a year ago. We did maintain a healthy pace with 46 new listings and 53 newly opened escrows for the month. We are 14% ahead year over year with 121 pending sales as of August 15 and we are 22% ahead in pending dollar volume. We are down about 11% in listings with 213 at the end of July, 2010 compared to 238 as of July, 2009.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (30.1%), Healdsburg (26.5%) and Cloverdale (14.0%) markets. In Sonoma County in general for July of this year Frank Howard Allen Realtors has increased its market share to 13% (units sold) and 14.2% (dollar volume). All of the Frank Howard Allen agents in the area are outperforming the competition.

July, 2010 – Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of July in Napa County (775) was 22% higher than the inventory (634) at this time last year. It was equal to the inventory in June, 2010 (774). New sales (165) were 20% ahead of the pace a year ago (137) and 9% ahead of the month of June (151). The median price of the homes closed in Napa County in July was $385,000, 10% higher than that of both a month ago a year ago and the highest since November of 2009. The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in July (105) that was 19% higher than that of a year ago (89) and 12% ahead of that of June (95). American Canyon has just 1.4 months supply of inventory based on new sales. Up Valley Napa County has a 16.2 month supply.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 210 units at the end of July, 2010. This compares with 204 at the end of July, 2009. Sales for the month (13) were 44% ahead of the pace of a year ago (9), but 35% below the pace last month (20). The Up Valley market seems relatively stable at 10 to 20 sales per month.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1843) in Sonoma County at the end of July was 24% higher than a year ago (1485). That’s the high water mark for available listings in the past year. New sales (601) in July were 11% ahead of the pace in July, 2009 (540) and they were 14% ahead of the pace of last month (528). The median price of homes closed in July in Sonoma County was $340,000. This is slightly higher than the medium price of closed homes in July, 2009 ($335,000) and somewhat in line with the median price over the past twelve months. The average price per square foot of sold homes has stabilized around $230-$250/sq. ft. Based on the current sales pace, there is a 3.1 month supply of inventory – a continuing indication of a “seller’s market”.

Sonoma Valley Trends: Not reflecting the county trend, the inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (243) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of July was 4% below that for July, 2009 (254). It was comparable to that of last month (230). There were 46 new sales for the month which is 15% higher than that of a year ago (40) and equal to that of last month (43). There were 32 closings in the Sonoma Valley in July and our Sonoma Valley offices closed 32 units – so our agents obviously handled transactions outside of the Valley.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (121) in Healdsburg at the end of July was 16% higher than that of the available inventory (104) in July, ‘09. New sales (26) were 44% ahead of that of last month (18) and were 37% ahead of that of a year ago (19). There is a 4.7 month supply of available homes and condominiums for sale based upon the current sales pace.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (55) at the end of July, 2010 was 77% higher than that of a year ago (31) and remained equal to that of month ago (58). Sales for the month of July (13) have fallen off sharply from 25 in April, 26 in May and 19 in June. Perhaps the eclipsing of the First Time Homebuyer’s Program in June has had an impact on sales in Cloverdale.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (73) at the end of July was equal to that of the inventory (74) last month and was 35% ahead of the inventory of July, 2009 (54). There were 45 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in July which is 29% higher than the 35 sales in July of 2009. The new sales level was up 12% from the 40 last month. The current market has just 1.6 months of supply based on the current sales pace. The median price of the 32 homes that closed in Windsor in July was $395,000, the highest in the past fifteen months and 11% higher than the median price of closed homes in July, ’09.

Solano County: Available inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Solano County reached a fifteen month high of 1,288 units in July. This is 59% higher than the inventory in July, 2009 (810). New sales for the month (668) were steady year over year. There is 1.9 months supply of available inventory based on the current sales pace and the median price of closed homes is steady in the $200,000 range.

Closings: The following agents enjoyed closings during the past five weeks: Liz Manfree (St. Helena); Marla and Steve Ericson (St. Helena); Constance Sharpe (Glen Ellen); Kent Mitchell (Healdsburg); Joyce Davison (Sonoma); Gina Clyde (Sonoma); Diane Litchfield (Sonoma); Kendra Martin (Sonoma); Susan Irvine (Glen Ellen); Faeli Vyn (Napa); Hank Lane (Healdsburg); Diane Krause (Sonoma); Cheri Stanley (Napa) and Robyn Makurak (Sonoma).

The following agents enjoyed two closings each: Mara Kahn (Sonoma); Tammy Owens (Sonoma); Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma); Pat and Norm Brown (Sonoma); David Barker (Napa); Diane Harris and Deke Dekay (Healdsburg); Carol Figoni (Healdsburg); Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley (Healdsburg); Erick Rothfeld (Sonoma); Mike Caselli (Sonoma); Dmitra Sutsos (Sonoma); Barbara Sommerville (Sonoma) and Felice Torri (Sonoma).

Sheila Deignan (Sonoma), Terri D’Amico (Sonoma) and Jane and Ron Pavelka (Healdsburg/Cloverdale) had three closings each during this period.

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker had four closings during this period.

And, Daniel Casabonne enjoyed ten closings during this period – two per week.

Congratulations to all!

Jul 24th, 2010Welcome to WCG Management Team

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Addition to Wine Country Group Management Team:   Amir Farhid has joined the management team of Frank Howard Allen Realtors, the Wine Country Group, in the position of Director of Business Development.  Mr. Farhid recently completed his MBA degree at Sonoma State University.  He has been a licensed real estate broker since 2003 and has worked in the mortgage and real estate sales field since obtaining his license.  From 2006 to 2008, Mr. Farhid was an independent broker owner in San Francisco licensed with Frank Howard Allen Realtors.  Since then he has been the Broker/Owner of Pro Capital Mortgage in Novato.

We have been consulting with Amir for the past six months on various topics and with the completion of his MBA program, the opportunity is present for him to come on board.  As Director of Business Development, Amir will concentrate on recruiting, training programs, coaching and business planning to maximize the professionalism, expertise and success of the Wine Country Group agents.

Amir’s office will be in Napa, but he will circulate among the firms offices to complete his responsibilities.   His contact number is 707-265-1616 and his e-mail address is [email protected]

Wine Country Group Summary for 1st Half of 2010

Frank Howard Allen Realtors, the Wine Country Group, enjoyed 379 closed transaction sides with a cumulative value of over $171 million dollars for the first half of 2010.  This is an 8% increase in units and a 22% increase in dollar volume compared to the first half of 2009.  The average sales price of the homes that we closed in the first half of 2010 was $450,000.  This is an increase of 13% from the $398,000 in 2009 and stemmed a four year decline in sales prices for a WCG first half.  Our open sales (445) for the first half of 2010 was 13% ahead of that for 2009, however, cancellations continue at a high rate.  New listings (311) were steady with that of a year ago.  Our Sonoma and Healdsburg offices continue to lead the way with 48% and 26% increase in closed sales for the year over year period.

We had a very strong month of June with 90 closed transactions totaling $46 million in dollar volume compared to 73 closings and $31 million in June, 2009.  This is the highest June unit volume that we have ever experienced.  Again, part of this is attributable to our very wet spring which I believe pushed sales from February, March and April, to April, May and June.   We opened 69 new escrows in June compared to 38 a year ago, and another all time high.  We had 42 new listings compared to 37 a year ago.  Of our 90 closings in June, 53 were out of our Sonoma office.

As of Tuesday (July 13),  we had 113 pending sales with a gross sales dollar volume of $52,000,000.  This compares to 112 pending sales a year ago and $62,000,000 in dollar volume a year ago.   We have about 8% fewer listings (209 compared to 222) year over year, but our average listing price is steady at  slightly under $1,000,000.

We remain solidly number one in market share for units sold in the past twelve months in our Sonoma Valley (30.2%), Healdsburg (26.1%) and Cloverdale (15.5%) markets.  Our Napa and St. Helena offices closed 214 units in the past twelve months giving the firm 3rd place in market share for units sold.

June, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends:   All trends are up in Napa County for the month of June, 2010.  Available inventory is up 17% from a year ago, closings are up 16% and new sales are up 39%.   Approximately 50% of the new sales were “distressed” meaning either foreclosed properties or short sales.  Only 23% (178) of the available inventory (774) are distressed properties.  The median price of the homes and condominiums sold in June was $383,000 which is the highest in the past six months.  The median price of the 66 distressed sales was $319,000 while the median price of the 64 non distressed sales was $449,000.

The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in June (111) that was 54% higher than that of a year ago (72) and 8% ahead of that of May (102).  It is the highest level of monthly new sales in the past five years.  There is a 4.3 month supply of inventory.   Available inventory is 25% ahead of a year ago and closings are 30% ahead of June, 2009.  The number of distressed sales, closings and listings, mirrors the county figures.  

American Canyon has just 1.8 months supply of inventory.  American Canyon has higher percentages of distressed properties than the overall county with 61% of the closings in June being distressed sales and 70% of the available inventory are distressed properties.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends:  The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had 21 new sales in the month of June compared to 10 in June, 2009.  This is the highest level of sales in any month since June of 2005.  Available inventory stands at 212 units which is a twelve month high.  Only 6% of the Up Valley inventory are “distressed” properties (either bank owned or short sales), but 33% of the new sales in June were distressed properties.  Predictably, the distressed properties are selling at a higher rate than the non-distressed properties.

Sonoma County Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,744) in Sonoma County at the end of June was 22% higher than a year ago (1,432).  Of the inventory, 25% of the properties were “distressed” properties, either bank owned or short sales.  New sales (599) in June were 10% ahead of the pace in June, 2009 (543) and were 24% ahead of the pace of last month (483).  Of the new sales in June, 57% were distressed sales.  The median price of  the 500 homes that closed in June in Sonoma  County was $336,000.  This is 11% higher than the medium price of closed homes in June, 2009 ($302,000) and somewhat in line with the median price over the past six months.  42% of the properties that closed in June, 2010 were distressed sales.  Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 2.9 month supply of inventory – a typical indication of a “seller’s market”.  

Sonoma Valley Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (207) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of June was slightly ahead of that  for June, 2009 (200), but it climbed for the seventh straight month from a low of 134 units in December.  Only 15% of the inventory is represented by distressed properties (bank owned or short sales).  There were 41 new sales for the month which is 46% higher than that of a year ago (28).  At the same time, closings (46) were 44% ahead that of June, 2009 (32).  It seems that the late spring may have shifted sales to later in the season.  The months of inventory based on new sales is 5 months – an indication of a stable market.  Of the closed homes for the month, 30% were distressed properties, and of the new sales for the month, 44% were distressed properties.  Understandably, the banks and short sellers are more motivated sellers.

Healdsburg Trends:   The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (119) in Healdsburg at the end of June was 24% higher than that of the available inventory (96) in June, ‘09.  Only 8% of the inventory is represented by distressed properties (bank owned or short sales).  New sales (20) were 26% behind that of a year ago (27).  Though only 8% of the inventory is distressed property, 50% of the new sales and 29% of the closings for the month were distressed properties.  The Healdsburg also seems stable right now.  

Cloverdale Trends:  Closings for the month of June in Cloverdale (28) jumped up from just seven a month ago.  They were 51% ahead of June a year ago (18).   Approximately 50% of the new sales and 50% of the existing inventory is represented by “distressed” properties – either bank owned or short sales.  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (58) at the end of June, 2010 was 66% higher than that of a year ago (35) and inventory is at a 2.8 month supply based on the current sales pace.  Cloverdale is one of the hotter markets in Wine Country at present.

Windsor Trends:  The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (74) at the end of June was 58% higher than that of the inventory (47) in June, 2009.  “Distressed” properties – bank owned or short sales – represent 51% of the inventory.  There were 45 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in June which is 36% ahead of the 33 sales in June of 2009.  62% of the new sales were distressed properties.  The current market has just 1.6 months of supply based on the current sales pace.  The median price of homes sold in Windsor in June was $359,000 which is consistent with the level over the past fifteen months..

Solano County:  Inventory remains very tight in Solano County with only 1.7 months of supply based on the current sales pace.  Distressed properties make up the majority of the market of both the homes that are selling (72%) and those in inventory (63%).  

Closings:   Ian Reilly and Ally May, both of our Sonoma office, had their very first closings with the Wine Country Group in the past five weeks.  Congratulations and wishing them many more!

The following agents enjoyed closings for this period:  Linda Alioto (St. Helena);  Jannette Hall (Napa);  Mara Kahn (Sonoma);  Kendra Martin (Sonoma);  Frank Lazzarotto (Sonoma);  Hank Lane (Healdsburg);  Dee Grohmann (Healdsburg);  Beth Bruno (Healdsburg);  Mari Johnson (Sonoma);  Diane Litchfield (Sonoma);  Debbie Hendershot (Healdsburg);  Jeff Veness (St. Helena);  Dan Gallagher (Sonoma);  Mike Caselli (Sonoma);  Deke Dekay and Diane Harris (Healdsburg); Cherie Choolijian (Sonoma);  Howard Powell (Sonoma);  Mara Kahn (Sonoma);  Jana Jones (Healdsburg) and Erick Rothfeld (Sonoma).

The following agents enjoyed two closings during this period:  Charlee Schanzer (Healdsburg); Terri D’Amico (Sonoma);  Susan Irvine (Sonoma);  Cheri Stanley (Napa);  Pat and Norm Brown (Sonoma) and Gina Clyde (Sonoma).

Joyce Davison (Sonoma);  Diane Krause (Sonoma);  Sheila Deignan (Sonoma);  Erin George (Sonoma);  Aimee Greco (Napa) and Steve and Marla Ericson (St. Helena) enjoyed three closings over this period.

Ellen Politz (Napa) enjoyed four closings during this period.

Sheila Deignan of our Sonoma office enjoyed five closings.

Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley of the Foss Creek team (Healdsburg);  Jane and Ron Pavelka (Healdsburg/Cloverdale) and Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker of our Kenwood office each enjoyed six closings.

And finally, Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office enjoyed ten closings during this five week period – two per week!   Well done.

Congratulations to all!

Jun 10th, 2010The Best

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

The Best

For the eighth consecutive year, Frank Howard Allen Realtors has been voted the “Best Real Estate Company” in the Northbay Biz’s 2010 Readers Poll.  The Northbay Biz is celebrating its 35th year serving Napa, Marin and Sonoma Counties.  As most of you know, Frank Howard Allen Realtors is celebrating it’s 100th year and receiving the “Best” award for the eighth straight year is a fitting tribute. 

Congratulations to the executive, management and staff teams that provide support to over 500 agents working in the Northbay.  And, especially congratulations to our agents who every day are the face of Frank Howard Allen Realtors to our real estate clients.  Job well done, and we will work hard to continue to earn this recognition.

Wine Country Group Summary for May, 2010

Frank Howard Allen Realtors, the Wine Country Group, enjoyed 61 closed transaction sides with a cumulative value of over $28 million dollars in May.  This is fewer than we had in May, 2008 (70 sides and $34M), but was more than May 2005-2008.  I believe that the rainy and cold weather in February and March may have “dampened” the market.  We did open 70 new escrows in May compared to 40 a year ago, so perhaps it is just a delay in the market.   Our Sonoma and Healdsburg offices continue to lead the way with our Napa and Kenwood offices doing well also.

As of this Monday (July 7),  we had 124 pending sales with a gross sales dollar volume of $63,000,000.  This is 15% higher than the number of pending sales a year ago (108) and 21% higher in dollar volume ($52M).  We have about 10% fewer listings (202 compared to 226) year over year, but our average listing price is up t0 $1,044,000 compared to $956,000 a year ago.

We remain solidly number one in market share for units sold in the past twelve months in our Sonoma Valley (29.2%), Healdsburg (26.8%) and Cloverdale (15.3%) markets.  Our Napa and St. Helena offices closed 223 units in the past twelve months giving the firm 3rd place in market share for units sold.

May, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends:   New sales of homes and condominiums for the month of May (167) were 27.5% ahead of the pace a year ago (131) and were at the highest level for any single month since June of 2005.  Approximately 50% of the new sales were “distressed” meaning either foreclosed properties or short sales.  There were 118 closings for the month, 16% ahead of May a year ago (102).  55% of those closings were distressed sales.  The median price of the homes and condominiums sold in May was $356,000 which is fairly consistent with the level over the past fifteen months.  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of May in Napa County (715) was 9% ahead of  the inventory (655) at this time last year.  It was 6% higher than the inventory in April, 2010 (671) which is consistent with the seasonal growth in activity in the spring.  Of the 715 available properties, only 20% of them were distressed properties, so the inventory is carrying more conventional properties than the sales and closing activity indicates.  

The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in March (121) that was 73% higher than that of a year ago (70) and 22% ahead of that of April (99) and has just a 3.5 month supply of inventory – typically, an indication of a seller’s market.  The rainy and late spring may have pushed the timing of sales back this year.  The number of distressed sales, closings and listings, mirrors the county figures.  

American Canyon has just 2.3 months supply of inventory.  American Canyon has higher percentages of distressed properties than the overall county with 70% of the closings in May being distressed sales.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends:  The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 207 units at the end of May, 2010.  This compares with 196 at the end of May, 2009.  Sales for the month (16) were comparable to the pace of a year ago (14) and to that of last month (13).  The Up Valley market seems to be stable at the moment.   Only 7% of the Up Valley properties are “distressed” properties (either bank owned or short sales), but 36% of the closings in May were distressed properties – so the distressed properties are the ones that are selling.

Sonoma County Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,596) in Sonoma County at the end of May was 13% higher than a year ago (1,409).  Of the inventory, 25% of the properties were “distressed” properties, either bank owned or short sales.  New sales (555) in May were 4% ahead of the pace in May, 2009 (532) but they were 16% behind of the pace of last month (663).  Of the new sales in May, 52% were distressed sales.  The median price of  the 441 homes that closed in May in Sonoma  County was $348,000.  This is 10% higher than the medium price of closed homes in May, 2009 ($315,000) and somewhat in line with the median price over the past six months.  As with the new sales for the month, of the properties that closed in May, 2010, 50% were distressed sales.  Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 2.9 month supply of inventory – a typical indication of a “seller’s market”.  

Sonoma Valley Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (213) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of May was 6% below that  for Mary, 2009 (226), but it climbed for the sixth straight month from a low of 163 units in December.  Only 15% of the inventory is represented by distressed properties (bank owned or short sales).  There were 47 new sales for the month which is 31% higher than that of a year ago (36).  At the same time, closings (34) were 21% below that of May, 2009 (43).  It seems that the late spring may have shifted sales to later in the season.  The months of inventory based on new sales is 4.5 months – an indication of a stable market.  Of the closed homes for the month, 50% were distressed properties, and of the new sales for the month, 34% were distressed properties.  Understandably, the banks and short sellers are more motivated sellers.

Healdsburg Trends:   The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (111) in Healdsburg at the end of May was 26% higher than that of the available inventory (88) in May, ‘09.  New sales (16) were 33% ahead of that of a year ago (12).  The Healdsburg also seems stable right now.  

Cloverdale Trends:  Though there were only 7 closings in the month of May in Cloverdale, there were 32 new sales – the highest level of sales for any month since May of 2005.   Approximately 50% of the new sales and 50% of the existing inventory is represented by “distressed” properties – either bank owned or short sales.  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (53) at the end of May, 2010 was 32% higher than that of a year ago (40) and inventory is at a 1.7 month supply based on the current sales pace.  Cloverdale is one of the hotter markets in Wine Country at present.

Windsor Trends:  The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (76) at the end of May was 40% higher than that of the inventory (54) in May, 2009.  “Distressed” properties – bank owned or short sales – represent 46% of the inventory.  There were 48 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in May which is 37% ahead of the 35 sales in May of 2009.  60% of the new sales were distressed properties.  The current market has just 1.6 months of supply based on the current sales pace.  The median price of homes sold in Windsor in May was $342,000 which is consistent with the level over the past fifteen months..

Solano County:  Inventory remains very tight in Solano County with only 1.7 months of supply based on the current sales pace.  Distressed properties make up the majority of the market of both the homes that are selling (70%) and those in inventory (60%).  

Training:   The new series of Contract Training for the Summer, 2010 begins on June 18 and continues for eight total sessions ending on July 12th.  If you would like more information, please contact your manager.  The company does pay for this training if you have manager approval and attend all classes.

Management Training:  We are beginning a new series of Management Training with our trainer “par excellance” Sandy Schaefer.  There are four day long sessions that begin on Friday, July 9th.  There is a $250.00 fee to attend the training.  If you desire to attend, please contact your manager.

Advisory Letters regarding REOs and Short Sales:  We have received a series of advisory letters to be used for buyers and sellers in REO and Short Sale transactions.  Staff will be putting these on FHA-WCG letterhead and placing them in the forms files and in the forms section of our intranet, MyWineCountryGroup.com.  These are for immediate use and Regina will be adding these as required forms on our escrow check-off list and she will be seeing that the letters are in each of our open and to be opened files.

Please discuss with your manager if you have any questions.

Closings:  I missed an update last month, so this list includes closings from 4/12 through 6/4.  Dina Mogannam enjoyed her first closing using her license with the firm – many more for Dina!  

The following agents also enjoyed closings for this period:  Liz Manfree (St. Helena);  Lark Raymond (Napa);  Mara Kahn (Sonoma);  Tish Thames (Sonoma);  Frank Lazzarotto (Sonoma);  Charlee Schanzer (Healdsburg);  Helaine Forte (Napa);  Ann Amtower (Healdsburg);  Beth Bruno (Healdsburg);  Hank Lane (Healdsburg);  Lisa Albertson (Sonoma/Healdsburg);  Linda Alioto (St. Helena);  Terri D”Amico (Sonoma);  Debbie Hendershot (Healdsburg);  Jeff Veness (St. Helena);  Chuck Post (Sonoma);  Ann Foley (Sonoma);  Bill Streett (Sonoma);  Isaac Raboy (Sonoma);  Aimee Greco (Napa);  Vinni Bubak (Napa) and Mary Beth Foster (Sonoma).

Dee Grohmann of our Healdsburg office also had one closing during this period, but it was for $6,100,000 and warrants special recognition!  Well done Dee!

The following agents enjoyed two closings during this period:  Penelope La Montagne (Healdsburg);  Diane Litchfield (Sonoma);  Dan Gallagher (Sonoma);  Susan Irvine (Sonoma);  Faeli Vyn (Napa);  Barbara Sommerville (Sonoma);  Constance Sharpe (Glen Ellen);  Jana Jones (Healdsburg);  Mike Caselli (Sonoma);  Jane Barker (Napa);  Deke Dekay and Diane Harris (Healdsburg); and Erin George (Sonoma).

Cheri Stanley (Napa);  Gina Clyde (Sonoma);  Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma);  and David Barker (Napa) enjoyed three closings over this period.

Kendra Martin (Sonoma) enjoyed four closings during this period.

Pat Brown (Sonoma) and Diane Krause (Sonoma) each enjoyed five closings.

Carol Lexa (Healdsburg);  Jane and Ron Pavelka (Healdsburg/Cloverdale) and Sheila Deignan (Sonoma) each enjoyed six closings.

Susan Montgomery enjoyed seven closings during this period including six at Foss Creek where she teams with Amanda Stampley.

And finally, Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office nosed out Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker of our Kenwood office with thirteen closings to Doug and Susan’s twelve during this eight week period.

Congratulations to all!

Apr 11th, 2010In Memoriam – John Scott Rader

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

In Memoriam – John Scott Rader

Most of you know that our good friend and colleague passed away several weeks ago. There was a celebration of Scott’s life yesterday with lots of laughs and tears. For those who could not attend, below is a poem written by one of our Healdsburg agents, Penelope La Montagne, that was included as part of the day:

It all comes down to this…
For Scott Rader, In Memoriam

It comes down to the shirts he wore,
that salmon color, the deep orange, the ochre.
He would say Sue picked it out
deflecting somehow the boldness of it.

