Marin County Real Estate Market Update – August 2013

Home sales - www.YourPieceofmarin.comTHE BIG PICTURE FIRST – HOW IS THE NATIONAL REAL ESTATE MARKET?

Sales are up: According to the National Association of Realtors, 5.48 million homes sold in August on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis — a two percent increase from July and a 13 percent improvement from August 2012.

Existing Home Sales have reached their highest point since February 2007, a statistic which confirms this year’s recovery. This double digit increase is even more impressive when we consider that there are very few homes for sale nationwide relative to recent years. The national inventory of homes remains scarce with just 2.25 million homes for sale. This is 6 percent fewer homes than last year. At the current pace of home resales, those 2.25 million homes would sell in 4.9 months.  Generally, a market with a home supply of less than 6 months is considered a seller’s market.

Luxury market greatly improved: Dan Green, a nationally respected mortgage broker and prolific blogger, reports in a recent post about Jumbo Loans and the Luxury Market that, as compared to one year ago, sales of million-dollar homes are up 33 percent. In addition, sales of homes in the $750,000-$1,000,000 range are up 39 percent. These gains are a function of the market having more “move-up” buyers, which is a chain reaction borne from a rush of first-time buyers from 2009-2011.

Another big plus for the luxury housing market, says Dan, is that jumbo mortgages are exceedingly affordable today as compared with conventional mortgages. During some periods in August, jumbo mortgage rates were lower than their comparable conventional counterparts.

What is a “jumbo” loan today? For homeowners in “high-cost areas” which include most of California, for example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow conventional loan sizes of up to $625,500.  Jumbo loans are loans that exceed $625,500 and are typically reserved for borrowers with high credit scores, a downpayment of 10% or more, and verifiable income via tax returns.

Values: The housing market bottomed in October 2011. Since then, home values have made slow, steady gains in many U.S. market and have surged in certain areas, including the Bay Area.   Values have made especially strong gains in the luxury market.

But most analysts agree that the bump in mortgage interest rates in recent months–one percent since May when Fed Chairman Bernanked announced that the Federal Reserve may begin tapering its bond-buying program later this month–may be slowing those gains a bit and could lead to a more balanced market. (Click here to read my recent blog post about “What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates After Bernanke’s Announcement dated September 23, 2013.)  However, there are still enough economic reasons for prices to remain firm for now. There’s still a significant shortage of homes on the market in most areas, and despite the recent increase, rates remain near historically low levels. Moreover, prices in much of the country are still well below their previous peaks.

BAY AREA

In the Bay Area, the median price for new and existing homes sold last month rose 31.7 percent from a year ago to $540,000, according to DataQuick, the La Jolla-based real estate information firm. However, the median did decline 3.9 percent from July’s level. A seasonal decline from July to August is normal, the firm noted. In its report, DataQuick suggested the Bay Area is moving back to a balanced market after being a strong seller’s market. “As the market pendulum swings back toward normal, trends will be affected by more mundane market factors such as interest rates, employment, economic growth, affordability, mortgage availability, and how fast demand is generated and met,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

MARIN COUNTY

Significant Recovery in the Mid to Low Price Points

The Marin market is still moving towards recovery. The Average Sale Price at $1,265,000 now exceeds the Peak 2007 Average Sale Price of $1,220,000 by 4%. However, the Price Per Square Foot, which is a better representation of value, is down from $601/sf to $537/sf, 11% off the Peak 2007 value. This indicates that Buyers are purchasing more expensive homes, but they are also getting larger homes for the price. The number of Active homes has decreased over 18% from August of last year, and shows that there are inventory constraints which are supporting higher pricing at the lower end of the market. Currently, the number of Active homes is nearly 60% less than during the peak period, when the monthly average number of Active homes was 1,017.

Marin Couty Real Estate Market Update - Market Snapsho Aug. 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Luxury Market Awaiting Positive Trends

There were fewer homes sold over $5 million this month than last, 2 in August compared with 4 for July. August included one sale over $10,000,000, which was a Kentfield home listed at $14,500,000 and closed at $10,775,000, a List-to-Sale Price difference of 26%. The second highest sale was a Tiburon home listed at $7,495,000 that closed at $7,300,000, a 3% differential. The market over $5 million has a high level of inventory and is not yet experiencing the activity that we see in the East Coast, Florida and Southern California. Marin typically is slowest to follow the trends. As of the end of August, we had 49 homes over $5 million for sale with 2 closings, which equates to over 2 years of inventory if we continued with this level of sales.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - Activity by Price Point for Aug. 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Local Variations in Each Community

