Marin County (and Bay Area) Home Sellers Making The Most Of Constricted Inventory Environment in Q1 2012

For months, constrained inventory in Marin County has resulted in quick and painless sales for realistic home sellers. Indeed, competitively priced homes are selling at a pace we have not seen since the slowdown in real estate, which began in 2005 and was painfully evident by the end of 2007 and early 2008 (depending on neighborhood). All cash buyers are eager to buy. Buyers who need to obtain financing are getting nervous about rates and prices rising. This is a topic that we have been discussing at Pacific Union since Q3 2011 — really, as soon as the silliness related to the United States’ debt ceiling resolved and buyers regained their confidence in the market, sales have been fast and furious in Marin and throughout the Bay Area (assuming sellers are realistic in their pricing and purchase price expectations). See excerpt below from Mark McLaghlin, CEO of Pacific Union International (PUI), from earlier today:

Market dynamics are setting the stage for an amazing post-Super Bowl selling season, absent one critical ingredient. Sellers need to join the party!

In all six counties served by PUI, listing inventory is well off the levels late August 2011 (08-29-11 to be exact). By contrast properties under contract are growing at accelerating and exciting rates.


All Listings – 02-12-12

Under Contract Increase

Since 01-02-2012




Contra Costa









San Francisco






As a seller, this may not be the “perfect storm”, which would include accelerating appreciation, but we have not seen market dynamics like this since pre-2005.

Many of our listings are receiving multiple offers (2-5), tight terms, ultra-competitive closing timelines, pre-approved mortgage commitments with rates at 4.0% – 4.5%, and an ample supply of “all cash”.

Buyers are more confident than we have seen in the past 20 months and the Bay Area economic forecast and job markets seem stable if not encouraging.

Although I rarely do this, I have attached market reports for all six counties and a copy of my recent e-mail about the Wall Street vs. Apple, Google and Facebook impact on our markets [Let me know if you would like a copy of these].

In Marin County, properties sold (there were 21 trades) between $1 and $2 million in Marin County in January ’12 with 60 DOM or less, achieved closing prices of 98.7% – 101.2% of list price.

Most sellers should welcome these market dynamics!

I would be happy to create a digital comparative market analysis for you that is property specific — this way, you can track what is happening around you. If you want to sell now, I would be happy to talk with you about how I can help you reach your goals. Create your own opportunity! If you are thinking of a lifestyle change, now may be the perfect time. Keep in mind that prices are not likely to increase to pre-meltdown highs for 10 years.