Marin County Real Estate Market Update – March 2016 and the First Quarter of 2016
I am a strong believer in looking back to gain perspective and better understand what the state of our market is today compared to what it was in the past. A year ago I had written the following commentary on the market at the end of the first quarter:
QUOTE – The first quarter of 2015 got off to a slow start with fewer homes going in contract and being sold in January than in January 2014. For the full quarter, inventory was lower than last year with fewer new listings coming on the market, while demand remained high, and we ended up with almost identical numbers of pended and sold properties for the quarter as we did last year. Prices did not change much, but days on market got shorter.
As a point of reference, the highest number of For Sale properties was 1,504 in July 2010 (five times more than we have today) and the lowest median price for all property types in Marin was $542,000 in June 2011. END QUOTE.
Here is a table showing the key numbers for Q1 2015 vs. Q1 2016. As you can see, things have not changed much and the same trends continue to drive our market this year. The inventory of homes for sale was lower this year than it was last year,. So was the number of new listings, sold properties and pended properties. Prices remained more or less flat. There was a spike in the number of days on market in February due mainly to the fact that many of the properties that sold were properties that had been on the market since last year as buyers did not have much new inventory to pick from and bought older inventory. The percentage of the sales price to the original list price dipped for the same reason in February.
Why lower inventory and lower sales? It is likely that there was a correlation between the stock market’s decline earlier this year and the drop in high end home sales. The volatility of the stock market tends to have a higher impact on high net worth individuals who have proportionally increased exposure in the market the higher their income bracket. This has had a cooling effect on luxury sales on a national basis. Nationally, existing-home sales remained low in March after tumbling in February due to historically low supply levels and steady price increases in several sections of the country.
There are always exceptions; Sotheby’s International Realty represented the largest US Ranch sale, the W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas, which was listed for a whopping $725 million, and closed in March, setting a record for the company.
In Marin County, El Nino probably had something to do with our market’s sluggishness as well. Thankfully in March we had more new listings come on the market, and sales picked up a little, remaining lower than last year however. So far in the first twelve days of April we’ve had 102 new single family listings come on the market, which is relatively few for this time of year.
What does it mean for you? If you are looking to buy a Marin home, don’t get discouraged. While there is not a huge selection, there are great properties coming on the market every day and if you are well prepared (pre-approved, ready to move fast, and working with a good agent) you will be successful in nabbing your dream home, even if it takes a few tries. The market seems to be softening a little and interest rates are still hovering in historically low territory, increasing your purchasing power. If you are a seller, it is still an excellent time to come to market, but remember that even in today’s market, preparation is key and pricing right from the start is paramount. Again, make sure you are working with an experienced agent who knows the market and is a skilled marketer. and negotiator. I am always happy to help. 🙂
Home Sales in Marin by Area
Single family home sales jumped from 93 to 126 in March, but remained 32 percent lower than last year. Novato and San Rafael continued to see the highest number of homes sold at 35 and 36, respectively. The most affluent communities of Ross and Belvedere, had the fewest sales after West Marin, which had no sales in March.
Homes in Contract
Larkspur and Corte Madera led Marin County in March for the highest percentage of homes in contract at 67% and 65%. Fairfax, at 60%, saw the highest increase in homes under contract from its February level of 20% percent. San Anselmo and Belvedere also had strong month-on-month increases. Greenbrae had half the number of homes in contract, 20% percent, compared to February’s 40% percent. Sausalito and Tiburon also saw slight percentage increases, a healthy market indicator given the higher price-points in those markets.
Home Sales and Market Activity by Price
Homes priced from $1 to $2 million remain the most active market in Marin County with 59 sales in March. Homes under $1 million followed closely with 46 sales. There was an increase of active homes priced between $2 – $3 million, and $3 – $4 million, at 51 and 26, respectively. Active homes priced from $5 – $7 million doubled from February levels.
Average Sale Price
In contrast to Marin County averages in February where listing prices decreased and sale prices increased, March saw a subtle decrease in average sale price and a small reduction in the average listing price. This leveling effect with only a small seasonal increase, may suggest that the market may have peaked and is softening.
Number for Sale and Sold
Marin’s low inventory saw a healthy increase in March as we enter listing season, up 25 percent from February, though levels are 22 percent below the same month last year. The number of homes sold in March increased from February yet remain well below the number sold during the same month last year. Home sales in March represent less than half the month’s Active inventory level, again an indicator that the market is slowing down.
If you are considering selling, let’s 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 info on each neighborhood that may be right for you. In the meantime, have a wonderful summer.
As a top Marin real estate agent I am always eager to work with you to accomplish your real estate goals. Whether you are interested in buying, selling, or just learning more about the market, I am happy to help. Feel free to reach out. Call or text me at 415-505-4789 or email me at Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com.
About the Author: The above Marin County Real Estate Market Update – March 2016 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.