San Rafael Real Estate Market Report (March 2009 Home Sales Update)
Following Novato’s lead, San Rafael’s real estate market is gathering momentum at the low end as foreclosures and short sales drive the market. We are currently experiencing 31% pending ratio for homes priced at or below $600K. Although not as strong a market segment as Novato, I would still characterize it as competitive price band.
Importantly, San Rafael’s bread and butter homes, priced between $600K and $800K continue selling at a rapid clip — 31% of these homes are in escrow (up 2% from January 2009). Low interest rates on conforming loans are helping many buyers in the lower price ranges attain home ownership. Meanwhile, rates for conforming jumbo loans are a bit higher and apparently not being embraced by buyers as the San Rafael housing market is flat above $1 million (see below chart). But, the $8K tax credit for first time home buyers should also help pull buyers into the fray as value priced properties come onto the market. Amazingly, we have 15 homes currently being marketed under $500,000 (there were just 5 last month), and another 16 under $600,000. Overall, the number of homes on the market remains relatively low, with 153 homes (up from 142 last month).
Because many inquiries come in regarding the distressed market, the chart below illustrates the number of and percentage of distressed sales so far in 2009.