Marin County Real Estate Market Update – July 2016

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016


Happy summer everyone!

HOW TO READ THIS REPORT: If you only want to read the main highlights for the single family home Marin County real estate market, just scan the recap below for the month of June and for the first half of the year. If you are interested in a more detailed analysis, make yourself comfortable, grab a cup of coffee and scroll down for The Big Picture and an In-depth Analysis of our Market.

Thanks for your very positive feedback on this new format! And please remember that I am not too busy to help you or your friends with any of your real estate needs!


As we head into the summer season, activity remains brisk even though the inventory of homes for sale continues to be historically low at about 35 percent of the peak inventory in 2007

  • The AVERAGE NUMBER OF ACTIVE LISTINGS dipped slightly in June to 356 from 378 in May, breaking a four month upward trend. This is quite unusual as typically inventory remains high in June and does not start decreasing until August. This is due to the unusually low level of new listings.
  • The NUMBER OF NEW LISTINGS unexpectedly dipped for the third month in a row from 235 in May to 178 in June, compared to 291 last year. This 39 percent decrease in the number of new listings year over year is breaking the normal market pattern of a steady flow of new listings throughout the summer until a significant dip in October–new listings dipped to 175 last October.
  • The NUMBER OF SOLD PROPERTIES increased from 218 in May to 225, but was 6 percent lower than in June 2015.
  • The NUMBER OF PENDED PROPERTIES–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–decreased to 211 from 250 in May and was 19 percent lower than in June 2015, confirming that our market is slowing down a little.
  • The AVERAGE SALES PRICE decreased to $1,583,000 from $1,662,000, but remained 13 percent higher than June 2015’s average and 30 percent over the peak in 2007.
  • The MEDIAN SALES PRICE increased to $1,256,000 from $1,245,000 in May, up 7 percent year over year from last June.
  • The ABSORPTION RATE OF PENDED PROPERTIES dropped slightly to 59 percent from 66 percent in May, down from the very high 74 percent of June 2015, reflecting a slight cooling in the market. The absorption rate is my favorite statistic to keep my finger on the pulse of the market: it is calculated to represent the percentage of current active listings for sale that went into contract (or were absorbed) during the course of the month.

In any case, it is typical for the market to slow down appreciably during the mid-summer months in Marin and then pick up again after Labor Day. This does not necessarily mean it is not an opportune time to either buy or sell. For buyers in particular, you will meet with greatly reduced competition for listings, and for sellers, the buyers who are looking to buy are typically very motivated during the summer.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016



Over the first half of 2016, the Marin County residential market has performed fundamentally well, although the number of sold and pended properties has decreased, signaling less heated conditions. Other key indicators confirm this cooling trend: the average sale price is only up 4 percent year to date (compared to recent double digit price annual increases in 2013 and 2014, 16 percent and 14 percent respectively and 7 percent for 2015,) the number of days on market is slightly higher and the absorption rate a tad lower. The percentage of sold to original list price remains flat however, confirming that there continues to be pent up demand for premium, well priced and presented properties, which continue to receive multiple offers and sell for more than the list price. Correct pricing for properties in poor condition or with functional obsolescence–i.e. location near a freeway, vicinity to non-desirable building/activity, non functional floor plan–is more important than ever.

What does the market softening mean? In my view it is a positive trend as moderating price increases generally indicate improved market stability and the emergence of a more balanced market.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016



The Marin County real estate market is unique.  While it does tend to follow the general trends of the national, state and even more so the San Francisco Bay Area markets, as it is influenced by the same global and local economic trends, it often walks to its own drum beat because of our no-growth policy, and lack of available raw, build-able land.

Bay Area and San Francisco markets

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016

Photo courtesy of Mansion Global

San Francisco led the way out of the market recession as the recovery began in 2012 and now may be again leading the way in the transition to a less frenzied market.

Within the city, different market segments are performing quite differently. Very generally speaking, the market for more affordable homes is stronger than that for luxury homes; the market for houses stronger than that for condos; and the market for luxury condos cooling most distinctly.

