July Pending Home Sales Slip Nationwide and Statewide: Marin County Bucks the Trend

Pending Home Sales Jan 2010 - Jul 2011The National Pending Home Sales Index

After 3 straight months of gains, the Pending Home Sales Index slipped 1.3 percent in July from 90.9 in June but is 14.4 percent above the 78.4 index in July 2010. The data reflects contracts but not closings.  The monthly report is published by the National Association of REALTORS® and measures the number of home under contract to sell nationwide.

The Pending Home Sales Index is closely watched by Wall Street and analysts because it’s a forward-looking housing market indicator. 

In its methodology, the Pending Home Sales Index states that 80% of homes under contract close within 2 months, with most of the remaining homes going to closing within 3 to 4 months.  This means that the index derived from Pending Home Sales can be used to predict actual home sales activity.

Typically, home sales taper in the fall buying season, but this year, they may taper more than normal.  This is because, in a separate report, the National Association of REALTORS® said that contract cancellation rates are running high.

As compared to a 4 percent contract cancellation rate in May 2011, June and July both registered 16 percent. This means that fewer homes tallied as part of July’s Pending Home Sales Index will show up as “closed sales” this fall.

Contracts can be canceled for any number of reasons including more stringent mortgage guidelines, appraisals falling short of the purchase price, and changing mortgage loan limits.

For home buyers , the Pending Home Sales Index may represent an opportunity.  Not only are fewer homes going under contract nationwide, but with cancellation rates spiking, sellers may be more willing to “make a deal”.

Note, though, like all real estate, the pace at which homes go under contract is a “local” statistic; you can’t assume national data applies to all markets equally. Your home market, for example, may out-perform — or under-perform — the national average.

Read on to find out about the California Pending Home Index and the percentage in contract in Marin County.  For an even closer look at what’s happening on your street including the speed at which homes are selling, call me at 415.505.4789 to get detailed information about the Marin Market and your neighborhood.

California July Pending Home Sales
 
Following the nationwide downward trend, pending home sales in California fell 1.7 percent in July, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.)’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI).  The index was 117.0 in July, down from June’s index of 119.0, based on contracts signed in July.  The index was up 4.9 percent from July 2010. 
 
“While pending home sales dipped in July, all indications show we should continue at the current level for the next couple of months,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.  “Pending sales have been ahead of last year’s level for the past three consecutive months and should be on track to finish the year even with last year’s pace.”
 
Larkspur, CA
Marin County Pending Home Sales
 
In Marin County, the number of pending homes has stayed level compared to last month: as of August 30, 32% of active listings are pending, the same level as on August 1, and up compared to 29% on July 1st and about 25% a year ago. 

There is pent up demand in all price segments, and especially in the below $1 million price range where the bulk of the sales continues to be concentrated.  As of August 30, 2011, inventory is down at 963 active listings (1,408 including pending listings) compared to 1,000 (1,460) on August 1.

Have you been thinking of selling your home? Call me for a free, no obligation consultation and market evaluation of your home.  415.505.4789.

 

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato. 


Larkspur, CA – Weekly Real Estate Market Update as of August 29, 2011

Below is a recap of the activity in the Larkspur, CA Real Estate Market for the past seven days.  Click on the individual listing links to see each listing’s complete feature details and pictures.

Click on the link to see all the 33 currently active Larkspur, CA listings with complete feature details and pictures. 

Call me at  415.505.4789 or click on the link to request more information on homes for sale in Larkspur, CA  or to request a showing.

One New listing in Larkspur, CA since August 21, 2011*

    • Single Family Home
    • Resale
    • 4 bedrooms, 4 baths
    • Built 1998
    • 2,664 squarefFeet
    • List Price: $1, 149,000

→  Two Price reductions in Larkspur, CA since August 21, 2011

  • 41 Frances Avenue
    • Single Family Home – New Construction
    • 4 bedrooms, 3 baths
    • Built 2011
    • 1,847 square feet
    • Reduced to $1,449,000
  • 260 Piedmont Road
    • Single Family Home – Resale
    • 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
    • Built 1923
    • 1,983 square feet
    • Reduced to $949,000

  One Contingent Listing since August 21, 2011

  • 430 Elm Avenue
    • Single Family Home – Resale
    • 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
    • Built 1956
    • 1,960 square feet
    • List Price: $799,000

→  Zero Pending Listings since August 21, 2011

→  One Sold Listing since August 21, 2011

  • 339 West Baltimore Avenue
    • Single Family Home – Resale
    • 1 bedroom, 1 bath
    • Built 1920
    • 1,574 square feet
    • Sold Price: $795,000

→ One Inactive Listings since August 21, 2011

 * All data based on information from the Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc. MLS (BAREIS MLS) for the past 7 days.  Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS.

