Marin County Market Update – August 2014

August is generally our slowest month of the year for various reasons. People are on vacation, for one thing. Also, people who are buying homes in Marin County to get their children into our excellent schools have usually already moved and settled down. Because of our low inventory of homes for sale however, our market has been less predictable and less inclined to follow typical seasonal patterns. I did see quite a few families at my open houses in both August and September looking for their dream Marin home.

As a result, activity in the Marin Real Estate Market in August remained relatively consistent with the previous month. The Marin inventory of active listings increased nearly 25% month over month with the number of pending sales falling approximately one-third. Sales remained on par month-over-month, but the average sales price decreased slightly.  While some buyers still competed in multiple offers scenarios on premium listings, I noticed a heightened awareness of pricing among many buyers. Inventory increases for August and into September will provide a broader opportunity to those buyers throughout the county.

Marin County Market Update - August 2014 - Total Market Snapshot

 

Home Sales by Area

Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley continue to move the most inventory, but overall are down for the third consecutive month. The silver lining for August is that the marketplace experienced an infusion of nearly 25% active listings month-over-month, which will provide additional options for buyers and potential motivation for sellers to remain competitive.

Marin County Market Update - August 2014 - Home Sales by Area - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Homes in Contract

Two of the 15 Marin locales in our report have half or more of their inventory in contract for the month of August, which is the lowest number for 2014. Corte Madera and Fairfax continue to be Marin’s markets of choice with 54% of Corte Madera’s and 70% of Fairfax’s inventory under contract. Communities traditionally in the higher-end of the spectrum experienced the largest reduction in percent of homes in contract. Ross (7% from 23%) and Kentfield (20% from 46%) fell by over half with Belvedere (31% from 26%) bucking the trend by increasing month-over-month.

Marin County Market Update - August 2014 - Percentage of homes in contract - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Marin Market by Price Point

Nearly 63% of active Single Family Homes in Marin are under $2 million; they also represent 86% of August’s sales. Months of inventory remained relatively unchanged from the previous month partly due to the synchronized slowdown across the board (actives, solds, etc.).

Marin County Market Update - August 2014 - Home Sales and Market Activity by Price Point - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Average Sale Price

Both Average Sales Price and Average List Price fell for the month of August. The Average Sales Price for August of $1,268,911 is 4% higher from the 2007 peak average. Despite the slight seasonal drop in sold prices, the real estate market countywide has increased in value to an assessed valuation of $62.3 billion, up 5.8% from last year’s $58.8 billion, as reported in the Marin Independent Journal today. The rebounding realty market and surging home sales enabled reassessments of properties changing hands and triggered an end to valuation discounts for 6,000 of those who got assessment breaks when home values plummeted during the recession.

Marin County Market Update - August 2014 - Average Listed and Sold Price of Homes - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

Number of Homes Listed and Sold

The number of Single Family Homes in Marin for sale in August 2014 rose considerably month-over-month and up from the same time the previous year. Sales were down from the previous month and the same month in 2013.

Marin County Market Update - August 2014 - Number of Single Family Homes for Sale vs Sold - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

If you are looking for a Marin County home or thinking of selling Your Piece of Marin, I would love to assist you to reach your goals…and dreams.  You can contact me at 415.505.4789 or 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 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 empowers me to leverage the unique combination of Sotheby’s global resources, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty’s growing market share and local knowledge with my unmatched social media networks to provide highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur,Greenbrae, Kentfield,Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato, with a special focus on Central Marin.

 

 

 

 


Is it a Bedroom or Not?

I am often asked what the requirements are for a room to be considered a bedroom.  The questions come up particularly when dealing with homes in Marin County that were built in the early 20th century, such as Victorians, or older summer cottages that were expanded in a sometimes awkward fashion.

Victorian home in Gerstle Park, San Rafael, CA
Victorian home in Gerstle Park, San Rafael, CA

Ryan Lundquist, a Sacramento appraiser, wrote an excellent blog post on the topic, which I will summarize here.

There are four things a room MUST have to be considered a bedroom:

  1. Entrance: A bedroom needs at least two methods of egress, so it should be accessible from the house (commonly through a door), and then have one other exit (window or door).
  2. Ceiling Height: A bedroom ceiling needs to be at least 7 ft tall. It’s okay if some portions of the ceiling are below this level, but at least 50% of the ceiling needs to be a minimum of 7 ft in height. Most ceilings tend to be at least 8 ft tall, so ceiling height is not usually an issue (R305.1).
  3. Escape: A bedroom must have one other method of egress beyond the entrance point. A door to the exterior works as an exit point, and so does a window. I have seen homes that have rooms on the lower level with no window or door to the outside and inspectors always flag them as not being fit as sleeping quarters because of the hazard in case of a fire.
  4. Size: The room should be at least 70 sq ft, and more specifically the room cannot be smaller than 7 feet in any horizontal direction (sorry, that 1’x70′ room won’t work) (R304.2 / R304.4).

