June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Welcome to my June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update!

Summer will officially begin on June 21, but it already feels like it has arrived in Marin County! School is out, and graduation season is in full swing. At this time of year, our real estate market typically slows down a little after the busy spring months. Sales are often at their highest in June as a result of the peak in activity in April and May. During the summer months fewer homes come on the market and go in contract as the rush to secure a new home for families with school age children lets up and many are away on their summer vacation. September generally sees a second wave of more intense activity.

As is the case in most of the country, the lack of inventory in Marin County remains the major challenge. Yet there are opportunities to move up, or downsize. Determined and resourceful buyers and sellers are succeeding in this market.

 

1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS

 

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

In 2014 and 2015, the norm was systematic multiple offers, or even pre-emptive offers, non-contingent offers (i.e. offers without inspection or financing contingencies), and a seven to ten-day period from the first day on the market to the offer deadline date. Sellers were benefiting from bidding wars and prices went up significantly. In 2016, and this year again, while demand has remained high, we have been seeing more push back from buyers on price, and as such, more price reductions–especially in the $2 million plus price range. As a result, despite a very limited supply of homes for sale, prices have leveled off. Here are the main highlights:

  • The average number of active listings increased in May compared to April, as is the case every year when our market switches into high gear after the slower winter months. However, the number of active listings was 5% lower than it was in May 2016.
  • The number of new listings decreased compared to April, but was significantly lower than last May.
  • The number of sold properties was a little higher than in April. Year over year, the number of sold properties remained almost flat despite the lower number of homes for sale.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–was up month over month, and year over year–as demand remains high for Marin County properties.
  • The average active (or list) price went down slightly month over month, but was up 4% year over year.
  • The average sales price increased month over month, and year over year. 
  • The median sales price remained flat month over month, but went up by 13% year over year. It is important to keep in mind that while movements in the median 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.
  • Days on Market remained relatively flat month over month, and year over year. 
  • The months’ supply of inventory (based on pended properties) remained flat compared to April’s number and was down year over year, a reflection of the increased level of absorption as demand continues to be higher than the supply of Marin homes for sale.

Here are your best strategies in today’s market:

Buyers: The Marin market remains extremely competitive with demand remaining higher than supply. Understand that is is a tough market, not the type of market in which anything is going to feel like “a deal.” There are still multiple offers on prime properties, and homes selling for significantly over the list price. However, I am seeing more price reductions, as sellers are meeting with resistance when they try to push prices higher. The advice I always give aspiring homeowners bears repeating:

  • seek a pre-approval from a local, respected lender who can, and will, move fast
  • know what your budget and limits are
  • be prepared to make a decision fast and write your highest and best offer first, you probably won’t get a second chance
  • begin discussions early on about your housing wants and needs with a savvy Realtor who knows how to navigate this market
  • consider listings that have been on the market for a while: sometimes they don’t sell because they are overpriced, or they don’t check all the boxes. They might offer you the opportunity to make an offer with less competition and a very motivated seller.
  • finally, listen to your agent: price is definitely very important to sellers, but you can make your offer attractive through other terms. A savvy agent can guide you and help you win. I just helped two buyers present the winning offer as they were competing with other eager buyers and close on their dream home after a short, smooth escrow. I would be happy to help you too!

Sellers: Buyers have access to more and more market information and are working with savvy agents who are very knowledgeable of values. As I mentioned it above:

  • overpriced homes are not selling in our market
  • as prices are leveling off, it is paramount to price your property correctly from the onset to ensure you sell it for the highest possible price.
  • now’s the time to move quickly before the summer lull hits. That’s especially true if your home will be priced above $2 million.

 

2. THE BIG PICTURE

While it is important to remember that our Marin County real estate market is hyper local in nature, and that it moves up and down with the local supply and demand for similar types of housing, it also takes its cues from what is happening at the regional–especially the San Francisco and Bay area markets– and national levels.