The Homes Sales by Area chart shows the range of sales for each locale. On a monthly basis the fluctuations, particularly in the communities with the highest price points, can be dramatic due to the small number of sales. Some towns have maximum pricing that more than doubles, while others can change downward by up to 50%. This chart, while illustrative of the general price point in an area for each month, is not indicative of the overall value which should be determined on an annual basis.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - Home Sales by Area Aug. 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Market Activity in Central Marin on the Highway 101 CorridorThe southern part of
Central Marin is the most active market. In Corte Madera, 71% of all Active homes (including actives, contingent and pending homes) were in contract. Larkspur followed with 64%. San Rafael, Fairfax and Greenbrae all hovered around 50%. The fewest homes in contract were in Belvedere at 14% and Tiburon at 20%, due to the limited number of buyers in the highest price points.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - Percent in contract for Aug. 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

Number for Sale and Sold

The seasonal trending is apparent in the graph of Single Family Homes in Marin for August. The number For Sale is showing a declining figure, approximately 11% less than last month, and 19% less than the same month last year. The number Sold was nearly 10% less than last month, and 7% less than last year. A comparison of the Marin market’s performance in the past three months (June to August 2013) with the same quarter in 2012 reveals a decline in homes For Sale of almost 19% and a modest 4% increase in the number of homes Sold.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - For sale and solds in Aug. 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Significant Pricing Improvements in the Mid-Market

There has been a slight but consistent upward trend in the Average Sales Price of homes over the last 12 months. The Average Sold Price is up nearly 25% from the same quarter last year, but only 1.2% from last month. Most of the increase took place during the months of February through May. The Average Active Price shows more fluctuation and a few larger homes account for some of the changes in the trend line. The Average Active Price is up 10% since the same quarter last year.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - Average listed and sold prices - Aug. 2013 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

After the lull of the summer, the market has picked up again, but there are fewer multiple offers and it appears to be more balanced. Stay tuned for my September report coming soon.

If you or someone you know is looking for the personal attention and service I provide, please feel free to contact me.  Whether you are thinking of buying or selling in Marin, I would be delighted to provide you with a fact-based, no obligation consultation and discuss your options with you.

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white glove serviceAbout 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.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 

 

 


How to Remove Stains from Your Granite Countertops

A great majority of the kitchens that have been recently built or remodeled have granite countertops.  If you have granite in your kitchen, you have probably found out that granite is porous and does stain. Here is a short video with great advice to help you make those annoying stains vanish.

 

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Marin County this fall, feel free to call me to discuss your options.  I would be delighted to provide you with a fact based, no obligation consultation.  Rates are still great, and there are great opportunities for both buyers and sellers.

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white glove serviceAbout 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.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates After the Fed’s Announcement — September 23, 2013

bigstock-White-goose-feather-isolated-o-26176316 (2) (640x419)“Remember that rates go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.”

is Bankrate.com’s advice to home buyers after interest rates trended down as a result of last week’s Fed announcement not to taper its $85 billion in monthly securities purchases. This downward trend is most welcome after 30 year mortgage rates have been spiking upward over the last few months based on Bernanke’s statement earlier this year that the Fed might start tapering the buy back of securities as the economy continues improving.,

Bernanke’s statement dominated last week’s economic and financial news.

What happened and what does it mean to mortgage interest rates?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke noted in a scheduled statement after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that economic conditions were not yet adequately improved to withstand any decrease in the federal quantitative easing program.

Today’s excellent KCM blog post reports that, according to Bankrate.com:

“The Fed could have caused rates to shoot up this week if it had announced the tapering of its bond-purchasing program.”

The Fed also reaffirmed that the target federal funds rate would remain at 0.00 to 0.25 percent until the national unemployment rate reached 6.50 percent and inflation reaches 2.00 percent.

The national unemployment rate was 7.30 percent and the Fed projects that inflation will remain under 2.00 percent through 2015.

In both the FOMC statement and his press conference, Chairman Bernanke repeatedly emphasized that the Fed would take no action to reduce QE until the economy strengthens. No automatic reduction of QE purchases would take place without full consideration of the nation’s economy.

The QE program is intended to keep long-term interest rates low, and the announcement that QE would not be tapered brought mortgage rates down after they had increased by more than one percent since May.

What does this mean to a buyer applying for, or refinancing, a mortgage?

KCM quotes those at Bankrate.com:

“For now, borrowers have dodged another spike in rates. The Fed’s announcement might even cause rates to drop in coming days, says Paul Edelstein, director of financial economics at IHS Global Insight.

‘Mortgage rates should fall back — not massively, but to some extent,’ he says.

That doesn’t mean homebuyers and homeowners should wait for lower rates, mortgage professionals say.