You are probably wondering about closetsAre they required? A bedroom should probably have a closet since most buyers expect one, but technically the International Residential Code does NOT mandate a bedroom to have a closet.  I have seen a few homes in Marin County, mostly Victorians, without closets.  As a matter of fact, I just happened to show a client a home in Kentfield this past week end that is marketed as a  three bedroom, custom built “European style ” house built in the late 1980’s which does not have closets in the bedrooms.

Ultimately closets are not technically mandated by the international definition, but they may be expected and/or required by local code

For more information, and to read Ryan’s excellent post, please click on the link to The Four Requirements for a Room to be considered a Bedroom.

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White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout 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 empowers me to leverage the unique combination of Sotheby’s global resources, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty’s growing market share and local knowledge with my unmatched social media networks to provide highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur,Greenbrae, Kentfield,Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato, with a special focus on Central Marin.

 

 


A Love Story and How the Tiburon, CA Lyford House and Richardson Bay Were Saved

Did you know that the beautiful Victorian house that is home to the Audubon Center and Sanctuary overlooking Tiburon’s Richardson Bay has a rich history going all the way back to the early days of development in Marin County? I am a romantic at heart and am always thrilled to discover how love and passion for a cause often change the course of history in a significant way, as is the case with the Lyford House.

The Lyford House - Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Tiburon, CA - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

The Lyford House, Tiburon ,CA – Photo by Sylvie Zolezzi

1834-1918 – EARLY HISTORY AND THE LOVE STORY

The Lyford House on Richardson Bay in Tiburon, California, was the home of Benjamin Lyford (1841-1906), a doctor in the Union Army who was born in New Hampshire and raised in Cabot, Vermont. He moved to San Francisco after the American Civil War to practice medicine. He married Hilarita née Reed (1839-1908), the daughter of John Reed, an Irish immigrant who was granted the Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio, literally “the place where wood is cut for the Presidio”, which today comprises the peninsula incorporating Tiburon, Belvedere and much of southern Marin County.

Benjamin and Hilarita moved to Strawberry Point, established the Eagle Dairy Ranch and in 1876 built the Lyford House. Their son, John Paul Reed, fell in love with Rose, the daughter of Manuel Rodrigues da Fonta, a Portuguese immigrant who worked for the Reed family and lived on this site, part of the Reed Ranch.

In 1918, although forbidden to have a romance with Rose Rodrigues da Fonta due to class differences, John Paul Reed, gave these 11 acres of bay front property to Rose as a token of his affection.

Rose (later known as Rosie) remained on the property for the rest of her life. In 1933, she married Arthur Verral and together they raised goats and tended the site’s gardens.

1949-1958 – SAVING RICHARDSON BAY

In 1949, Reedport Properties Inc. acquired the title to over 900 acres of submerged tideland, encompassing nearly all of Richardson Bay and initiated plans for a several thousand home community.

In 1956, Utah Construction Company joined in Reedport’s efforts to fill Richardson Bay, and added plans to develop 500 acres of the Tiburon peninsula. Dr. David Steinhardt, a retired surgeon living on Strawberry Point, purchased the tide lot in front of their home in an effort to block construction. Dr. Steinhardt contacted John Baker, then president of the National Audubon Society to help save the bay. In October, concerned citizens held the first meeting of the Marin Audubon Society, with Dr. Steinhardt serving as president.

Rosie became worried about the fate of her land and the threat of development. In 1957, she met Caroline Livermore, President of the Marin Conservation League and agreed to donate her land to the sanctuary with the condition she be allowed to remain on the property in perpetuity.

Dr. Steinhardt saved the Lyford house from demolition and helped arrange a volunteer brigade to move the house by barge from Strawberry Point to the sanctuary property.

In 1958, the National Audubon Society, Marin County, and City of Belvedere purchased the tideland from Reedport Properties Inc. & Utah Construction Company. The National Audubon Society leased 900 acres of submerged tideland in Richardson Bay and established the wildlife sanctuary.

Moving the Lyford House c. 1957 - Photo Courtesy of the Belvedere Tiburon Landmarks History Collection

Moving the Lyford House c. 1957 – Photo Courtesy of the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks History Collection

 

1962-1964  THE SANCTUARY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

In 1962, Elizabeth Terwilliger, a nature educator involved with the preservation of the Bay, began conducting outdoor education programs for third-graders at the sanctuary.

Rose Verral’s eightieth birthday, in 1963, was held at the Sanctuary and jointly hosted by The National Audubon Society and the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society.

Rosie passed away in 1964 at the age of eighty-one. I wish I could have met her.

Today the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary is a place of continuing education, preservation and conservation.  Both my children attended summer programs at the Sanctuary and loved it. 

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary is available for tours and rentals:

The address is 376 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon, CA 94920
415-388-2524

 

Information for this article was gathered from Wikipedia and the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary website (http://richardsonbay.audubon.org/our-history-2.)

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There are many beautiful homes in Tiburon, many of which enjoy a stunning view of our gorgeous Richardson Bay. Click here to view Tiburon Homes for Sale.

 

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 empowers me to leverage the unique combination of Sotheby’s global resources, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty’s growing market share and local knowledge with my unmatched social media networks to provide highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur,Greenbrae, Kentfield,Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato, with a special focus on Central Marin.