Home Sales in Oakmont Slowing After Post-Fire Boom

Jim Brewer

Whether its jitters of fires, uncertainty over golf, or just plain buyer fatigue, home sales in Oakmont are slowing and prices are flattening.
At the end of July, Oakmont had 52 homes listed for sale, more than at any time in the last five years, according to several local real estate agents.  Toward the end of last month, there were at least 13 price reductions, they said.

“Home sales have slowed quite a bit,” said Paula Lewis of Century 21 Valley of the Moon in Oakmont. “We usually see slowing in the market in August, but this year it began in June.”
The most important thing for sellers right now is to listen to their real estate professionals, and price the home more attractively, Lewis said. “When the market is in a correction phase, as it is now, the aggressively priced homes will sell much quicker.”
The scramble to find housing in the wake of the October fires boosted home sales dramatically throughout the Santa Rosa area. Home prices increased by as much as 10 percent.
“After the fires, the velocity of sales was astonishing with some sales closing in days and multiple offers way over asking coming in,” said Virginia Katz of Pacific Union. “That velocity has cooled and now we have more sellers. So the demand from fire survivors may be leveling out.”
No one knows precisely why the market is softening, but “we have some ideas,” Lewis said. “Many people believe it is because of the trade wars and tariffs. It is much more expensive now to buy materials for remodels since the tariff talks began,” Lewis said. “Other people feel that buyers are afraid of future wildfires, so they don’t want to get trapped in our valley if we have fire on all sides. And still others feel buyers are being cautious because of the uncertainty of the golf course.”
Other reasons a more subtle.
“I feel that social media has been a contributor to this,” Katz said. “Folks are representing false or questionable facts about what is happening in Oakmont and some folks are tired of the divisiveness.”
Katz cited a recent open house conversation at home for sale on one of the golf courses when a neighbor told the prospective buyer that the golf club was going bankrupt and that it may shut down.
“Those buyers are now looking in Lakewood Hills in Windsor,” she said “No facts; just gossip that harmed their neighbor who has their house on the market.  Where did that neighbor get the info that the golf course was bankrupt or that it was closing? “