California real estate markets in 2013 have been riding down a fast and furious road to recovery. Housing prices rose so precipitously in some markets earlier this year, particularly in the Bay Area, that some experts even started talking about reoccurrence of a bubble. Dramatic increase in prices however was largely driven by lack of available inventory of homes for sale under $2 million, as well as significant presence of investors and cash buyers. Tight market conditions led to a substantial rise in multiple offers, sales occurring on the day of listing, and selling prices far above the asking ones.
While market conditions are clearly favoring sellers, there are indications that some of California’s real estate markets may now be at a turning point and cooling down a little. Nationally, investors are playing a smaller role. Rising prices and interest rates have shrunk investors’ profit margins and the share of investors decreased to 16 percent in July from 22 percent at the beginning of 2013. Distressed sales as a share of total sales have also come down dramatically to 17 percent, which is the lowest level since the end of 2007.
Nationally, the Fed had planned to reduce the rate of bond purchases, known as quantitative easing. However, the sub-par economic indicators caused the fed not to taper bond purchases after all, which has resulted in a recent drop in 30-year interest rates from 4.5% back down to around 4.25%. According to Dan Green, a nationally recognized mortgage expert, mortgage rates started this week closer to 4.00% for borrowers willing to pay at least 1 discount point at closing. It may be time to finally lock that rate! Mortgage rates have not been this low since mid-June — 19 weeks ago. This is good news for home buyers who require loans and for sellers who cater to these buyers.
Overall, Marin property values are up 3.6 percent this year, an apparently slower rate of growth than the rest of the Bay Area’s, according to figures released on Monday, October 14, 2013 by the state Board of Equalization, reported Janis Mara in a recent Marin IJ article. However, Marin’s lower rate compared to the region and the state is attributed to less turnover and higher prices and is not a sign of slower growth, experts said. “The total value of state- and county-assessed property in California on Jan. 1 of this year was $4.6 trillion, a $191.5 billion increase and 4.3 percent higher compared with the same date last year… Values rose 5.5 percent in the Bay Area, but only 3.6 percent in Marin, to $59 billion, the board said.” Why this more moderate growth in Marin? “Property values in Marin are typically higher than in other counties and did not fall as precipitously as in other areas. Hence, the comeback is less dramatic.”
The Market for Single Family Homes in Marin stayed relatively unchanged from last month, with the exception being the sale of the Villa Belvedere, the Marin Designer showcase, offered at $35,880,000. Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty represented both the buyer and seller in this confidential sale.
Home Sales in Marin by Area
The Average Sale Price for Single Family Homes in Marin is now $1,177,759, just 3% under the peak in 2007, while the Average Price Per Square Foot is $549, still 9% under the peak of $601. Belvedere had the highest home sale last month in excess of $20 million. The next highest priced sale was for $6,740,000 in Ross. The Beach Cities of Stinson Beach, Bolinas and Muir Beach had the longest Average Days on Market at 175. The area with the fastest turnover was Fairfax at 21 Days, and Greenbrae at 27 Days.
Homes in Contract
Sausalito has experienced a rebound with 57% of the total available homes in contract. This portends well for the Marin Market as Sausalito is more of a discretionary purchase location. Sausalito is followed by Novato at 52%, Larkspur at 50%, Corte Madera at 47%, Mill Valley at 46% and San Rafael at 44%. The fewest homes in contract were in Belvedere with 29 homes listed and one in contract, followed by Tiburon at 13%; these markets have luxury homes that have a limited exclusive buyer pool.
Marin Market by Price Point
Nearly 70% of Single Family Homes in Marin that are Active and available for sale are under $2 million. There is only 2 months of inventory under $1 million, and 4 months between $1-3 million. The inventory is significantly larger over the $3 million price point. While the sales in September were significant, with 4 sales over $3 million including one over $20 million, there was only one pending sale at the end of September over $3 million and none over $5 million.
Average Sale Price
The Average Active Price of $2,420,773 was down slightly, .3% from last month, but was up over 8.5% from September of last year. The average sold price of $1,177,759 dropped 6% from last month, but was up 19% from the previous September.
Number of Homes Listed and Sold
The number of Single Family Homes in Marin for sale in September was up 8% compared with last month and down 13% from last year. The closed sales, while up 8% from last year, were down 18% from last month due to the seasonal effects on sales, August being a typically slow month for properties going into contract as many people tend to be vacationing.
Do you have questions about your Marin community and/or the value of your home? I would be delighted to provide you with more specific information about your Marin community and/or your home and discuss your real estate options in the short, medium or long term. Feel free to reach out to me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.
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.
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.