Click on the link to see all the currently active Larkspur, CA listings with complete feature details and pictures. 

Call me at 415.505.4789 or click on the link to request more information ohomes for sale in Larkspur, CA  or to request a showing.

 

 

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I live in Larkspur and specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


How To Weatherize Your Marin County Home With Caulk

With seasons changing soon, it’s a good time to look at weatherizing your home. Whether you live in a single-family home, a multi-family property, or a condominium, your home has windows and, through those windows, air escapes. Even with your windows closed.  It may be worth replacing your old windows with new double pane, energy efficient windows.    According to the 2011 Cost vs. Value annual report (San Francisco region), renovations and remodels worth their price tag include window replacement (wood or vinyl) with a 72.4% return on the dollar).  If the time is not right for investing in new windows, a little work will go a long way in improving your home’s insulation. In this brief tutorial from Lowe’s, you’ll learn how to use caulk to seal the gaps between your windows and doors and their respective framing to keep your home’s inside air in, and the outside air out. Weatherizing your windowsand doors is a 3-step process:

  1. Find the air leaks
  2. Clean the surface of existing caulk and debris
  3. Seal surface with new caulk, and clean-up

As shown by the video, there are no technical skills required to repair and replace your home’s caulking. It may require a little bit of elbow grease, however. And, depending on your windows’ locations, use of a ladder may be required. If you’d like professional help weatherizing your Marin County home, please feel free to ask me for a referral.

French Quarter, San Rafael, CA

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Selling your Marin County Home in a Buyer’s Market

 

Tiburon Ferry

I know many people in Marin County who have thought about selling their home but have not due to the decline in market values over the last few years.   Provided you are not upside down on your home and don’t owe more on your mortgage than your home is currently worth, you may want to consider selling in today’s buyer’s market.

Indeed market values have dipped quite a bit here in Marin County. The value of homes in many towns has dropped by 20-30% or more since the peak in 2005. The $1,000,000 home you bought in 2005 may now have a value around $800,000. The point is if you are staying in Marin it does not really matter. Why? Simple… you will be buying under the same market forces that you did while selling your home.

Buying up:

Here is a simple example. You bought your home for $1,000,000 and using a round figure of 20% it has dropped in value to $800,000. You have lost $200,000! But consider this: if you are moving up in the market to what used to be a $1,400,000 home it is now worth $1,120,000.

If values had remained flat you would be going from a home valued at $1,000,000 up to a home worth $1,400,000: a difference of $400,000. In the present buyer’s market scenario the difference is $1,120,000 less $800,000 or a spread of $320,000. In other words, if you are moving up you saved yourself $80,000.

Downsizing:

What if you are moving down? Let’s turn the example around. You own a $1,400,000 home that is now worth $1,120,000. Your children have gone to college and the home is now too large for your needs and has become expensive to heat, maintain and pay taxes on. You desire something more manageable. Well guess what:  the house that you planned on buying three years ago for $1,000,000 is now only going to cost you $800,000. So what has happened is you have lost $80,000 in buying power. A 20% loss on 1,400,000 = $280,000. A 20% loss on $1,000,000 = $200,000. $280,000 – $200,000 = $80,000

So moving down isn’t ideal but a loss of $80,000 may be worth it to you if it is going to make your payments and cost to maintain the home much more reasonable and manageable.

In addition, if you bought your Marin County home a long time ago and pay low property taxes, you may be able to transfer your property base year value from your existing residence to a replacement residence under certain circumstances thanks to Prop 60/90/110.  To qualify, you have to be over the age of 55, or severely or permanently disabled, and move to a home of lesser value than your current residence (comparing the market value of your current residence to the market value of your new residence).  For example, if you bought your home for $500,000 and it is currently valued at $1,400,000, and buy a $1,000,000 home today, you can transfer your $500,000 base value. 

When a client asks my advice this is the kind of information I provide to them when considering what the best move is for them. You would run this same kind of analysis if you were going to relocate to another area where the values of homes could be a lot different.

Now is a great time to move:

The important factor as of this writing is the historically low interest rates. This is a compelling reason to make a move now before they move up at some point. 

The Fed pledged to keep interest rates low for the next two years, but it does not mean mortgage rates will be untouched.  Mortgage rates and the Fed Funds rate are two very different interest rates; completely disconnected.

