Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (December 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

The luxury home market in Marin County, California, which is vastly improved over a year ago, seems to have hit a comfortable level of activity. As reported in previous months, real buyers continue to homes in prestige locations with emphasis on views and lifestyle amenities (such as large usable yards, proximity to athletic clubs/shopping, reputable schools, and sensible scales). And they are seeking “value.” For the last 2 quarters, the Marin County luxury market has strongly favored homes priced under $3 million. [For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail or call me at (415) 350-9440.]

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 popular cities in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield.

Year over year luxury market inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% higher than last year for 6 months (and are now down to about 15%). Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 40% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 60% higher than last year.

Below is a new chart focusing on the percentage of homes that have experiencd price reductions and the depth of those price reductions, on average. This chart examines these trends in Mill Valley and in Belvedere – Tiburon. It is perhaps not surprising that approximately 25% of listings in Tiburon – Belvedere have experienced a price reduction and those reductions average about 8%.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

Following a very strong October, November sales were also quite high given the typical seasonal slowdown. Buyer activity has sustained through November. With 13 sales, this November was stronger than anybody may have anticipated (there were 9 sales in October). Additionally we have 14 more homes in escrow. Certainly, previously patient buyers are feeling some urge to buy now as it appears that the poor economic environment may be improving and the pricing in the markerplace suggests “value.” Inventory is low, as is typical this time of year, with just 70 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording November 2009 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (2), Ross (1) Mill Valley (4), Larkspur (1), Tiburon (3), and San Rafael (2). These homes averaged 98 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.858 million (roughly $799 per square foot), with an average of 3,673 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is about 5.3 months (down from 13 months in November — this huge reduction is the result of seasonally reduced inventory levels).

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The already low inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) dipped slightly to 40 homes for sale (there was 47 such homes on the market in November 2009). The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced just 2 sales last month in this price band and these homes had the following characteristics: days on market – 107, price – $5.237 million, square feet – 4,906, price per square foot – $1,059. Note that Christie’s Great Estates agents represented all buyers and sellers in last months ultra-luxury market segment in Marin County. 

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Morgan Lane International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.