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

Marin County, California real estate enters the Winter months much the same way it entered the Summer months — with a feeling that activity will be stronger than usual for this time of year. While year over year prices are down across the board no matter how you slice it, many feel as though absent further crisis, we may be nearing the end of the downward cycle — after a full 3 years. Certainly, well priced, updated homes in great locations are selling.

As noted in my Novato update, it is apparent that the low end in Northern Marin has settled on a bottom: 

Savvy buyers waiting for “the bottom to hit” recognize that we may be there and that any further price erosion will be outweighed by increased interest rates which are likely around the bend. Surely, home buyers in Novato are finding that it is increasingly difficult to identify “turnkey” homes under $550,000. In the 94949 zip code, median prices year over year dipped a mere 3%. I think many observers would be surprised. Local agents are all talking about a “bounce” in prices over the past several months.

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Meanwhile, the rest of Marin looks a little different. As noted last month, some sellers still suffer from pricing strategies that prevent them from realistically engaging with qualified buyers. Nonetheless, we have well over a dozen $2 million and up properties in escrow and are, no doubt, seeing increased confidence in high-end buyers. Should the stock market continue recovering in coming months and year end bonuses be granted at year end, I predict more late Winter sales and a strong early Spring market as affluent buyers step into the market which will undoubtedly hold "value" for those poised to strike. 
As for bread and butter homes (e.g., priced below $1 million, at least 3 beds and 2 baths with 1,500 square feet or more) the chart below reflects the number of homes in escrow county-wide in October 2007 through October 2009. This year, our October escrow numbers are up a full 50%  from both October 2007 & 2008. We see increased affordability and appealing interest rates supporting this trend for the foreseeable future.
Further evidence of a strengthening market exists in Mill Valley. The chart below shows a 90-day rolling average of Mill Valley’s new listings and absorbed listings (e.g., sales), comparing current numbers with those of last year. Note that the while the numbers for new listings are about the same, the number of absorbed listings exceeds that of 2008. If you would like to review a similar chart for any other town or city in Marin, please let me know.


Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research


Not surprisingly, inventory dropped significantly over the past month to 652 single family homes for sale (we had 762 last month). Note that this includes the Highway 101 corridor (excluding Western Marin inventory and condos).  


For a detailed executive summary similar to, but much more detailed than below, providing statistics and trends relating to the Marin real estate market (or any specific zip code), contact me any time. It is always my pleasure to be of service.


Kyle Frazier, Broker Associate, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Realtor

Christie’s Great Estates | Morgan Lane Marin | Pacific Union International
(415) 350-9440