If you come to the conclusion that selling your home is the right move there are three very important keys to success you need to pay attention to in a challenging Real Estate market.

Pricing your home correctly:                                                                                                    

This is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you achieve your goal in a timely fashion.

First, your Realtor should be going over the most recent comparable properties that have sold in your area. The sales date becomes extremely important when the market is still in a downward slope. Pay close attention to when the sale took place. A home that sold even a few months ago may not sell for the same amount of money today.

It is always best to use the most recent sales. When none are available a good Real Estate agent should be able to factor in an appropriate price adjustment based upon the difference in time when the comparable property sold.

Second, it is important to look at the inventory and the absorption rate in your market: ask your Realtor to run an analysis of how many comparable homes are on the market in your area and how many of them have sold each month in the recent months.

Finally, make sure to be realistic when you are looking at the data. Sellers are notorious for viewing their homes in a more favorable light because of emotional attachment. Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer.

Picking the right Realtor: 

When the market was booming and all you had to do was put a sign in the yard and add the home to MLS, picking a good Realtor was less critical. Not so in today’s Real Estate environment where there are fewer, and fussier buyers in the market

One of the critical components to picking a Realtor should be their ability to create a wide net to attract buyers. Over 85% of all buyers today start their real estate search on line. You want an agent that can give you a dominant online presence. Your home should be displayed on all the sites that garner the highest amount of Real Estate traffic.

Some of the better Realtors will be using blogging and video as a means of creating interest. Search engines love blogs because they are not “static”. A blog can be updated with fresh content daily if desired. Video not only enhances the presentation of your home but it can usually be found very easily online.

You should be looking for a Realtor that has a good website and a frequently updated blog which will ensure that it can be found in the search engines for terms specific to Real Estate in your market.

The premise is this: If an agent does not know how to market themselves how could you possibly expect them to do a good job marketing your home?

Marketing of course is very important but you should also look at the agent’s track record. References, market share, and an agent’s list price to sale price ratio are all worth consideration.

Be careful of the agent who tries to “buy” your listing with an over inflated list price. What you will be stuck with is a Realtor with poor skills and a home that doesn’t have a chance of selling.

Making your home shine: 

Staged Bedroom

While staging your home with a staging company is not a must, it typically yields excellent results in Marin County and helps homes sell in a timely fashion.

At the very minimum you should make sure your home is presentable. It should be clean, tidy, organized and free of smells such as pet or musty odors.

A fresh coat of paint will make your home sparkle.  Getting rid of clutter will make the rooms appear larger and more appealing.  Curb appeal is also important. Your yard and landscaping should be well maintained. I love adding mulch, it makes everything look neater. Walk ways should be kept clear and your entry way should be spotless. First impressions go a long way in selling a home. 

Replacing your front door and/or garage door may be a wise investment.  They are considered the investments with the best return on your dollar, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2011 survey.

These are the basics. A professional staging company can really make your home stand out in a good way.  There are many excellent stagers in Marin County who range in the scope of the services they provide and the price they charge. I can recommend the right one for your home and your budget.

So, if you have been thinking of selling and would like to brainstorm and get a free, no obligation valuation of your home, call me at 415.505.4789 or email me at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Homeownership: Why wait?

The chart below is from today’s Post from the KCM Blog.  I love it! 

It is such a compelling argument for buying when the time is right for you and when you find the perfect home!  Trying to time the market and wait for prices to go down further does not seem to be paying off.  Furthermore interest rates are unlikely to go lower.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Buying Marin County real estate? Don’t make that big deposit or transfer!

What You Need to Know If You’re Buying a Marin County Home.
 
You’ve probably heard the saying, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  That is especially true when it comes to buying a home today.  Underwriters are following strict guidelines–and that means even things like bank deposits and transfers are under scrutiny.
 
Here’s some insight on how underwriters analyze bank statements…and what you need to know and do (or not do) during the loan process.
 
Today, many banks require an explanation and proof of source of funds for any large non-payroll deposits that are listed on a bank statement. What is deemed a large deposit is largely determined by the underwriter and can be as low as a few hundred dollars. The reason for the underwriter’s concern is that an applicant may be borrowing money from individuals, or accepting money from an interested party to the transaction, to help with the settlement costs.
 