Why is the luxury condo market cooling off after four years of market frenzy? There appears to be a glut of luxury condos, as that market has experienced a huge jump in supply thanks to the construction of new projects to meet the pent up demand from millennials and GenXers with the income and desire to live in the City by the Bay.

With the supply of these high end properties now outpacing demand, the San Francisco market is in some kind of transition, currently at a relatively moderate pace, and hopefully will land softly from its crazy ride. The second half of the year will be telling.

Marin properties continue to be relatively more affordable than San Francisco’s and will keep on attracting buyers who are aspiring to our unmatched lifestyle.

Meanwhile, confirming how hyper-local and market segment “centric” real estate is, lack of inventory remains an issue in most of the Bay Area. Eight of the Bay Area’s nine counties–including Marin County– are currently experiencing a sales decline compared to last year as a result of limited availability of homes for sale.

Interest Rates

Defying all expectations, mortgage rates are falling, pushed downward by a continuous string of rate-favorable news (read bad news leading investors to flock to the safety of bonds, thus increasing bonds’ values and putting downward pressure on rates,) the most notable of which being “Brexit,” or Britain’s vote to exit the European Union. The unexpected move shocked world markets, and rates sank.

Since the start of the year, 30-year mortgage rates have dropped 56 basis points (0.56%,) now standing at 3.41 percent on average, floating just above all-time lows recorded in November 2012.

These low rates help counterbalance the increase in home prices for home buyers and offer a great opportunity to refinance for home owners.



Average Listed and Sold Price

The average sale price in Marin County for single family homes dipped slightly in June to $1,583,114, down $78,682 from May’s average, but up $177,000 compared to June 2015’s average.

It is important to note that the average price in May was influenced by the sale of a property for $12 million and two sales over $9 million. The median price is less impacted by either very low or very high sales,

The average listing price remained pretty flat compared to May’s, averaging $2,133,542 in June.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016


Number for Sale and Sold

The inventory of single family homes for sale in Marin County decreased for the first time in a four-month upward trend, with 356 single family homes for sale, compared to 378 in May. The number of homes sold in June increased slightly, from 214 in May to 225. Single family home sales in June reflect the same number – 225 –compared to the same month last year.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016

Homes in Contract

Novato, Fairfax and San Anselmo led Marin County in June for the highest percentage of single family homes in contract, at 56%, 55% and 51%, respectively. Greenbrae, at 50%, saw the highest increase in homes under contract compared to May’s 36%. Larkspur had the greatest decrease of homes in contract at 40%, nearly 10% lower than May’s level. Belvedere, Kentfield and West Marin had the most saturated market with only 11%, 13% and 18%, respectively. It’s important to remember that Belvedere and Kentfield are home to some of the most expensive properties in the county, which have a smaller pool of interested buyers and as a result take longer to sell.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016

Home Sales In Marin By Area

Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley continue to see the highest number of homes sold at 52, 49 and 36, respectively. The average sale price in all three of these communities had a healthy increase. Kentfield had the greatest month-over-month decrease in homes sold, down 80% from the previous month.

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016


Home Sales Activity by Price Point

Marin County Real Estate Market Update - July 2016

June marked inventory changes across most points in Marin County. The $1-$2 million price bracket remains the most active in Marin County with 108 sales in June, despite low levels of inventory. Homes under $1 million followed with 76 sales, though inventory levels remain unchanged from May. There was a slight decrease of active homes priced between $3-$9 million. Homes priced from $10 million saw an increase in active inventory with no homes sold in June.

Second quarter home sales in the $2-5 million range jumped dramatically from 37 homes to 118, after a slow start in the first quarter. The lull in the first quarter was a result of an unseasonably high number of sales in that price range that closed at the end of the previous year. Marin home sales over $5 million hit a record number, despite concerns about the luxury market softening nationally and a slow first quarter. Month’s supply of inventory in the luxury market has dropped from a high of 33 months in 2013, to just under 6 months.

Even with the summer slow down, I am busy working with several buyers and preparing some listings for the fall, but would love to help you, your friends or relatives with any of your real estate needs. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you hear of anyone who could use my services.

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.

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, charts were prepared by the Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty marketing department.

About the Author: The article Marin County Real Estate Market Update – July 2016 was written 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 intelligence—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 or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.