It comes down to the six pack in the fridge,
for Wednesday night poker,
the peanut butter sandwiches,
the pillow talk timbre of his voice
in conversation, the wit – so wry,
his jaunty gait never let you forget
the boy inside the man,
the breath pulled in on his laugh,
as if he had surprised himself.
It comes down to the fences he built,
and houses, and bridges between people.
He did what he wanted,
and he did it well, and
he would tell you if
what you were attempting
wasn’t worth doing.
He knew about things
and he made them happen
in a way that caused
no fragment in the weave.
He was a man among men
who never lost the devil in him.
He made things work, and some
will call him great, and
they would not be wrong.
It all comes down to
how comfortable
you felt about yourself
when you were with him,
and how we all loved him for that.

Wine Country Market Trends

Wine Country Group Summary for 1st Quarter and Month of March, 2010

We ended the first quarter with 169 closed transactions with a cumulative value of over $71 million dollars. This is the highest number of transactions that we have ever closed in a first quarter since founding the company. However, the dollar volume falls below our 1st quarter record of over $100 million dollars achieved in 2005. We did compare very favorably to the 1st quarter of 2009 finishing this year’s quarter 20% ahead of 2009 in units closed and 42% ahead in gross dollar volume. Our Healdsburg (+166%) and our Sonoma office (+93%) are leading the way for the firm. Our new listings for the first quarter (141) were 15% behind that of the first quarter of last year but newly opened sales (90) were 30% ahead of 2009. All in all, a promising start to 2010.

The month of March made a strong rebound from the month of February. We closed 62 transactions with a value of $26.5 million dollars compared to 40 transactions with a value of $12.7 million in February and 42 transactions with a value of $11.9 million dollars in March of 2009. New listings for March (51) compares to 31 in February and 38 in March, 2009. New sales (70) compare to 44 in February and 51 in March, 2009.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (28.3%), Healdsburg (28.2%) and Cloverdale (14.7%) markets. Our Sonoma office closed 31.9% of the transactions closed in the Sonoma Valley in the first quarter of 2010, up from 24% in the 1st quarter of 2009. In Sonoma County in general for the first three months of this year Frank Howard Allen Realtors has increased its closings from 229 to 311 while our two nearest competitors have had reduced closings from 412 to 337 and from 322 to 286 respectively. All of the Frank Howard Allen agents in the area are outperforming the competition.

March, 2010 – Wine Country Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of March in Napa County (620) was 9% below the inventory (682) at this time last year. It was 7% higher than the inventory in February, 2010 (578) which continues the reversal of a downward trend that persisted for over a year. It is reasonable to expect a continued increase in inventory as the spring market evolves. New sales (188) were 71% ahead of the pace a year ago (110) and 47% ahead of the month of February (128). The median price of the homes closed in Napa County in March was $345,000, 5% higher than that of both a month ago a year ago. The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in March (119) that was 78% higher than that of a year ago (67) and 32% ahead of that of February (90) and has just a 3.1 month supply of inventory – typically, an indication of a seller’s market. American Canyon has just 1.1 months supply of inventory. Up Valley Napa County has a 11.3 month supply.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends:
The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 180 units at the end of March, 2010. This compares with 163 at the end of March, 2009. Sales for the month (16) were 129% ahead of the pace of a year ago and 78% ahead of the pace last month. The Up Valley market seems to be finally gaining some momentum.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1374) in Sonoma County at the end of March was 12% lower than a year ago, but it was 15% higher than it was at the end of last month (1,191). We expect inventory to continue to climb as the spring market gets going. New sales (632) in March were 14% ahead of the pace in March, 2009 (553) and they were 42% ahead of the pace of last month (444). The median price of homes closed in March in Sonoma County was $325,000. This is 6.5% higher than the medium price of closed homes in March, 2009 ($305,000) and somewhat in line with the median price over the past six months. The average price per square foot of sold homes has stabilized around $230-$240/sq. ft. Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 2.2 month supply of inventory – a definite indication of a “seller’s market”.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (184) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of March was 10% below that for March, 2009 (205), but it climbed for the fourth straight month from a low of 163 units in December. There were 56 new sales for the month which is 19% higher than that of a year ago (47) and 124% ahead of last month (25). The months of inventory based on new sales dropped to 3.3 months. There were 36 closings in the Sonoma Valley in March and our Sonoma Valley offices closed 29 units so our agents obviously handled transactions outside of the Valley.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (90) in Healdsburg at the end of March was just slightly higher than that of the available inventory (86) in March, ‘09. The inventory was 17% higher than the 77 units that were available at the end of last month. New sales (21) were 250% ahead of that of last month (6) and were 162% ahead of that of a year ago (8). The Healdsburg market seems to be gaining great momentum going into the later spring.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (45) at the end of March, 2010 was 32% lower than that of a year ago (66) and remained equal to that of month ago (44). Sales for the month of March (20) were equal to that of March, 2009 (21) and were slightly ahead of the 17 sales last month. There were only six closings in February, but there were 13 in March.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (75) at the end of March was equal to that of the inventory (74) in March, 2009 and was 42% ahead of the inventory of last month (53). There were 41 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in March which is 24% less than the 54 sales in March of 2009. The new sales level was up 46% from the 28 last month. The current market has just 1.8 months of supply based on the current sales pace. Prices bumped up to $233 per square foot and a median of $348,000 last month.

Training: Legal Update: The Spring Legal Updates are scheduled as follows:
Thursday, April 15, 8:30 to 11:10 – Rohnert Park
Tuesday, June 1, 8:30 to 11:10 – San Rafael

Closings: The following agents enjoyed closings for the period from 3/08 to 4/09: Steve & Marla Ericson (St. Helena); Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma); Susan Irvine (Sonoma); Ellen Politz (Napa); Lark Raymond (Napa); Mike Caselli (Sonoma); Scott Inglis (Sonoma); Mari Johnson (Sonoma); Tammy Owens (Sonoma); Kendra Martin (Sonoma); Dee Grohmann (Healdsburg); Pam Giusto (Sonoma); Alicia Robledo (Sonoma); Charlee Schanzer (Healdsburg); Helaine Forte (Napa); Randy Haak (Glen Ellen); Ann Amtower (Healdsburg); Erin George (Sonoma) and Howard Powell (Sonoma).

The following agents had two closings during this period: Diane Krause (Sonoma); Cheri Stanley (Napa); Robyn Makaruk (Sonoma); Mary Beth Foster (Sonoma); Lisa Albertson (Sonoma/Healdsburg); Carol Lexa (Healdsburg) and Joyce Davison (Sonoma).

Jane and Ron Pavelka (Healdsburg/Cloverdale) and Sheila Deignan (Sonoma) enjoyed three closings over this period.

Jana Jones (Healdsburg) and David Barker (Napa) each enjoyed four closings during this period.

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker of our Kenwood office had six closings during this stretch and Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office had a busy five weeks with twelve closings.

Congratulations to all!

Mar 12th, 2010Market Updates – February, 2010

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Wine Country Market Trends

Wine Country Group Update for February, 2009

One of our clients recently asked the following intriguing question:  Do you access to data that shows regional trends (wine country) in residential sales prices over the past twelve years?

Just so happens that we began recording data for our wine country offices in 1998.  Based on our sample size (from 250 to 700 units per year) it should be representative of the regional trends.  I find the results quite interesting.

Prices appreciated 67% from 1998 to 2001.  They dipped 2% in 2002 as the market adjusted to 9/11.  They then appreciated 60% from 2002 to 2006.  The overall appreciation between 1998 and 2006 was 160% or 20% per year on average.  Since 2006, prices have declined 40% through 2009, or down 13% per year on average.  So, prices today are 43% higher than they were in 1998, or an average annual appreciation rate over the past 11 years of 3.8%.

February was a far cry from our record month for closings in January.  Of course, February closings would have been December sales and the end of December was very slow.  For the month we closed 40 units compared to 67 in January.  It is reasonable in retrospect as we closed 44,33,35 and 37 in the prior four years in February.  Despite having measurable rain on 14 days in the month and the majority of the rest of the days being overcast, damp and cold, we opened 44 new escrows compared to 43 a year ago and 27 in 2008.  Our listing inventory (168 units) as of 3/1/10 is comparable to that of a year ago (174).  The average asking price ($881,000) of our current listings is 16% higher than this time a year ago ($759,000).  Our pending sales as of 3/1/10 (104 units) total $52M in transaction volume compared to 93 units and $47M a year ago.  