The San Francisco Bay Area Market

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

The Marin market tends to track the San Francisco market, generally moving at a slightly more moderate pace. While single family home values increased in Marin by over 40% from 2012 to 2015 (read my May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update for more details), the median price of a single family home in San Francisco increased during the same period by around 70% as we came out of the Great Financial Crisis. Condominium prices increased by around 55% during the same period. While the San Francisco market leveled off in 2016, just like the Marin market, this spring buyers came back to the market in droves and the San Francisco market has heated up again.

Meanwhile, as prices keep going up, the more affordable southern and western neighborhoods like Central Sunset, Sunnyside, and the Excelsior are seeing big gains as buyers are priced out of their first and second choice neighborhoods.

It will be interesting to see if our Marin market heats up as well in the upcoming months.

Economic Market Overview

Despite weak economic growth, the housing market got off to a good start in 2017 thanks to low inflation, record low unemployment (4.4%) and strong job growth.

Consumer confidence decreased slightly in May, following a moderate decline in April, according the recently released Board Consumer Confidence Index report. The headline number of 117.9 was a decrease from the final reading of 119.4 for April, a downward revision from 120.4. However consumers, while less upbeat than in April, overall remain optimistic that the economy will continue expanding into the summer month.

Interest Rates

Interest rates have been a bit of a surprise, drifting down since March, helping bolster housing demand.

A recent KCM article reminds us that, at the beginning of 2017, housing experts all agreed on one thing: 2017 was going to be the year we would see mortgage interest rates begin to rise. After years of historically low rates, and an improving economy, the question wasn’t if they would increase but instead how much they would increase. Some thought we could see rates hit 5-5.5% by the end of the year.

However, the exact opposite has happened. Instead of higher rates as we head into the middle of 2017, we now have the lowest rates of the year (as reported by Freddie Mac). Here is a graph of mortgage rate movement since the beginning of the year:

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

The thirty year jumbo rate is currently at 4.125%.

What can we expect moving forward?  The Fed is expected to raise rates at its next meeting this week, and four major entities (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors) are still projecting that rates will increase by the fourth quarter of the year.

I don’t have a crystal ball and am not certain of what will happen. However, it is worth remembering that a fluctuation in interest rates can greatly affect your purchasing power, as illustrated in the chart I created below:

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY 

In Contract By Area

San Anselmo had 52% of Homes in Contract in May, followed by Greenbrae (50%), Mill Valley (42%) and San Rafael (41%). Eight cities had over 25% of Homes in Contract. In contrast, less active markets were Belvedere (21%) and Kentfield (17%).

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Home Sales by Area

Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley continue to see the highest number of homes sold at 44, 39 and 33, respectively. Tiburon had a notable number of homes sold at 14, while Greenbrae and Larkspur saw a slowdown in number of home sales compared to previous months, each at 5.

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Sales By Price Point

The highest number of homes both available (137) and sold (97) were in the $1-2 million price range, which continues to be the most active in our market. There were 45 homes sold between $750,000 and $1 million, while 30 homes sold in the $2-3 million price range, up from 22 homes in April. A notable nine homes sold between $4-5 million. There were only 2 homes sold at $5 million or higher.

 

June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading my May 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 later this 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 Golden Gate  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 June 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update  was written by Sylvie Zolezzi. I live in Marin, work in Marin and LOVE Marin!!! 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 Golden Gate 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, Golden Gate 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.


May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Pictured above: 120 Mountain View Avenue, San Rafael, CA – Listed at $8,000,000 by Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty

Welcome to my May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update! Spring is off to a good start and our real estate market is in full swing, with continued high demand from buyers competing for a low number of homes available for sale. How low is that number? Let me put in perspective for you: in April the months’ supply of inventory for pended homes was only 1.5. The months’ supply of inventory reflects the market absorption rate and how long it would take for the market to absorb current inventory if no new listings came on the market. A healthy inventory level is considered to be 4-6 months, which we have not experienced in Marin since 2011 when it ranged from 2.8 to 5.5.

Here is a chart that shows the number of homes for sale and sold since 2011, when the recovery started. You will note a significant decline in the number of homes available for sale starting in 2012 as many of the distressed properties which had flooded the market were sold. The good news is that the level of inventory has remained almost flat since 2015.

