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.
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!