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley (28.5%), Healdsburg (28.3%) and Cloverdale (14.2%) markets.  Our Napa office continues to improve on a year over year basis and is a solid number three in market share for the firms with major offices based in the Napa Valley.  In Sonoma County in general for the first two months of this year Frank Howard Allen Realtors has increased its closings from 153 to 191 while our two nearest competitors have had reduced closings from 270 to 216 and from 199 to 178 respectively.  All of the Frank Howard Allen agents in the area are outperforming the competition.

February, 2010 – Market Analysis

Napa County Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of February in Napa County (578) was 14% below the inventory (673) at this time last year.  It was 7% higher than the inventory in January, 2010 (540) which is a reversal of a downward trend that persisted for over a year.  It is reasonable to expect an increase in inventory as the spring market evolves.   New sales (144) were 40% ahead of the pace a year ago (103) and 29% ahead of the month of January (112).  The average price per square foot of the homes closed in Napa County in February was $249/sf, 8% higher than a month ago and 25% higher than that of a year ago.  The city of Napa had an increase in new sales in February (102) that was 59% higher than that of a year ago (64) and 52% ahead of that of January (67) and has just a 3.5 month supply of inventory – an indication of a seller’s market.   American Canyon has just 1.3 months supply of inventory.  Up Valley Napa County has a 15.7 month supply.    

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends:  The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 157 units at the end of February, 2010.  This compares with 152 at the end of February, 2009.  The inventory has declined 25% from the high level of 210 units that occurred in June of last year.  Sales for the month (10) were generally consistent with the pace of the past five months.  The Up Valley market seems to be stable at the moment.   

Sonoma County Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,191) in Sonoma County at the end of February was 26% lower than a year ago, but it was 6% higher than it was at the end of last month (1,126).  We expect inventory to continue to climb as the spring market gets going.  New sales (517) in February were 20% ahead of the pace in February, 2009 (430) and they were 16% ahead of the pace of last month (445).  The median price of homes closed in February in Sonoma  County was $325,000.  This is 14% higher than the medium price of closed homes in February, 2009 ($285,000) and somewhat in line with the median price over the past six months.  The average price per square foot of sold homes has stabilized around $230-$240/sq. ft.  Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 2.3 month supply of inventory – a definite indication of a “seller’s market”.  
Sonoma Valley Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (146) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of February was 18% below that  for February, 2009 (178).  It was comparable to  that of last month (149).   There were 32 new sales for the month which is 33% higher than that of a year ago (24) and 23% ahead of last month (26).

The median sales price for the 32 homes that closed last month was $470,000 45% higher than the median price of $325,000 a year ago and was ahead of all months in the last twelve except July, 2009 when it was $509,000.  There were 32 closings in the Sonoma Valley in February and our Sonoma Valley offices closed 25 units so our agents obviously handled transactions outside of the Valley..

Healdsburg Trends:   The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (77) in Healdsburg at the end of February was equal to that of the available inventory (78) in February, ‘09.  The inventory was higher than the 64 units that were available at the end of last month due to a new planned unit development coming on the market.  New sales (7) were equal to that of last month and to that of a year ago.  It is expected that the spring market will bring in an up tick in both listings and sales.  

Cloverdale Trends:  The inventory of homes and condominiums  for sale in Cloverdale (44) at the end of February, 2010 was 37% lower than a year ago (70) and 16% ahead of that of a month ago (38). Sales for the month of February (22) was ahead of 17 a year ago and 15 last month.  There were only six closings last month, but the new sales activity is high.

Windsor Trends:  The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (53) at the end of February was 39% lower than the inventory (87) in February, 2009 and was 26% ahead of the inventory of last month (42).  There were 30 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in February which is 22% higher than the 25 sales in January of 2009.  The new sales level was down from the 34 last month. The current market has just 1.8 months of supply based on the current sales pace.  Prices have stabilized at slightly over $200 to $210 per square foot.  

Training:  Don’t forget the upcoming course:  “Taking a Listing When Competing with a Top Producer”.   This includes winning the listing and not reducing your commission!   A good thing all around.

The classes are scheduled as follows:  Tuesday, March 23 @ 9:00 am in the Sonoma office;  Tuesday, March 30 @ 10:00 am in our Napa office;  and, Tuesday, April 6 @ 9:00 am in our Healdsburg office.   Please plan to attend one of these trainings.

Legal Update:  The Spring Legal Updates are scheduled as follows:
Thursday, April 15, 8:30 to 11:10 – Rohnert Park
Tuesday, June 1, 8:30 to 11:10 – San Rafael  

Closings:  The following agents enjoyed closings so far during the past two weeks:   Linda Alioto (St. Helena);  Jane and Ron Pavelka (Cloverdale);  Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma);  Susan Irvine (Sonoma);  Aimee Greco (Napa);  Ellen Politz (Napa);  Sheila Deignan (Sonoma);  Mary Beth Foster (Sonoma);  Isaac Raboy (Sonoma);  Erick Rothfeld (Sonoma);  and Cheri Stanley (Napa).

The following agents had two closings during this period:  Pam Giusto (Sonoma);  Daniel Casabonne (Sonoma);  and David Barker (Napa).

And, Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker of our Kenwood office had a busy two weeks with seven closings.

Congratulations to all!

Feb 25th, 2010Realtor Emeritus

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Realtor® Emeritus:  Our favorite, fabulous leader, Earl, has received well deserved recognition from the National Association of Realtors®.  The certificate that Earl recently received states the following:  “The National Association of Realtors® hereby honors and bestows upon Earl Shuttleworth the status of Realtor® Emeritus.  This status is awarded with deepest gratitude in recognition of forty cumulative years of membership in the National Association of Realtors® and in recognition of valuable and lasting contribution to the real estate profession in the Community”.

Earl certainly has made a valuable and lasting contribution to our firm and to all of those with whom he has come in contact over the years.  And, he really has 47 years of continuous NAR membership.  Wishing him many more successful years ahead.

Training:  We are happy to announce our first series of Wine Country Group trainings for the new year.  Joyce Davison is developing a course entitled:  “Taking a Listing When Competing with a Top Producer”.   This includes winning the listing and not reducing your commission!   A good thing all around.

The classes are scheduled as follows:  Tuesday, March 23 @ 9:00 am in the Sonoma office;  Tuesday, March 30 @ 10:00 am in our Napa office;  and, Tuesday, April 6 @ 9:00 am in our Healdsburg office.   Please plan to attend one of these trainings.

There is a revision to the CAR Residential Purchase Agreement coming out in April.  We will be holding trainings in each of our offices, but also keep an eye out for NorBAR trainings.

Winforms is becoming ZipForms and requires an upgrade if you are using WinForms on your own computer.  Please take a look at this link: http://www.car.org/tools/zipForm6/.  There is a series of webinars listed so that you can get accustomed to the new look and feel.

CAR Q & A’s:  Sometimes the questions that we are asked by our clients are covered in CAR Q & A’s.  I readily hand out Q&A’s on topics such as Prop. 60, tax consequences of a sale, etc.  A couple of useful newer ones are:  
    “Credit After Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, or Short Sale”  the link for this is:  http://www.car.org/legal/2009-qa/credit-aft-forecl-bankrup-short/

“Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure” the link is: http://www.car.org/legal/2008articles/deed-in-lieu-foreclosure/

“Homebuyer Tax Credit Update” the link is: http://www.car.org/legal/legal-questions-answers/2010-qa/homebuyer-tax-credit-update/

Nonrefundable Deposits:  There is also a Realegal update (http://www.car.org/legal/special-features/realegal-chart/2010-realegals/realegal-2-12-10/) dated February 12, 2010, entitled:  “Nonrefundable Deposit Deemed Invalid.”  It sites a recent court case.  The position of our legal counsel has always been that in residential 1-4 unit transactions there is “no such thing” as a nonrefundable deposit.  Even if the parties are willing to “create” a nonrefundable deposit, it may not be enforceable.  If you are asked to draft an agreement that contains clauses attempting to create a nonrefundable deposit, please call me or your manager before proceeding.

