WILL REAL ESTATE PRICES CONTINUE RISING IN 2016?
Can you believe it? Christmas decorations are already up everywhere and the holidays are fast approaching. As the year draws to a close, what can we expect for the balance of 2015 and 2016?
Belvedere – Stunning view
HOME SALES: Corelogic reports a strong finish to the California summer home sales which in September dipped less than usual from August.and rose nearly 13 percent from a year earlier. September 2015 sales were the highest for a September since 2009. Multiple forces have been fueling housing demand this year, including job growth, higher consumer confidence, low mortgage interest rates and some buyers’ concern that mortgage rates could rise in the second half of this year. Just a side note about the consumer confidence index to put in perspective the slight dip in October to 97.6 from September’s reading of 102.6: the consumer confidence index has come back over 100 in 2015 for the first time since 2007. It had dropped to its lowest level of 38.8 in October 2008, and has been slowly recovering, hovering slightly over or below 100 this year. With respect to interest rates, most economists are predicting a small increase at the next Fed meeting in December as more Americans are finding jobs and wages are increasing.
HOME PRICES: As reported in a recent article from the Home Buying Institute, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) is forecasting that California home prices will continue rising through the end of this year and into next, but at more moderate pace than we have seen over the last couples of years.
The combination of rising demand and a relatively thin supply of homes for sale has kept upward pressure on California home prices. However, the double-digit price increases of 2013 (27 percent) and 2014 (9.8 percent) were anomalies resulting from the housing collapse of 2009. Home prices had a long way to climb to recover and rose quickly, especially as the economy kept improving. For 2015, CAR is projecting the median Single Family Home price will increase by 5.3 percent over 2014, which is more normal and sustainable. These sharp increases in the past three years have raised concerns that we are in a bubble and this activity foreshadows a peaking market in spite of the structural components that support continued market appreciation nationally, namely growing household formation, low inventory, limited new home starts and most importantly stringent lending requirements.
CAR’s predictions for the California housing market mirror the broader forecasts being issued by economists and analysts across the country. The general consensus among housing experts is that home prices in the U.S. will continue rising in 2016, but at a slower pace than 2015.
Of course, these are nationwide and statewide predictions, and some cities and metro areas could see much bigger gains next year. And yes it is very likely that housing prices in the San Francisco Bay Area will rise more than the 4.4% increase predicted by CAR in 2016 statewide.
THE BAY AREA IS A GLOBAL ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE
The robust economic growth in the Bay Area is one of the strongest in the US coming out of the last recession. Did you know that the Bay Area attracts nearly half of all venture capital invested in the United States? According to a recent report from the Bay Area Economy Council, Bay Area employment has grown at nearly double the rate of other US metropolitan areas since 2010.
The resulting high influx of population and supply vs. demand mismatch have driven Bay Area housing costs and rent prices to an all-time high. According to the Council’s report, average rents have increased by nearly 50 percent since 2010 and nearly half of Bay Area renters are considered burdened by housing cost. We are seeing a spillover phenomenon with people priced out of the San Francisco market moving east and north, further away from their place of employment.
MARIN COUNTY MARKET SNAPSHOT
In our County, most noteworthy is the unprecedented activity experienced by the luxury home market, which set a record with the number of homes sold over $10 million. Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty has represented the majority of the luxury homes in the Marin Market and these sales contribute to our top market share ranking. Here are the main trends:
- Home inventory is still very low, down 41 percent from last October when there were 497 active single family home listings, and 71 percent from the Peak in 2007. Read my article on Ten Reasons for Low Inventory in Marin County to understand the driving forces behind our limited supply of homes for sales.
- Demand remains very strong, as witnessed by the fact that despite a 26 percent reduction in our inventory from last month, the number of pended properties (properties that have received an offer and are in contract) remained on par with last month’s.
- The absorption rate (based on pended properties sold as a percentage of active listings) jumped from 51 percent in September to 69 percent in October.
- Overall this year however, the lack of inventory has affected the number of transactions.
- The Average Sale Price for Single Family Homes has jumped up 26 percent from October 2014, and 35 percent from the peak in 2007 and the Price per Square Foot has increased to $686.
- Keep in mind however, these average figures are disproportionately affected by the growing number of recent sales of properties in the luxury category.
- Correct pricing remains primordial for quick sales, even in this fast paced market. Overpriced properties are not selling as buyers are very savvy. I have noticed price reductions resulting in multiple offers when the property was finally priced just right. In November the market has slowed down and some buyers are pleasantly surprised to find out their offer is the only one.
HOME SALES BY AREA
Following a significant decrease in home sales in Marin County from August to September, the number of home sales increased from September to October by nearly 10%. Both Ross and Tiburon had home sales in excess of $10 million. Sausalito sales spiked during the month. Only Novato and West Marin had single family sales under $500,000.
HOMES IN CONTRACT
Corte Madera was the hottest market with nearly two-thirds of properties in contract. This was followed by Novato at 57% and San Rafael at 47%. Ross had the fewest homes in contract relative to available listed homes. A more stable market with higher levels of inventory would have roughly 20-40% in contract.
AVERAGE LISTED AND SOLD PRICE
Overall the Average Sold Price for October was up nearly 20% from the previous year. This sharp jump is partially attributable to the increased activity in the high end of the market. As the inventory of luxury homes is absorbed, the Average Listing Price has dropped. Notable were the two sales over $10 million in October: 1925 Strait View Drive in Tiburon, a five bedroom, 4 bath home sited on close to 1/2 acre that sold for $10,100,000, and 7 Bellagio Road in Ross, a 6 bedroom, 8 bath home sited on close to 3 acres that sold for $10,500,000. There are ten more listings priced over $10 million available, including two in Tiburon, two in Ross, one in Belvedere, one in Stinson Beach and in Nicasio. Call me if you or someone you know is interested in one of these spectacular homes.
MARIN MARKET BY PRICE POINT
Historically the highest number of sales in Marin has been in the under $1 million price range, but this year we have had four months–February, May, June and October–when the $1 million to the $1,999,999 price range experienced more sales. This is a reflection of the higher average prices. Activity in the high end market remains brisk with 43 sales over $2 million.
NUMBER OF HOMES LISTED AND SOLD
Inventory is dropping in October as fewer homes come onto the market as we head into winter and the holiday season. Generally, those sellers that continue to make their homes available during the coming winter months are more motivated to sell. Buying during this period offers better pricing, although a more limited selection. Selling at this time of year insures you have less competition, which can be an advantage, and you may want to consider it if you cannot or do not want to wait until the spring. I would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your specific situation and which strategy would yield the best results for you.
If you are considering selling, let’s meet to discuss how the numbers above have affected your neighborhood’s values and strategize on how to prepare and price your home for maximum returns. If it’s time to buy, let me know so I can give you the inside scoop on each neighborhood that may be right for you.
About the Author: The above Marin County Real Estate Market Report – October 2015 was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi. I am an award winning, top producing Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I offer a wide range of innovative and comprehensive 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 would welcome the opportunity to show you how I consistently get outstanding Real Estate results for my clients. I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.