Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (January 2010–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

Home sales in Marin County, California’s luxury price bands continue to recover from the proverbial wasteland of late 2008 and early 2009 when it seemed as though the luxury home market would never recover. Yet, as reported in previous months, real buyers continue to snap up homes in prestige locations such as Belvedere, Ross, Kent Woodlands, etc. Indeed, “value” properties are gobbled up quickly. Despite this apparent thirst for luxury digs, inventory levels remain 40% higher than two years ago. This trend is not unique to Marin, but prevails nationwide. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE.

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 12%). Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 22% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 42% 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 17% 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 strong November, sales in December (a traditionally slow month) were also quite high given the typical seasonal slowdown. With 15 trades, this December was stronger than anybody may have anticipated six months ago. Additionally we have 12 more homes in escrow. Certainly, buyers are feeling some urge to buy as it appears that the poor economic environment may be improving and the pricing in the marketplace suggests “value.” Inventory is low, as is typical this time of year, with just 56 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording December 2009 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (1), Ross (3) Mill Valley (2), Larkspur (1), Kentfield (1), Tiburon (5), and San Rafael (1), and San Anselmo 1). These homes averaged 139 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.626 million (roughly $715 per square foot), with an average of 3,968 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is about 3.7 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 to 34 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced just 1 sale last month in this price band. It was a $5.4 million Belvedere estate with great views: days on market – 315, price – $5.4 million, square feet – 7,300.  

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.