Welcome to my September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update! Fall arrived this week, but I am still clinging to summer with my sailboat image above. Since Labor Day we’ve entered into the second busiest time of the year for our real estate market in Marin County–after our spring and early summer hot markets. The market will again slow down in mid November as we approach the Holiday Season until mid January.
HOW TO READ THIS REPORT: Read the section below for the main market highlights and my market analysis. If you are interested in drilling down further, make yourself comfortable, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and scroll down to The Big Picture and an In-depth Study of our Market including an analysis by individual community and price-point.
SEPTEMBER 2016 MARIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE
Highly desirable properties in prime locations and fixer uppers offering great upside potential are still garnering multiple offers–a beautiful, one of a kind home on Sunny Drive in San Anselmo just went in contract this week after receiving eleven offers. Yet overall our market has been “normalizing” or “re-balancing” this year. The number of single family home sales in August was down 25 percent compared to August 2015. It might be hard to believe if you are a buyer struggling to get an offer accepted on your dream home, or even just trying to find that dream home (I know your pain as I have been working with several frustrated buyers this summer), or one of the lucky sellers who just received multiple offers on your home.
Sales prices increased month over month, but have been rising at a slower pace, and are down compared to last year. You may ask why prices are still going up since sales are down and our market is slowing down a little: it is because the sales price of properties has little to do with the sales volume. Rather, it is driven by the relationship between supply and demand. The upward trend in prices is the symptom of the continued imbalance between our supply of homes for sale and demand from buyers. However, as illustrated by the chart below, there appears to be a very slight softening in prices year over year, confirming the “normalizing” trend in our market.
As is typical in September, a fresh crop of new listings has come on the market in the past couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how the market fares this fall. There have been fewer multiple offers and more price reductions, especially in the high end. Buyers have been more circumspect and selective than they were in 2015, flexing more muscle. As a result, negotiations are taking longer and days on market (the time it takes for a property to go in contract) have been on the rise.
Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty has created a fresh new look and new charts for our statistics this month and I have updated my charts’ look as well.
Let’s take a look at the major highlights for August, paying close attention to the year over year comparisons.
- The average number of active listings dipped in August to 332 from 399 in July, but was 5 percent higher than August 2015’s number of 317.
- The number of new listings dipped for the fourth month in a row from 199 in July to 141 in August, 33 percent lower than in August 215. This year’s highest number of new listings was 294 in March. While increasing prices generally coax more selling activity, there has been some hesitancy among potential sellers who worry that they will not be able to buy a desirable and reasonably priced home once they sell.
- The number of sold properties decreased to 163 in August from 199 in July, and was 24 percent lower than in August 2015.
- The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–remained practically flat at 163 compared to 164 in July, and was 4 percent lower than in August 2015.
- The percentage of homes in contract increased in August to 33 percent.
- The average sales price increased to $1,468,000 from $1,421,000 in July, but dropped 10 percent compared to August 2015.
- The months supply of inventory (based on pended properties) dropped to 2.1 months from 2.2 months in July and increased 11 percent compared to 1.9 months in August 2015.
THE BIG PICTURE
What is driving our market? Where are interest rates and where are they heading? The elections? How is the San Francico Bay Area market, and how does it compare to our Marin market?
1. Consumer Confidence/Interest Rates
Our stock market has been fluctuating, but continues to hover over 18,000. Despite the uncertainty of the upcoming elections, consumer confidence improved in August to 101.1, its highest level in nearly a year, after a marginal decline in July.
The Fed decided not to hike interest rates at its September meeting, maintaining the status quo before the elections. Interest rates remain at historically low levels, in the 3’s and are flat compared to last month but lower than last year. Thirty Year Fixed Jumbo rates (for loans ranging from $625,501 to $2,000,000) remain at 3.75 percent.
Most experts expect rates will start increasing slowing in early 2017. Carol Radoni, a highly respected economist, predicts the increase in interest rates will greatly affect our real estate market not only for buyers financing their purchase, but also for most cash buyers who tend to quickly take out a loan after they purchase high end properties with cash in order to take advantage of our low interest rates and mortgage tax deductions.
2. San Francisco Bay Area Market
The California Association of REALTORS® reports that the San Francisco Bay Area real estate remains strong. For the Bay Area as a whole, pending sales rose 8.5 percent from August 2015 and 4.1 percent from July. A strong 14.8 percent increase in pending sales in Santa Clara County drove the improvement in the Bay Area, as well as double-digit pending sales gains in San Francisco (10.4 percent) and San Mateo (11.9 percent) counties.
However, in a sign of slowing market activity for the Bay Area Market as a whole–just like our Marin County market, nearly a third (31 percent) of properties had listing price reductions in August, up from 26 percent in July and 30 percent from August 2015. Buyers are pushing back against the continued increase in prices and resulting shrinking affordability. No wonder: the median home sale price of a San Francisco home has increased from $895,000 at the pre-crash peak of 2007, to $1,350,000 in the first half of 2016.
As a matter of fact, a survey of California REALTORS® revealed that declining housing affordability topped lack of inventory as REALTORS®’ number one concern for the first time in nearly a year, with 26 percent stating they were concerned about low housing affordability, and 19 percent indicating they were concerned about a tight housing supply.
MARIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET INTELLIGENCE – AUGUST 2016 DATA IN DETAIL
Average Active and Sold Price
The Average Sale Price in August increased 3% from July after a two-month decline beginning in May for Marin County single family homes at $1,454,676, up $29,000 from July. There was a notable increase of $220,000 in Marin Average List Price in August compared to July.
Number For Sale and Sold
Inventory in Marin County tightened again in August for a three-month downward trend since May, with 332 single family Homes for Sale, compared to 399 in July. The Number of Homes Sold in August also decreased, from 195 in July to 163. Single family home sales in August remain significantly lower compared to the same month last year, by 48 units a drop of 23%.
Homes in Contract by Area
Fairfax led Marin County in August for the highest percentage of single family Homes In Contract at 55%, followed by San Anselmo (42%) and Novato (41%). The Beach Cities had the greatest percentage increase since July, from 13% to 30%, while Belvedere and Tiburon saw healthy increases of roughly 10%. Greenbrae and Ross had the greatest decline percentage of Homes In Contract, currently at 29% and 25%, respectively.
Home Sales in Marin by Area
Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley continue to see the highest Number of Homes Sold at 42, 32 and 22, respectively, though all remain slightly under July levels. The Beach Cities, Belvedere and Corte Madera all saw the number of homes sales double in August compared to July. Average Days On Market ranged from a rapid 23 in Corte Madera, which reflects accelerated closing times, to 153 in the Beach Cities which service a more discretionary market.
If you are thinking of buying or selling now or next spring, feel free to contact me today. It is never too early to start preparing to sell your home and I am always happy to sit down with you and provide you with advice on the best improvements to make on your home for the best returns. Contact me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com.
Please note: Unless otherwise indicated, charts were prepared by the Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty marketing department. All reports presented by Sylvie Zolezzi are based on data supplied by TrendGraphix and BAREIS MLS. Neither the Marin Association of Realtors nor its MLS guarantees or is in anyway responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activities in the market. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
About the Author: The article September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update 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 work with you. I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.