If you are looking for an REO or short sale bargain in Sonoma County, you are too late to the party. The getting was good even through the beginning of 2013, but the volume of sales and new listings for distressed property just keeps shrinking. My daily newsletter of new REO properties used to contain two or three new listings every day. Now I don’t bother with the newsletter since it isn’t at all unusual to go a month without a single new REO listing.
Happily, fewer distressed sales is a good indicator that the housing market has fully regained a healthier footing. A very few REO transactions were still going on in 2013, but even then the volume was down at least 90% from the peak years for foreclosures. The chart tells the tale. Six years ago there were over 300 distressed homes on the market and over 150 sales per month were taking place. Three years ago there were less than 20 listings and sales take place each month. In the last six months we have had 16 REO sales and a dozen properties are active or contingent. It’s not an invisible part of the market, but it’s down another 90% from the right end point on the chart.
From my perspective, the bargain hunters should be focusing on fixers at all price points. The value priced portions of the market are always eager for good quality homes that have been upgraded with care. You might get lucky with one of the occasional REO properties on the market, but if you are serious about actually buying a home, you will have to consider homes that aren’t financially distressed.