Eventually, once the Fed lets the mortgage market and the economy start walking on their own, rates will probably head back to the 5 percent or 6 percent range, says Scott Schang, manager for Broadview Mortgage Katella in Orange, Calif.”

bigstock-Black-Percent-Symbol-With-An-A-45790717 (2) (400x300)Mortgage Rates Lower

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that average mortgage rates dropped across the board on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 4.50 percent with discount points moving from 0.80 percent to 0.70 percent.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by five basis points from 3.59 percent to 3.54 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.70 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was lower by 11 basis points to 3.11 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50 percent. This provides a break for home buyers who’ve been faced with rising mortgage rates and home prices amidst a shortage of available homes in many areas.

Looking Ahead

Economic news scheduled for this week includes the Case/Shiller Home Price Index for July, the FHFA Home Price Index also for July. New home sales and the pending home sales index will be released.

Freddie Mac will release its weekly summary of average mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims will also be released Thursday. The week will end with consumer related data including personal income and consumer spending for August along with the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for September.

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling a Marin County home this fall, feel free to contact me for a fact based, no obligation consultation.  And I would strongly recommend, if you are shopping for rates and are enclined, based on interest rates’ recent decline to wait for them to trend even lower, that you heed Bankrate.com’s advice: Grab the gift before it’s gone!

Sausalito Floating Homes
Sausalito Floating Homes

 

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white glove serviceAbout 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.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Mortgage Rates – September 13, 2013

Rates remained flat this week for the most part according to Rob Spinosa of RPM Mortgage who provided these quotes. Thank you Rob!

Mortgage rates 9-13-13 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

If you are thinking of buying a home and need a referral to an extraordinary mortgage broker, please contact me.  And if you need an extraordinary REALTOR, I am at your service.

I just helped two clients get into escrow this week, one of which was bidding in a multiple offer scenario.  We crafted a very creative offer and their offer was selected by the seller even though it was not the highest priced.

For similar results, call me and we will discuss your options and make you a winner!

Artfully connecting extraordinary properties with extraordinary lives in Marin County…and around the world…

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white glove serviceAbout 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.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Is Now A Good Time to Buy A Home In Marin?

Fall is in the air…Once everyone is back from vacation and kids are back in school, activity in the Marin County real estate market typically picks up after lull of the summer months. I am noticing more activity at open houses. Inventory remains low, and while the frenzy we experienced in the spring and early summer appears to have subsided, multiple offers are still common on the best homes.  As you can see in the chart below, the number of homes available for sale in August was 20 percent lower than it was last year at the same time: 487 in August 2013 vs. 611 in August 2012.  Today, September 9, we have 519 active listings and 363 listings in contract or 41.16 percent of homes in contract.

 

Marin County Real Estate Market - August 2013 -- www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie Zolezzi
Marin County – All Property Types

What that means for you as a buyer is that when you find the house of your dreams, there is a strong chance you will be competing with one or more other buyers to have your offer accepted.  And that can be emotionally exhausting.  So what are your options? Should you wait?

Home prices and interest rates have been trending up in the past year, seriously eroding the purchasing power of home buyers in Marin.

The average sale price for Marin County homes has increased from $834,000 in August 2012 to $1,098,000 in August 2013 and the average price per square foot has risen from $417 to $518, and there is no indication they will be going back down at this point as the Bay Area economy continues to create job and stimulate demand for homes.

Marin County - All Property Types
Marin County – All Property Types

 

Meanwhile, interest rates have jumped more than 1 percent from the recent historical lows of 3.25 percent.

Interest rates - chart courtesy of KCM Blog - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie Zolezzi
KCM Blog Chart – September 3, 2013

A question on the mind of many buyers is: Where are they headed, should I wait for them to go back down?

A recent KCM article provides good insight on this matter. Here is what they wrote: “Though no one can guarantee where rates will be in a few months, we don’t believe waiting is a good strategy. Most experts believe rates may actually move higher. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will continue to climb.”

With home prices increasing and interest rates projected to also increase, the cost of buying a house could quickly increase rather dramatically.

If you are thinking of buying a home in Marin and would like to discuss your options, feel free to contact me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.  I use proven strategies to help buyers win in multiple offer scenarios and guide them through the rocky process of buying a Marin County home in today’s market.

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white glove serviceAbout 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.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point.  It also enables me to leverage our unique combination of local knowledge and global resources, providing highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I view it as a great privilege to be of assistance to people at very important stages of their lives—whether they are newlywed, starting a family, relocating, retiring, divorcing or mourning a loved one—because I view my job as much more than facilitating the sale or purchase of a property, but rather as helping them find their new sanctuary or part with the home where they have raised their children and created so many memories. In addition, I am always excited to help my clients discover Marin County, our stunning sceneries and unmatched lifestyle and find the right home in one of our charming towns:   Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.