TRENDS AT A GLANCE
Just like the Bay Area housing market overall, the Marin County market continued its march toward stability and normalcy in November, with strong sales and rising sale prices fueled by increased demand, strained inventory, record-low mortgage rates and robust investor interest. The demand was driven in great part by renters who, unable to escape increasing monthly rents, are taking the plunge into long-awaited home ownership as affordable prices and record low interest rates offer enticing opportunities.
Consumers nationwide kept on displaying renewed optimism, driving the Consumer confidence index slightly up to 73.7 in November from 73.1 in October, and the highest reading since February 2008.
Locally buyers continued to demonstrate growing enthusiasm, writing multiple offers on well priced homes, with cash buyers and well qualified buyers competing fiercely over the few available homes. 55 percent of all active listings are currently in contract, compared to 32 percent in November 2011. A balanced market is generally considered to be around 25-30 percent in contract.
A total of 226 homes were sold, down 20.14 percent from October and up 2.26 percent from November 2011. A drop from October to November is normal for the season, although typically it is not quite as significant. The very limited inventory contributed to the drop in sales as many qualified buyers were unable to find a home, or when they did, they often lost out in a multiple offer scenario.
Year to date, 2,759 homes were sold in Marin County, up 20.16 percent from 2,296 homes sold as of the end of November 2011, back to pre market crash levels. Looking back to year to date sales at this time of year, 2012 sales were the highest since 2005 when they reached 3,205. As a point of reference, they were 2,129 in 2010, 1,945 in 2009, 1,953 in 2008, 2,366 in 2007, 2,647 in 2006, and 3,205 in 2005.
The median price paid for a Marin County home in November was $722,000, up 1.69 percent from $710,000 in October and 10.23 percent from $655,000 in November 2011. The low point of the current real estate cycle for a Marin County property was a median of $542,000 in January 2011, while the peak was $996,000 in May 2007.
Meanwhile, the median price paid for a home in the Bay Area was $438,000 last month. That was up 5.3 percent from $416,000 in October and up 20.5 percent from $363,500 in November a year ago. Last month’s median was the highest since August 2008, when it was $447,000. The low point of the current real estate cycle for a Bay Area property was a median of $290,000 in March 2009, while the peak was $665,000 in June/July 2007. (Bay Area data was gathered from San Diego based real estate information service DataQuick as reported in a December 13, 2012 article.)
CITY BY CITY REPORT
With a large number of qualified buyers competing for fewer homes, the percentage of homes in contract remains very high overall in the county. As of today, Greenbrae has reached an incredible 81.82 percent of its active listings in contract, ahead of Novato currently at 73.53 percent in contract. Fairfax is currently in third position with 63.16 percent of its active listings in contract. Ross has improved with 46.15 percent in contract from 19.05 a month ago and Belvedere with 30 percent in contract from 28.57 percent.
SALES ACTIVITY BY PRICE POINT
While the bulk of the activity remains in the below $1 million price range, the $1 million to $2 million remained over 30 percent and the $2 million to $3 million markets improved from 27.12 percent of active listings in contract to 40 percent. It is generally considered that a market with over 25% of its active listings in contract is a seller’s market
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2013
The job market in the state of California, and especially in the Bay Area, continues to grow much faster than the national average. The Bay Area had the lowest unemployment rates in the state in October, and Marin County the lowest in the Bay Area at 5.8 percent. The region’s real estate markets have mirrored these strong results: Bay Area home sales were up 15.5 percent in November and, as mentioned above, home values increased by 20.5 percent.
With a clear link between strong employment, consumer confidence and healthy housing markets, the Bay Area’s ability to generate high-salary jobs and continued expansion in the high tech industry, trade and tourism points to sustained growth in the Bay Area housing markets in 2013.
If you are thinking of selling your home, feel free to contact me to discuss your particular situation. If you are planning on selling your home in the New Year, let’s sit down and discuss how to prepare your home for sale to get you the best possible price: it is never too early to start!
If you are thinking of buying, let’s sit down and talk about your needs and your goals.
Unless otherwise indicated, all reports and statistics presented in this report are based on data supplied by BAREIS MLS. Neither the author of this report, the Marin Association of Realtors nor its MLS guarantees or is in anyway responsible for this data’s accuracy.
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 am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
My goal is to provide you with the best home buying or selling experience possible by combining my business and financial experience with meticulous attention to detail and a warm, personable and caring approach to meeting your needs. I have an excellent track record as a successful, results-oriented negotiator and effective communicator. My analytical skills and understanding of current market conditions, along with my ability to utilize a broad range of cutting edge technological and innovative marketing resources, make me an invaluable real estate resource.
I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner. I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched. I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty. I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live. I know and love Marin County!
I specialize in Luxury Homes in the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.