Closings:  The following agents enjoyed closings so far during February:  

Mari Johnson (Sonoma);  Lisa Albertson (Sonoma);  Linda Alioto (St. Helena);  Cherie Choolijian (Sonoma);  Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma);  Ann Amtower (Healdsburg);  Diane Harris and Deke DeKay (Healdsburg);  Jana Jones (Healdsburg);  and Mike Caselli (Sonoma).

The following agents had two closings during this period: Felice Torri (Sonoma);  Jane and Ron Pavelka (Cloverdale);  Barbara Sommerville (Sonoma);  Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker (Kenwood);  and the Foss Creek Condominium team of Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley.

Daniel Casabonne (Sonoma) and David Barker (Napa) had three closings each.

And, Kendra Martin has had a good month so far with six closings.

Congratulations to all!

Feb 11th, 2010Wine Country Group and Market Updates – January, 2010

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Wine Country Group Summary for January, 2010

We closed 67 transaction sides in the January, 2010. This is more than in any January in our history. This is 22% more than we closed in January, 2009 (55). Our dollar volume ($32M) was 60% ahead of the volume last January ($20M). Our open sales for the month (51) were 38% ahead of that for January, 2009 (37), and our new listings for the month (41) were 58% ahead of that of a year ago (26). Overall a very solid month which offers optimism moving into the new year. Our listing inventory (167 units) as of 2/8/10 is 6% behind that of a year ago (177) while in most of our market areas, inventory is down as much as 20-40% year over year. The average asking price ($838,000) of our current listings is 22% higher than this time a year ago ($689,000). Our pending sales as of 2/8/10 (109 units) total $50M in transaction volume compared to 70 units and $35M a year ago.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley, Healdsburg and Cloverdale markets. Our Napa office continues to improve on a year over year basis and is a solid number three in market share for the firms with major offices based in the Napa Valley. Our agents and staff are working hard to keep us ahead of the competition in most of our markets in year over year productivity.

January, 2010 – Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of January in Napa County (540) was 20% below the inventory (674) at this time last year. It was slightly higher than the inventory in December, 2009 (540) which is a reversal of a downward trend that persisted for over a year. It is reasonable to expect an increase in inventory as the spring market evolves. New sales (121) were 20% ahead of the pace a year ago. The average price per square foot of the homes closed in Napa County has stabilized at about $230/sf over the past several months.. American Canyon has just 1.4 months supply of inventory and the town of Napa has 4.4 months. Up Valley Napa County has a 12.7 month supply.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 152 units at the end of January. This compares with 140 at the end of January, 2009. The inventory has declined 28% from the high level of 210 units that occurred in June of last year. Sales for the month (12) were generally consistent with the pace of the past four months and better than that of a year ago, ‘08. The Up Valley market seems to be continuing to improve.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,126) in Sonoma County at the end of January was 32% lower than a year ago, but it was 3% higher than it was at the end of last month (1,093). We expect inventory to continue to climb as the spring market gets going. New sales (509) in January were 21% ahead of the pace in January, 2009 (421) and they were 24% ahead of the pace of last month (413). The median price of homes closed in December in Sonoma County was $340,000. This is 13% higher than the medium price of closed homes in January, 2009 ($300,000). The average price per square foot of sold homes has stabilized around $235-$240/sq. ft. Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 2.2 month supply of inventory.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (149) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of January was 10% below that for January, 2009 (166). It was 13% higher than that of last month (132) indicating a rising trend going into the spring. There were 30 new sales for the month which is pretty consistent with the sales pace over the past twelve months.

The median sales price for the 33 homes that closed in December was $428,000 22% higher than the median price of $350,000 a year ago and well ahead of the lowest median price ($313,000) set for the year in April of 2009. There were 24 closings in the Sonoma Valley in January and our Sonoma Valley offices closed 30 units. We obviously handled some outside of the Valley, but it seems we got a good share of the Valley closings for the month.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (64) in Healdsburg at the end of January was 16% below that of the available inventory (76) in January, ‘09. The inventory was equal to the 63 units that were available at the end of last month. New sales (9 dropped from the 14 in December and were equal to the pace of a year ago.. We’ll see if the spring market picks up the pace of both listings and sales.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (38) at the end of January, 2010 was 45% lower than a year ago (69) and was equal to that of a month ago. Sales for the month of January shot up to 17 from 8 a year ago and 9 last month. The median price of the homes sold in Cloverdale in the month of January was $270,000, 33% higher than a year ago, but there were only six closings in the month.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (42) at the end of January was 52% lower than the inventory (87) in January, 2009 and was equal to the inventory of last month. There were 40 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in January which is jump up from the 22 new sales last month, but consistent with the 36 sales in January of 2009.. The current market has just 1.1 months of supply based on the current sales pace. Prices have stabilized at slightly over $200 to $210 per square foot.

Please contact me for additional information and copies of the complete TrendGraphix reports.

Marketing Tip: Again borrowing from Rick DeLuca (http://www.RealEstateIdeaClub.com) he has some good counsel if the “market has you down – thinking slump”. He cautions against finding yourself in an emotional slump but thinking it’s a production slump. Rick suggests:

“You MUST do a few things specifically to ease this type of slump. Here are some suggestions to consider:

1. Consciously look for something positive EVERY DAY. Find something in the news, around the office, people you know, something you’ve read, anything
that can be categorized as positive. If you just let positive things enter your life on their own, you may be waiting a long while.

2. It’s absolutely crucial you have a list each day of what precisely you need to accomplish. Have a short list to start with, if this is a new activity for you. Only five or six things that you really need to do today. At the end of the day give yourself the opportunity of looking down at your list and seeing a check mark by each task. You deserve to have a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction or success on a daily basis. As a matter of fact – you need this!

3. As corny as it may sound, immerse yourself in positive books, CD’s, podcasts, streaming video, anything that is positive in nature. It’s difficult to maintain a negative mindset if you are consistently inputting positives. That’s what it’s all about.

4. Call someone who has been helpful to you and thank them for their support or whatever may be appropriate for them. Follow-up immediately with a handwritten note. It’s very difficult to do a positive activity such as this and maintain a negative attitude.

Green Solution?: Have trouble keeping your flyer box stocked on your listing sign pole? Looks unprofessional and sloppy? Wasting paper throwing out wet and wilted flyers? Look into Flyer on a Chain – www.flyeronachain.com. A green, long lasting and low maintenance solution.

I’ll cover closings in the next blog update, so keep your eye out!

Jan 30th, 20102010 Wine Country Group Kick-off

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

Here are my remarks to our agents and staff who gathered for our 2010 Wine Country Group Kick-off last Friday at the Oakmont Golf Club:

“Good morning everyone. I’d like to propose a toast. Here’s to a new decade beginning in 2010; here’s to a new century beginning for Frank Howard Allen Realtors in 2010; and here’s to all of you, agents, staff, managers and guests – thanks for your tremendous efforts in 2009 and here’s to moving ahead! Cheers!

I’d like to thank those who worked so hard to pull this 2010 Kick-off together: Alma, Susie, Frank, Earl, Lori, and the marvelous decorating team of Carol Lexa and Danuta.

Also at the outset, I’d like to thank all of our staff and managers who work so hard to support our sales associates. Staff and managers, please stand up to be acknowledged. Earl and I particularly want to recognize Lori Sargiotto for all that she does to keep us on track. Otherwise, we would be a train wreck.

I’d also like to recognize those listed on the program as new agents to the firm. Can those who joined The Wine Country Group in 2009 please stand?

And, those listed on the program with 10+, 15+, up to 30+ years with the firm (how about that Frank Lazzarotto?). Will you also please stand an be acknowledged?

Thank you all.