It’s easy to see how this bank requirement can create a lot of frustration, especially for people who are used to moving money between their accounts, which many of us do.  The key thing to remember is that anyone applying for a mortgage should avoid transferring money between accounts or making large non-payroll deposits during the home buying or selling period. While that may feel like an inconvenience, the time and headache you’ll save yourself from having to account for all your deposits will be worth it.

Reprinted with permission from

Gina Kemsley – Terra Mortgage Banking

gkemsley@terramb.com
Office: (415) 464-3144
Cell: (415) 828-0218
Fax: (888) 449-0329
DRE License #: 01121768
NMLS #: 291780

Beautiful Larkspur Home

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 

 

 


Mortgage Rates Don’t Move With The Fed Funds Rate

The Fed says rates will stay low for another 2 years. They weren’t talking about mortgage rates, though.

The Fed Funds Rate has been near zero percent since December 2008 and, in its official statement, the FOMC pledged to leave the Fed Funds Rate untouched for at least another 2 years.

This doesn’t mean mortgage rates will be untouched for 2 years, though. 

Mortgage rates and the Fed Funds Rate are two different interest rates; completely disconnected. If mortgage rates and the Fed Funds Rate moved in tandem, the chart above would be a straight line. Instead, it’s jagged.

To make the point more strongly, let’s use real-life examples from the past decade.

  • June 2004, 529 basis points separated the Fed Funds Rate and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate
  • June 2006, 168 basis points separated the Fed Funds Rate and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate

Today, the separation between the two benchmark rates is 407 basis points.

1 basis point is equal to 0.01%.

Between now and mid-2013, when the Fed may begin changing the Fed Funds Rate, the spread between rates will change based on economic expectation — not Fed action (or non-action). If the economy is expected to improve, mortgage rates will rise and the spread will widen.

Should mortgage rates cross 6 percent before the Fed starts raising rates, it will create the widest interest rate spread in history, surpassing the 615 basis point difference set in August 1982. 

At the time, the Fed Funds Rate was 10.12% and mortgage rates averaged 16.27%.

On the other hand, if the economy shows signs of a slowdown for late-2011 and beyond, mortgage rates are expected to drop.

Shopping for a mortgage can be tough — especially in a volatile environment like the current one. Mortgage rates move independently of the Fed Funds Rate. Make sure you’re watching the proper market indicators. It’s your best chance to lock the lowest rate possible.

If you are thinking of buying a Marin County home, you may want to take advantage of today’s low rates and high affordability.

Feel free to reach out, I will be happy to help you find the right home for you at the right price.

 

Mediterranean Home, Fairfax, CA

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


What Perks Does Your Favorite Credit Card Offer?

Last week, the Federal Reserve pledged to leave the Fed Funds Rate near 0.000 percent until at least mid-2013. For credit card holders who carry a monthly balance, this is good news. Because of the Fed’s call, credit card rates are unlikely to rise before mid-2013.

But cardholders can save on more than just interest costs, as you’ll learn from this two-and-a-half minute piece with NBC’s The Today Show. In the interview, you’ll hear about “built-in” perks offered by most credit cards and ways by which you can save on everyday goods and services.

For example, did you know your everyday credit card might offer:

  • Travel perks : Automatic trip cancellation protection and car rental insurance.
  • Shopping perks : Discount admission to concerts and museums; free shipping from overseas.
  • Consumer perks : Price protection against a drop in price; insurance against theft; extended warranties.

And it’s not just “high end” cards that offer these options, either. Credit cards of all types do what they can to improve consumer loyalty. Offering free perks is just one way in which they try.

Most credit cards offer websites detailing cardmember perks and benefits. Visit the site of your favorite card and see where you might save on everyday items.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


The economy: a case of self-fulfilling prophecy

Doom and Gloom on the News

For the past couple of weeks, all we’ve heard is how bad the economy is.

As reported in the KCM Blog today, consumer confidence, as measured by the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey, has fallen to a number not seen in thirty years. This panic has actually had a negative impact on the economy.

It was said best by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy:

“Confidence normally reflects economic conditions; it doesn’t shape them…

Yet at times, particularly during economic turning points, cause and effect can shift. Sentiment can be so harmed that businesses, consumers and investors freeze up, turning a gloomy outlook into a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is one of those times.”

What does the data actually show?

Here is what the KCM Blog reports: We decided to look at certain economic indicators and compare them to the numbers from a year ago. Here is what we found:

We are not making the argument that the current numbers are worth celebrating. We are only suggesting that the sky is not falling.

Bottom Line

Conditions aren’t as dire as some are professing. Make good sound financial decisions based on your own economic conditions. There is no need to panic.

