Novato Real Estate Market Update (July 2009 Home Sales Report)
The Novato single family home market seems to be forming a bottom. Prices appear to be leveling out and the percentages of entry level homes in escrow are very high. I know that many foreclosure sales and short sales are getting multiple offers. I have several clients who have faced as many 9 to 20 offers in competition for a single family home. This activity bodes well for sales in the higher price bands.
Moreover, in June 2009, Novato had 38 sales (up from 32 in June 2008). Indeed, this reflects an upward trend over the past few months—May 2009 had 44 sales. Of course, many of these are bargain priced homes such as REO’s or short sales. But, nonetheless, the inventory is rapidly being absorbed as there is extraordinary pent up demand.
Perhaps more significantly, the average sales price of Novato homes jumped up to $666,124 in June 2009. This is an increase from $564,770 in May 2009. While there was one $2 million plus sale (an off market sale), which supported this increase in average sales price, even stripping that outlier sale from the equation, the revised average sales price was over $622,000—a strong bump upwards.
Novato’s absorption rate (e.g., the number of months of inventory currently available in Novato) remains extremely low. In March, we had 7.9 months worth of inventory. Last month, the absorption rate fell to an unbelievable 3.04 months. Today, while up a bit to 3.45 months, it remains very low! Absorption rates, along with days on market averages, provide a telling insight into the overall state of the market. And today’s shrinking inventory and exploding sales evidence a pent up demand and reflect the increased affordability of Novato real estate. Also, note below that the 90-day rolling average of Novato home prices has jumped up — I consider this an additional leading indicator that market forces are establishing a bottom.