In the music that has backed up the slides this morning, some of you may have recognized the Debussy piece entitled Clare de Lune. I included this piece in today’s program because it is part of a Youtube video that a friend passed along to us last week. I will share the link to this video with all of you in the next update to the Broker Blog,

www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9xwCG0Ey2Mg

it is quite inspirational. Let me describe it a bit in the meantime.

It opens with the sound of the beginning phrase of Clare de Lune and pans in on the back of a young man sitting at the piano. The playing is beautiful. As the camera approaches, you can see that the young man is in a wheel chair. As the camera pans around the wheelchair you can see that his hands are in an awkward and bent position. The narrator starts to explain that the young man, Patrick Hughes, was born without eyes and with a condition that does not allow him to extend his arms – they are bent and crippled. But that when he plays music…”it is the music of possibility and the sound of promise”. The camera faces Patrick directly and the narrator asks: “How would you describe your disabilities?” And Patrick answers forcefully: “Not disabilities at all – more abilities.” Then it jumps to a scene of Patrick in full band gear playing trumpet for the Louisville University Marching Band with his father guiding him through the precise band drills in his wheelchair. It goes on for 6 minutes and it is quite wonderful.

For me, the video speaks to an attitude towards life – life as it comes to us. We all know how important a positive attitude is in living our lives, in doing our jobs, in being a salesperson. It is that positive attitude that allows us to see the possibilities, and the promise, in all the things around us.

Ahead is the theme for this Kick-off and this year. What lies ahead? None of us know, really. But personally, I am determined to get there – to move ahead. We will be completing our new Strategic Plan in the first quarter of this year and that will give us direction on how we will improve the brokerage and make it even better.

We had good results and we made strides in 2009. We are the market leader in the Northern California Wine Country. No other firm can claim that. You, our agents and staff, have worked to get us there. We have three agents in the top fifteen of the 2,755 agents in Sonoma County. We have the 2nd and 7th most productive agents out of the 637 agents in Napa County. We have six of the top 12 agents in Healdsburg, the top agents in Cloverdale and the top agent in Up Valley Napa. Diane Krause of our Sonoma office had the largest single residential sale in the Wine Country in 2009 at more than $6.4 million. Across Wine Country – you are obtaining spectacular results.

As most of you know, 2010 is the one hundred year anniversary of the founding of Frank Howard Allen Realtors. We are proud to be associated with a firm with such deep roots and with such a long record of leadership, success and contribution to the community. It’s one thing that the firm generously contributes to the community, but many of the agents and staff – likely the large majority – contribute in many ways. You serve on non-profit boards, serve as volunteers and mentors, coach little league or volleyball, etc. It’s a beauty of being a Realtor that, for the most part, we can direct our own time and serve our communities in many positive ways.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the firm, rather than a big party or bash, it has been decided to close the offices on Friday, June 25th and each of our staff, agents and managers will be involved in a community service day. We may all do one project, or we may let each office decide to choose their own way of providing service to the community – we will figure that out in the coming months. But block out the date of June 25 and send along your ideas for service projects.

Lourdes has created a 100 year logo that we will be using in our advertising, on our websites and elsewhere. We are having stickers made so we can put them on our letterhead, on our flyers, on whatever we send out, to promote the achievement of doing respected business in the North Bay for over a century.

In our awards this morning, we will be recognizing the leaders in our firm. To move forward – to get ahead – every organization needs leaders. We are grateful for the examples that these leaders provide for the rest of us. Know that Earl and I, and the managers and staff in the company will do all that we can to advance each of you into leadership positions so that we can celebrate again at the beginning of next year. I’m wishing us all success as we move ahead in 2010 and beyond.

Now, I’m happy to turn the program over to Susie for a Marketing Update. But first, I do have some commission checks here – it’s always fun for us to distribute commission checks! Congratulations.

Thank you all for being here and for all that you do”.

Here are links to the new Market Share charts that Susie has created and the new Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio sign riders that we introduced at the kick-off.

The following awards were recognized at the Kick-off:

Top Producers for the Wine Country Group for 2009:
Daniel Casabonne: Dollar Volume ($32,000,000); Units Closed (65) and Listings (76).

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker (Team): Units Closed (86) and Listings (87)

Top Producers by Office:
St. Helena Office: Linda Alioto: Dollar Volume, Units Closed and Listings. (Linda is the Top Producer among all agents for Units Closed in Up Valley in 2009).

Sonoma Office: Daniel Casabonne: Dollar
Volume, Units Closed and Listings. (Daniel is the Top Producer among all agents in Sonoma in 2009 for Dollar Volume and Units Closed).

Napa Office: Cheri Stanley: Dollar
Volume and Units Closed. (Cheri is the 2nd Top Producer among all agents in Napa County in 2009 for Units Closed).

David Barker: Listings

Healdsburg Office: Ann Amtower: Dollar Volume and Units Closed

Deke DeKay and Diane Harris (Team): Units Closed

Jana Jones: Listings

Cloverdale: Ron and Jane Pavelka: Dollar Volume, Units Closed and Listings. (Ron and Jane are the Top Producer among all agents in Cloverdale in 2009 for Dollar Volume and Units Closed).

Office of the Year: Sonoma Office

Employee of the Year: Susie Savino

2009 Top Performers: (These agents made substantial strides in improving their production (or maintaining their high production standards) in 2009:
Lisa Albertson; Linda Alioto; Ann Amtower; David Barker; Daniel Casabonne; Mike Caselli; Sheila Deignan; Deke DeKay; Doug Del Fava; Diane Harris; Mari Johnson; Diane Krause; Susan Montgomery; Susan Parker; Lark Raymond; Rico Ruthnick; Lisa Smith; Barbara Sommerville; Cheri Stanley and Faeli Vyn

Chairman’s Circle of Excellence: Lisa Albertson; Linda Alioto; David Barker; Daniel Casabonne; Mike Caselli; Sheila Deignan; Deke DeKay & Diane Harris; Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker; Diane Krause; Ron and Jane Pavelka and Cheri Stanley

President’s Gold Award of Distinction: Ann Amtower

President’s Silver Award of Distinction: Beth Bruno; Herb Heil; Mari Johnson; Jana Jones; Susan Montgomery; Rico Ruthnick and Lisa Smith; and Bill Streett

President’s Bronze Award of Distinction: Pat Brown; Gina Clyde; Joyce Davison; Erin George; Aimee Greco; Dee Grohmann; Mara Kahn; Carol Lexa; Diane Litchfield; Robyn Makaruk; Kendra Martin; Lark Raymond; Constance Sharpe; Corrie Sterbentz; Tish Thames and Faeli Vyn.

Marketing Tip: This is borrowed from Rick Deluca. How to succeed in marketing to your geographical farm:

1) CONSISTENCY. They must hear from you at least once per month; month after month. It may take 6 to 12 months before you finally generate business from this area. They need to see you are persistent in your
communication and they can count on you. They may have had other agents “work their neighborhood” only to never hear from them again after 3 or 4 months. Show them you are different.
2) BECOME AN EXPERT. No one should know more about the local market activity than you. Gather data about the neighborhood and make this part of your ongoing contact with them. Let them see that you know
what is selling, how much it sells for, how long it took and who tried, but failed in their attempt to sell. They need to see you as their source of real estate information for the area.
3) DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP. Do your best to become more than just a real estate agent who lives in the area. Go out of your way so they can “see” you and not just hear from you. Whether it’s organizing a
neighborhood garage sale or volunteering for neighborhood activities, creating an electronic newsletter just for that area, or anything else, get yourself out there so people can see who you are and they begin to connect the real estate expert to an actual neighbor.

Closings: As far as jumping into the business in 2010, the following agents had closings in the last three weeks of January: Carol Lexa (Healdsburg); Corrie Sterbentz (Sonoma); Lisa Albertson (Sonoma); Mari Johnson (Sonoma); Tammy Owens (Sonoma); Jeff Veness (St. Helena); Mike Caselli (Sonoma); Kendra Martin (Sonoma); Erin George (Sonoma); Ellen Politz (Napa) and Penelope La Montagne (Healdsburg).

The following agents had two closings during this period: Faeli Vyn (Napa); Linda Alioto (St. Helena); Aimee Greco (Napa); Dee Grohmann (Healdsburg); Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker (Kenwood) and Ron and Jane Pavelka (Cloverdale).

