The housing market in Sonoma County ended the first half of the year by once more posting a drop in sales and at the same time posting a double digit jump in prices.

Home sales were down only 1 percent from June 2013. But for the first half of the year, they fell 10.9 percent from a year earlier and were the lowest in three years.  The most likely reason is there are fewer homes available for sale.

Demand still remains healthy enough to push prices higher though.

The median single-family home price in Sonoma County rose in June to $498,500, a level last reached in January 2008. The median Sonoma County home price increased 14.6 percent from a year earlier.

It may be some comfort to buyers that in June 2013 the median price was rising at even a faster pace, climbing 25 percent from a year earlier to $435,000. 

From 2000-2005, Sonoma County home prices soared, reaching a record high of $619,000 in August 2005.  In 2007-2008 prices tumbled during a historic housing crash, hitting a low of $305,000 in February 2009.

In the last seven years, more than 15,000 county homeowners lost their properties in foreclosures or short sales.  In early 2009, almost 3 out of 4 single-family home sales involved such economically distressed properties.

That rate has dropped substantially during the last 18 months.  For example In June, only six percent of sales involved foreclosures and short sales.

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