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

Marin County, California’s luxury home market continues to recover from the 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., along with “value” properties with undeniable upside. In the $2 million to $4 million price band, sales are up 300% over last year and inventory is down 25% — this combination of factors looks promising for continued improvement. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

The $2 million to $4 million price band  remains volatile with prices down 17% over the past 2 years. Despite this obvious and well-noted trend, many sellers have not adjusted their asking prices to reflect market realities. As noted in my columns over the past two years, a seller’s refusal to price correctly at the outset of the listing period is the single greatest mistake possible. Often, listing agents are willing accomplices however because they will “say anything” to obtain the listing. However, bottom line costs to sellers is very significant. I have developed a chart that show exactly just how bad it gets over time when Marin County sellers and their agents) overprice their homes — please call or e-mail me for a copy.

Following a lackluster January 2010, sales in February 2010 exploded with 9 trades, despite the typical seasonal slowdown. Moreover, we have another 16 homes currently 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 remains low (although higher than last month) at just 75 homes on the market.

Cities recording February 2010 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (1), Mill Valley (4), Kentfield (1), and Ross (1), and Greenbrae (2). These homes averaged 139 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.612 million (roughly $649 per square foot), with an average of 4,046 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is 8.3 months.

$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) held relatively even this month — there are 40 homes for sale compared with 36 last month. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced 2 sales last month in this price band — same as in January. Such limited sales activity vitiates the possibility of meaningful analysis. Sales are expected to pick up in the coming months as we head into the traditional selling season.

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.