Deke DeKay and Diane Harris of our Healdsburg office had three closings during this period.

David Barker (Napa), Herb Heil (Sonoma) and the Foss Creek team of Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley each had four closings during this period.

Sheila Deignan of our Sonoma office had five closings during this three weeks, and Daniel Casabonne topped it off with seven closings during the past three weeks – more than two per week.

Congratulations to all!

Jan 13th, 2010Wishes for the New Year

posted by Gerrett Snedaker

From one of my favorite websites, www.wordsmith.org, comes the following as a wish to you for the year:

Philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) once said, “Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.” In the new year, may your incomes be like a nice pair of shoes, not too small, but large enough to slip into and be comfortable.

Wine Country Group Summary for December, 2009 and for the full year – 2009

Frank Howard Allen Realtors, The Wine Country Group, closed 75 transaction sides in the December, 2009, more than in any December in our history. This is 36% more than we closed in December, 2008 (55) and a solid 200% more than we closed in December, 2007 (25). The dollar volume ($31M) was 24% ahead of the volume last December ($25M). Our open sales for the month (43) were slightly behind of that for December, 2008 (46), but our new listings for the month (36) were slightly ahead of that of a year ago (29). Our listing inventory (175 units) is 7% behind that of a year ago (187) while in most of our market areas, inventory is down as much as 20-60% year over year. The average asking price ($725,000) of our current listings is 3% higher than this time a year ago ($711,000). Our pending sales at the end of December (102 units) total $51M in transaction volume compared to 69 units and $36M a year ago. Our agents are working hard to keep us ahead of the competition in most of our markets in year over year productivity.

For the full year of 2009, we closed 764 sides compared to 628 in 2008 and 534 in 2007. This is the highest number of closings since 2004 when we closed 797 sides. So, we are well on the way to advancing our previous high water mark. Despite the rise in units, we were somewhat below in dollar volume (lower sales prices) in 2009. We achieved $317,000,000 in volume in 2009 compared to $355,000,000 in 2008 and compared to our high of $537,000,000 in 2005.

We remain solidly number one in market share in our Sonoma Valley, Healdsburg and Cloverdale markets. Frank Howard Allen Realtors achieved number one market share in dollar volume for 2009 in both Sonoma and Marin Counties when one includes all licensed offices (including The Wine Country Group) and corporately owned offices. This is a great achievement for the Sonoma County agents who we affectionately refer to as “Team One”.

In the past twelve months in the Sonoma Valley, we have closed twice as many transactions (239) as our nearest competitors and our agents have achieved a 27.7% market share in unit volume. For 2009, our Healdsburg agents have increased our market share to 26.8% from 19.6% in 2008 in unit volume.

Our Napa & St. Helena offices have generated a 64% increase in transaction sides (261) for 2009 compared to 2008. Our Napa County offices have increased their market share by 35% this year while our competitors have had flat or decreasing market share.

We will celebrate our many successes at our annual company “Kick-off” on January 29th and we will focus on “Moving Ahead” in 2010 and beyond.

December, 2009 – Market Analysis

Napa County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale at the end of December in Napa County (536) was 24% below the inventory (706) at this time last year and is the lowest inventory of available homes since February of 2006, three and one half years ago. The decreasing trend in inventory has moderated, however, and it is reasonable to expect an increase in inventory in the spring of 2010 instead of the decline that we saw through all of 2009. New sales (129) were 32% ahead of the pace a year ago. The average price per square foot of the homes closed in December was $237/sf, an 18% increase since February when the per square foot price was $201.00. American Canyon has just 1.2 months supply of inventory and the town of Napa has 3.9 months – so it is Up Valley Napa County that has an overhang of inventory. 29% of the available inventory in the county remains “Up Valley” at the end of December.

St. Helena/Up Valley Trends: The St. Helena/Up Valley market (Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville), had an inventory of 157 units at the end of December. This compares with 142 at the end of December, 2008, so it has been generally consistent throughout the year. Sales for the month (10) were the same as two months and were a bit below of the number of sales (13) posted in December, ‘08. The Up Valley market seems to be gaining some traction at the end of this year. Available listings in Up Valley represent 29% percent of the overall Napa County inventory, a relatively high percentage.

Sonoma County Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (1,093) in Sonoma County at the end of December was 40% lower than a year ago. New sales (471) in December were 8% ahead of the pace in December, 2008 (436). The median price of homes closed in December in Sonoma County was $350,000. This is 13% higher than the medium price of closed homes in December, 2008 ($310,000) and 23% above the low median price established in February of 2009 ($285,000).

Based on the current sales pace, there is only a 2.3 month supply of inventory.

Sonoma Valley Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (132) in the Sonoma Valley (Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood) at the end of December was 21% below that for December, 2008. There were 31 new sales for the month compared to 34 a month ago and 27 in December, ‘08.

The median sales price for the 33 homes that closed in December was $486,000 compared to a median price of $429,000 a year ago and well ahead of the lowest median price ($313,000) set for the year in April of 2009. There were 33 closings in the Sonoma Valley in December and our Sonoma Valley offices closed 36 units. We obviously handled some outside of the Valley, but it seems we got a good share of the Valley closings for the month.

Healdsburg Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale (63) in Healdsburg at the end of December was 22% below that of the available inventory (81) in December, ‘08. This is the lowest inventory in Healdsburg since March 0f 2006. New sales (14) remained steady in December. The Healdsburg market seems to have regained some momentum.

Cloverdale Trends: The inventory of homes and condominiums for sale in Cloverdale (38) at the end of December, 2009 was 49% lower than a year ago. Sales in Cloverdale for the month of December (9) was equal to that of a month ago and to that of December, 2008. The median price of the homes sold in Cloverdale in the month of December was $255,000, 14% lower than a year ago, but up 28% above the low for the year of $200,000 in March of 2009.

Windsor Trends: The inventory of homes for sale in Windsor (41) at the end of December was 58% lower than the inventory (97) in December, 2008 and was the lowest inventory since May of 2005, four and a half years ago. There were 28 new sales of homes and condominiums in Windsor in December which is fairly consistent with the sales pace throughout the year. The current market has 1.5 months of supply based on the current sales pace. Prices have stabilized at slightly over $200 per square foot.

Solano County: Since we closed 102 homes in Solano County in 2009, we keep an eye on the trends there as well. Inventory stands at 736 units – 68% lower than in December ’08, but it has climbed in the last two months. New sales for the month of December totaled 565 units – 6% higher than last year. This creates just a 1.4 month supply of inventory at the current sales pace. The average price per square foot of closed homes for the month was $135.00, up 13% from the low of $119.00/sf registered in April of 2009.

Please contact me for additional information and copies of the complete TrendGraphix reports.

FHA Wine Country Group Kickoff:  Be sure to attend the 2010 Wine Country Group Kickoff on Friday, January 29, 8:30 am to 11:30 at the Oakmont Country Club.  Celebrations, Awards, Inspiration, Photos, Cheers and Tears – see you there!

Training:  Management training with Sandy Schaefer starts this Friday, January 15. Four sessions of leadership work to improve you skills and your business.

New training programs on the horizon.

Closings:  Closings for the last week of 2009 and the first week of 2010 include: Debby Hendershot (Healdsburg); Linda Alioto (St. Helena); Louis Horta (Napa); Ryan De Mello (Napa); Diane Litchfield (Sonoma); Mike Caselli (Sonoma); Mari Johnson (Sonoma); Joan Harrington (Sonoma); Jane and Ron Pavelka (Cloverdale); Pam Giusto (Sonoma); Aimee Greco (Napa) and the Foss Creek team of Susan Montgomery and Amanda Stampley (Healdsburg).

The following agents had two closings during this two week period: Steve and Marla Ericson (St. Helena); Liz Manfree (St. Helena); David Barker (Napa); Jana Jones (Healdsburg) and Cheri Stanley (Napa).

Doug Del Fava and Susan Parker of our Kenwood office had four closings and Daniel Casabonne of our Sonoma office had five closings for these two weeks.

Well done for all and carry on in 2010!