Welcome to my February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update! As we start a new year, the market seems to continue the cooling trend it initiated in 2016. Let’s look at the main market highlights and the fundamentals driving the market to better understand its performance.
1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS
More than at any other time of the year, the seasonal market slow down in December makes comparing year over year figures more accurate than month to month numbers.
January was notably slow for Single Family Home sales in Marin County. Here are the highlights:
- The average number of active listings increased in January, a normal increase from December’s seasonal low due to the Holidays. More importantly, the number was also 10 percent higher than in January 2016. This increase is due to a slower pace in sales, not an increase in new listings as seen below.
- The number of new listings increased compared to December’s low seasonal number, but was significantly lower than January 2016’s number. The inclement weather and succession of severe storms delayed some of the preparations for new listings which frequently launch after Super Bowl Sunday. Uncertainty about changes in tax codes, interest rates and the new administration have also contributed to a tentative sellers’ market. We anticipate a very active listing season in the coming months, while cautious sellers and buyers regain confidence.
- The number of sold properties decreased month over month and also year over year.
- The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–increased compared to December, and dropped a tad compared to January 2016. This means demand remains high.
- The average sales price decreased very slightly from December, but was 14% higher than in January 2016.
- The median sales price also decreased very slightly from December, but was 16% higher than in January 2016, a testimony to the competitive nature of the market throughout 2016 and the continued imbalance between supply and demand.
- The months supply of inventory (based on pended properties) decreased slightly compared to December’s number, but was up compared to January 2016. This means the market absorption rate is decreasing a little.
If you are interested in more detailed information and statistics on a particular town/city in Marin, please visit my Marin County Real Estate Page. You will find information about each community, neighborhoods, schools and up to date statistics (the stats update automatically the 8th of every month).
Overall, we are continuing to see the cooling trend of 2016. As buyers started pushing back on price, became more picky than in 2015, and experienced uncertainty surrounding the November elections, sellers found out the hard way that correct pricing was paramount to a successful sale. The good news for sellers is that there continues to be a backlog of demand and limited supply. Good condition and spot on pricing are rewarded by quick sales. Buyers, make sure to narrow down your criteria, educate yourself as much as you can on the market, get pre-approved if you are financing your purchase, in order to be ready to pounce when the right home comes on the market. If you are just starting your search, you can sign up for an account to search homes and receive alerts right here. If you are ready to buy now, feel free to contact me. I will invite you to open an account for RealScout, the best tool in the industry to set up very detailed searches and receive alerts. I can help you find off-market or pre-market properties.
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.
It is hard to know what 2017 holds in store for our Marin County market. We have not seen a tidal wave of new listings so far this year, but I believe there is a lot coming soon later in the spring. Stay tuned!
2. THE BIG PICTURE
While it is important to remember that real estate values are hyper local in nature, and that they move up and down with the local supply and demand for similar types of housing, they are also influenced by national and regional factors.
Economic Market Overview
- The post-election stock market momentum carried over to the New Year and continued through January, albeit at a more modest pace.
- January employment reports showed 227,000 new jobs were added — well above expectations and the strongest gain since September.
- These figures combined with positive indicators (see side chart from the Consumer Confidence Conference Board) indicate the economy is continuing with its positive trends. While the Consumer Confidence Index dropped slightly in January, it is important to note that it had jumped in December to 113.3, the highest level since August 2001. Small business confidence, manufacturing statistics, and corporate earnings are all rebounding as well.
- There has been little movement in mortgage interest rates; most recently a slight decline, reversing some of the increases in November and December. This may be the result of a weak fourth quarter GDP reading which resulted in a lower average GDP reading overall for 2016 (1.6%), the lowest it’s been since 2011. The Fed acknowledged the slow growth when they voted to hold the Fed Funds Rate steady at their January meeting, and with inflation below its 2% target, significant increases are not expected in the near term.
These strong economic fundamentals should give a boost to our local Marin market, especially its high end luxury segment, which typically tracks the stock market and consumer/business confidence indexes. On the other hand however, our low level of inventory in Marin, exacerbated by our no-growth policy and limited housing stock, is likely to continue to hamper sales in 2017 as qualified and motivated buyers struggle to find available properties for sale.
3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY
Number of Homes Sold
Average Price Sold
The Average Sale Price of Marin Single Family Homes remained relatively unchanged compared to December. The Average Price Per Square Foot was $603, with home sales ranging from a minimum of $475,000, to a maximum of $5.75 million.
Sales by Area
Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley continue to see the highest Number of Homes Sold at 20, 16 and 13, respectively. Belvedere, Larkspur, Ross and Sausalito had no sales recorded. Average Days On Market ranged from 160 in West Marin, to a swift two in Kentfield.
Homes in Contract by Area
Larkspur had 50% of homes in contract, although no sales were recorded in January. Novato had the highest percentage of homes in contract. Fairfax and Kentfield markets had no homes in contract in January.
Homes Sold by Price Point
The luxury market had only 2 homes sold, one in the $4-$5 million range, one in the $5-$7 million range, and none over $7 million. The $1-$2 million range was the most active in January.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. If you are thinking of buying or selling now or next summer, 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 February 2017 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.