The Real State of the Marin County Real Estate Market

The same goes for real estate news.  It’s been reported that the real estate market in the Bay Area was plunging and that sales were down significantly in July from June.  What they failed to report was that June was unusually high because of the cold spring we had this year, and that July sales were actually at the same level as last July’s.

For a real picture of the Marin County real estate market, read my July Marin County Market Report.

San Francisco Seminary, San Anselmo, CA

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Marin County Real Estate Market Update – July 2011

 

Waterfront living in Greenbrae, CA

The market is attaining more stability:

Marin County home sales were down to 215 in July, 24% compared to June.    Sales of single family homes, as seen in the chart, went down 21% to 173 from June.  Let’s remember that we had a late spring.  Normally, activity picks up in March, April and May and then slows down over the summer.  But this year did not follow the usual pattern.  We had a modest spring and the local Marin market heated up in June with unusually high sales.

The July sales level is not unusual for the end of the summer when many people are on vacation and distracted by weddings, family reunions and back to school plans.  Compared to July 2010, sales were almost identical to the number, a sign of recovery in the making and stability in the market.   

The median price for single-family homes also went down to $760,000 in July from $814,250 in June and $800,000 in July 2010.  To put things in perspective, Marin County’s median price for single family homes peaked at $1,160,000 in June 2007 and bottomed out at $610,000 in February 2011.

Inventory remains low:

Inventory remains low at 993 homes for sale or 4.6 months supply of inventory—a balanced market is generally considered to have 6 months supply of inventory.  This low inventory is a result of a combination of factors: many would be sellers are prevented from selling as their mortgage balances are higher than the current value of their home.  Because of the lower home values, sellers need a compelling reason to sell. 

The sellers that are tired of waiting and ready to move on with their life are coming to market and are generally realistic about the current market conditions.

The high end market continues to improve:

The entry level and mid-level markets continue to outperform the high end segment in Marin and the rest of the Bay Area.  However, the Bay Area has seen the highest level of million dollar homes sales since the summer of 2008, just before the “Great Recession.”  Even the $2 million dollar plus market has seen more activity.  A beautiful Larkspur home, for example, priced at $2,295,000 received multiple offers within a few days of coming on the market; another Larkspur home priced at $2,850,000 received an offer as soon as it hit the MLS.  Sellers seem to be getting a bit more realistic in pricing and accepting offers.  Buyers are starting to step up to the plate more readily in this price range.

Great opportunities abound:

With high demand and low inventory, the best homes in the best neighborhoods and the really great bargains (distressed properties or not) are selling fast with multiple offers.  If you don’t want to compete with other buyers, there are many great opportunities to be had however and affordability continues to be very high. 

If you have your heart set on a specific community or school district but cannot afford the house of your dreams, there are many other options.  You may be able to purchase a house with great bones that just needs a bit of renovating.  The new 203(K) loan program provides financing for both the purchase and renovations all wrapped in one single loan.  Call me with questions about this great loan product.

If location is not so important to you—maybe you work from home and do not have to worry about commuting—there are also great homes at more affordable prices in other neighborhoods than the prime Marin communities.

Now is the time to take advantage of low interest rates and high loan limits:

Interest rates are very low, presenting buyers with a great window of opportunity and should be staying at historic lows for the foreseeable future, as the Federal Reserve has pledged to keep the Fed Funds Rate in its current range near 0.000 percent “at least until mid-2013″.

The conforming loan limits are dropping from $729,750 to $625,000 on October 1, 2011 and some lenders have already stopped processing loans up to the higher limit of $729,750.  The deadline for all lenders is August 23 for a September 23 close of escrow.  If you are planning on purchasing a Marin County home and want to take advantage of the lower interest rate associated with conventional loans, now is the time to act.  After the deadline, you will have to come up with a higher down payment and/or pay the higher “jumbo” rate for homes priced over the $625,000 limit.

How’s the market in your neck of the woods?

Greenbrae is leading the pack with an impressive 45.95% of active listings in contract.  At the other end of the spectrum, Belvedere has only 4 out of its 30 active listings in contract, or 13.33%. 

If you or someone you know need pressure-free real estate advice, feel free to contact me.  I would love to hear from you.

Home on Winship Ave., Ross, CA

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I help people move in and out of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I am here to help you make the smartest real estate move and build wealth, providing you with reliable real estate information and advice you can trust.

My knowledge and passion for Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you successfully navigate the process of buying and selling a home.  My business model enables me to provide superior service and a better client experience.  I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.