Welcome to my October 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update!
Before jumping into the report, I have to address the fires in the Wine Country. As horrific as they are, they have brought out a lot of good in our region. I have been blown away by the response of our Marin community–and first-responders from near and far away. I am deeply touched by the outpouring of support and love for those who have been evacuated and lost everything. In return, those affected have shown heartfelt appreciation for the community for the firefighters, and volunteers, throughout the affected areas and even down here in Marin County with all sorts of signs expressing heartfelt gratitude.
At moments like these, we pause and understand the true meaning of home: it is not only a roof over our heads, but also so much more: our refuge, our sacred, private retreat, our family’s safe place where we build memories and share life’s ups and downs, where we treasure our family’s keepsakes… My heart goes out to all those who have suffered loss during this tragedy and I look forward to helping them rebuild in the months ahead. We can all support the wineries and local businesses by patronizing them: please make sure you do. They need it: September and October have historically been the strongest months for Wine Country hotels. Due to wildfires that tore through the region several weeks ago, however, occupancy rates throughout the tourist-heavy region have taken a severe hit.
With roughly 5,000 homes destroyed by wildfire, the North Bay has lost a sizable chunk of its housing stock in what was already a tight home market. That loss is likely to boost home and rental prices here in Marin County immediately as demand has jumped significantly in just a few days. Some people might relocate to different areas, but typically people have strong ties to the region through jobs and families and want to stay in their community.
1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS
In just a few words, we continue to suffer from limited inventory of homes for sale. Despite the lower supply of homes, sales have increased compared to last year, and prices have continued to trend upwards. I am noticing a softening of the market however, with fewer multiple offers and price reductions on some listings.
The period between labor day and Thanksgiving is typically quite busy in our market. Throughout the holiday season, the market generally slows down, yet I want to remind you that it can be an excellent time to both sell and buy in Marin. As we are fortunate to enjoy mild weather, our market does not come to a halt as it does in other parts of the country. While there are fewer homes on the market during the holidays, there is also a lot less competition, and buyers can score their dream home. Sellers meanwhile have the benefit of dealing with truly motivated buyers.
See the chart and detailed analysis below for September and the first three quarters of this year:
- The average number of active listings increased slightly in September compared to August, and was practically at the same level as last September. e
- The number of new listings decreased versus the number of new listings in August, and also compared to the number of new listings in September 2016. Again, this has been a trend this year: new listings have been decreasing year over year every single month in 2017, as follows: January: -42%; February: -39%; March: -30%; April: -29%; May: -5%; June: -16%, July: -45%, August -39% and now September -12%.
- The number of sold properties dropped from 181 in August to 173 in September. Despite the lower number of new listings and the slightly lower inventory of active listings, sales were higher than last September’s sales. One might expect that the decrease in active listings would choke off sales, but as demand remains very high, sales have been trending up.
- The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–was up compared to August, and down year over year by 10 percent.
- The average active (or list) price was down slightly month over month, and was up 10 percent year over year, reflecting the fact that our higher priced inventory is increasing in relation to the lower end.
- The average sales price increased slightly month over month. The normal seasonal pattern is for prices to spike in the spring, and again in September, while settling a bit during the summer and winter months as activity wanes. Year over year, the average sales price jumped 18 percent.
- The median sales price increased very slightly month over month, and went up by 8 percent year over year. It is important to keep in mind that while movements in the median sale price and even to a greater extent the average sale price are a great measure of what’s selling, they’re not necessarily an accurate measure of appreciation or changes in value and are extremely susceptible to changes in mix. Two or three very highly priced properties can significantly affect the average sales price in a particular month.
- Days on Market increased month over month, and also year over year.
- The months’ supply of inventory (based on pended properties) increased compared to August’s number and also compared to September 2016. Despite the increase, keep in mind that, as a rule of thumb, an inventory level of less than three indicates a strong seller market while an inventory level greater than six indicates a buyer’s market.
Looking back at the first three quarters of this year and comparing them with 2016’s first three quarters, we witness the same trends overall: fewer active listings, fewer new listings, more sales, and higher prices.
2.The Big Picture
During Q3 the bull market in stocks became the second strongest in U.S. history with a gain of over 260% from its bottom in 2009. Similarly U.S. household wealth increased in the third quarter to yet another record.
The Government reported the economy grew at a strong 3% during the second quarter of 2017, up from an earlier estimate of 2.6%. Stronger consumer spending and expanded manufacturing are the main drivers of growth. In fact, American manufacturing expanded last month at the fastest pace in 13 years with 17 of 18 industries reporting growth in September.
Consumer sentiment surged in early October to 101.1, reaching its highest level since the start of 2004 and crushing expectations. Current trends indicate consumer spending continuing to expand through the middle of next year. If that pace continues, it would mark the second longest expansion period since the mid-1800’s.
The Fed voted to keep interest rates steady at their September meeting, but they did announce plans to begin the great “unwinding” of their massive $3 trillion balance sheet. Beginning in October, the Fed will sell Mortgage Bonds and Treasury Securities every month. It is anticipated that as the Fed sells rates will rise and the spread between 30-year mortgages and 10-year Treasuries will widen, pushing mortgage rates up by an extra eighth of a point.
For detailed information about your neighborhood’s activity, please feel free to reach out to me. Call/text me at 415-505-4789 or email me at Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com. I would love to answer your questions and earn the right to be your real estate adviser now and in the future.
About the Author: The article October 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.