Silver Linings

For those of you who have ever considered moving to Wine Country, I dare say now is as good as time as any to give it a shot.

Recently I’ve been exploring the housing market, particularly in the Sonoma Valley. What’s clear is that the Under $1 Million housing market in this neck of the woods has taken a hit. There exists on the market now homes that represent pretty good values—relative to what they would have cost just 2 years ago.

I’m not suggesting you can get a mansion for $300,000. But you can get homes in Sonoma Valley for between $300,000 and $500,000 that two years ago would have cost a good deal more.

1. For example, here are a couple shots of a 1056 square foot home near Glen Ellen on a 5600 square foot lot with a pretty nice back yard. Cost: $315,000


2. Here are a couple shots of a beautiful 1900 square foot, 2 bedroom, 3 bath townhome that
is a 2 minute walk from Sonoma plaza. I’ve seen these homes and they
are beautiful. Cost: $485,000



3. And here is a shot of a lovely 3 bedroom, 3 bath house at 1800 square feet in the little up-valley village of Kenwood that has a really nice back yard. Cost: $475,000.



Of course the problem these days isn’t finding a home to buy. The problem is finding a loan. The point, I suppose, is that if you’ve been dreaming of moving to wine country now isn’t the worst time in the world to look seriously for one. This is a very good place live. It’s a slower lifestyle than those of you in even moderately sized cities are used to. But you are literally surrounded by the life of the vine. Honestly, traffic isn’t that bad at all, despite complaints by folks who have lived here for a long time.

The economic and housing crisis scares me for a number of reasons. I think we are still ascending toward problems, rather than having found the crest. This isn’t good for the wine industry, for the people in the wine industry or for wine country in general. But silver linings there are.

5 Responses

  1. Arthur - October 9, 2008

    Under 1200 sqft is tiny.
    The sticker may be nice, but who will underwrite a loan these days?

  2. Jeff Hogg - October 9, 2008

    Beautiful homes. The problem might be selling your current home without taking too much of a loss in this slow market.
    I wrote a short post comparing median wine country housing prices back in September on our blog at AmericanWinery. The link is below…

  3. Bob - October 9, 2008

    You might want to compare other wine areas. For example, look at Washington state’s wine regions where home prices are much less than California’s.

  4. Dylan - October 9, 2008

    Great pictures. How did you come across these homes and their prices? Are you considering moving so you don’t have to figure out that DIY space for your wine storage?

  5. JD in Napa - October 10, 2008

    So nice to be reminded, again, that our home is worth 75% of what we paid in moving to Napa 3 years ago. :o) But, since we’re not moving, it doesn’t matter. At least they cut our property taxes. Oh, yeah, it’s fun living in wine land, too.

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