Marin County, CA. Real Estate Update — July 2009 (Homes For Sale & Price Ranges)

The Marin County, CA real estate market is a mixed bag. Recent escrow activity levels have been refreshing, if not invigorating. New escrows generated in April – June 2009 represent the three best months since June ’07. This progress seems to be continuing. In fact, we could experience the busiest summer in Marin County real estate in recent years.

This increase in activity (not price appreciation) follows the slowest six month stretch we have seen in sixteen years. Closings of Marin County single family homes in the 4th quarter of 2008 (457) was the lowest since 1994. Closings in 1st quarter 2009 (222) and 2nd quarter ’09 (421) both set the sixteen year low as well. We feel this recent rally is a reflection of increasing consumer confidence either as a result of, or in combination with, the stock market rebound which began in March 2009. And just when Wall Street looked as though significant further downward movement was in the cards (after a month of week over week declines from mid-June to early July), last week’s results erased all losses from the past month as quarlterly earnings reports have been coming in higher than expected. 

On a year-over-year basis, pricing of single family homes in Marin County is a completely different comparison. Depending on your neighborhood, the value of your home could be off 15% – 50% from its peak. As I have documented in previous newsletters, Marin County real estate was impacted by two financial events. Beginning in August 2007, the northern part of the county (Novato and areas of San Rafael) suffered from the sub-prime lending crisis. The activity level in Central and Southern Marin was nearly frozen from October 2008 thru mid-March 2009 — a result of the stock market meltdown.

Today, it appears that our housing recovery will be driven by an increase in units sold. Today’s buyers are driven by value and opportunity. Sellers clinging to what they recently paid for a home or what they "need to sell it for" seem to be grasping at “hope” and have become frustrated in a buyers’ market where days on the market produces diminishing returns.

Market Statistics
Q2 ’09 v Q2 ‘08

Apr – Jun

$500K – $1M

$1 Million and Up

$1 – $3 Million

$3 Million +






Units Sold





Average Price





Median Price





Days on Market





To transition the above table to positive/green indicators and price appreciation, we will need to see a substantial increase and sustained level of demand. May and June 2009 activity may represent the beginning of this recovery. However, the current rally described here applies only to units sold, not price appreciation. The lone exception may be Novato. It was the first locale in Marin to begin winding its way through the belly of the snake and is currently hitting apparently sustainable levels of inventory and demand. Click HERE for our July 2009 analysis of Novato’s real estate market, courtesy of 

The chart below represents the number of single family homes for sale and the price ranges for each city and town Marin County, California’s Highway 101 corridor. In sum, we have 784 total units for sale, compared with last month’s 902 units.

Marin Single Family Homes For Sale

Homes for Sale
(Active Listings) 
Price Range
$635,000-$18 million
$945,000-$12.9 million
$810,000-$24.9 million 
Mill Valley
$400,000-$6.5 million
$750,000-$2.895 million
Corte Madera 
$665,000-$3.6 million
$775,000-$2.595 million
$1.395 million-$9.995 million
$899,000-$17.5 million
San Anselmo 
$459,000-$3.395 million
San Rafael
$321,920-$4.9 million
$279,900-$4.2 million

Buyer opportunities in the Marin market are extraordinary. The recent pricing of homes back to levels seen in the early part of the decade, combined with very attractive mortgage rates and flexible, (mostly) motivated sellers, represent ideal conditions for investing in Marin County real estate. If you compare your investment in Marin County real estate to other prestigious communities throughout the USA or the results in the stock markets, Marin County real estate may be the best performing asset in your portfolio.

On the macro level, new construction of U.S. houses expanded for the second straight month in June after hitting a record low in April, the Commerce Department estimated last Friday. Starts of new single-family homes rose by 14.4% to 470,000 in June. This is the highest level of starts since last November. And building permits, a leading indicator of housing construction, rose 8.7%. This is the highest level of permits since December. It remains to be seen if these leading indicators form into meaningful trends. 

For a detailed executive summary providing statistics and trends relating to the Marin real estate market (or any specific zip code), please call (415) 350-9440 or e-mail at [email protected]. My name is Kyle Frazier and I am a broker with Marin County’s finest real estate firm, Morgan Lane Marin Real Estate. It is always my pleasure to be of service.