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

What does it mean for you?

Buyers: Of late, the trifecta of low inventory, higher home prices and increasing interest rates has made it quite challenging to be a buyer in Marin County. The good news is that inventory is more stable, remaining at about the same level as last year and prices are leveling off. However, competition remains high, and most buyers are looking for the same amenities, including great schools, flat lots, privacy, an easy commute, walk to town location, an open floor plan, views and quiet neighborhoods. It is quite rare to find all of these features wrapped into one property, and the successful buyers are the ones who know how to compromise. The advice I gave aspiring homeowners in last month’s report bears repeating: seek a pre-approval from a local, respected lender, know what your budget and limits are, begin discussions early on about your housing wants and needs with a savvy Realtor who knows how to navigate this market. And be prepared to make decisions very fast.

Sellers: Buyers have access to market information (they are reading reports such as this one), and are working with savvy agents who are very knowledgeable of values. Overpriced homes are not selling in our market and I am seeing more price reductions from sellers who are trying to push prices higher. As prices are leveling off, it is paramount to price your property correctly from the onset to ensure you sell it for the highest possible price.


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1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Here are the main highlights:

  • The average number of active listings increased in April compared to March, as is the case every year when our market switches into high gear after the slower winter pace. However, the number of active listings was 4% lower than it was in April 2016.
  • The number of new listings decreased compared to March, which is not unusual as March typically is the first month of good weather in Marin when many sellers put their home on the market. But the drop is more significant than in previous years, and is especially important year over year.
  • The number of sold properties shot up from February’s low number of 77 and March’s number of 132 to 239-an expected seasonal increase. Year over year, the number of sold properties remained almost flat.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–went up from 114 in February to 205 in March, and now 239 in April, or almost 6% higher than in April 2016.
  • The average active (or list) price increased from $2,599,000 in March to $2,656,000 in April, and  7% year over year.
  • The average sales price on the other hand decreased month over month.   However, it is important to note that part of the increase in the average sales price for March was due to the sale of three high priced properties: $14.64M in Belvedere, $9.5M in Bolinas, and $8.25M in Tiburon.
  • Days on Market decreased to 46, on average. Some homes actually sell in just 2 or 3 days as a result of pre-marketing.
  • The months’ supply of inventory (based on pended properties) decreased compared to March’s number and compared to March 2016’s number.

 

2. THE BIG PICTURE

While it is important to remember that our Marin County real estate market is hyper local in nature, and that it moves up and down with the local supply and demand for similar types of housing, it also takes its cues from what is happening at the regional and national levels.

The San Francisco Bay Area Market

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
View of the San Francisco skyline from the Bay

Our Marin market tends to track the San Francisco market, and it is always interesting to check in and see how it is performing. At first glance, it appears to be leveling off just as our market is.

The San Francisco market continued its steady pace through the first part of the year. Single family home values remained pretty constant, as compared to the first quarter of last year, while the number of sales increased by 4%. The market pace in San Francisco is faster than in Marin with homes selling in two to three weeks on average, compared to our 46 days.

Overbidding in San Francisco also remained consistent with last year, coming in at an average of 12% over list price, compared to our average in Marin of 1% over list price. The middle tier ($1.1 million to $1.7 million) had the greatest number of multiple offers and overbidding, averaging 14% over list price.

Condominium values posted a healthy gain of 5% in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. This gain occurred despite an influx of nearly 1,000 new condominiums. The number of sales remained consistent with last year. Overbidding decreased slightly, coming in at an average of 4% over list price, versus 6% last year. 

I am still seeing a lot of buyers moving to Marin where they feel they can get a lot more home for their money, in addition to great schools, great weather and a great lifestyle, all within a short commute to the City. 

Economic Market Overview

I attended a Women’s Council of Realtors conference in Sacramento at the beginning of May and listened to an excellent presentation from Anita Khan, a top Wells Fargo economist. Among other factors, she blamed the low inventory on the fact that homeowners are waiting to sell because they believe their home will continue to increase in value. And indeed prices have been on an upward trend since 2011, increasing by over 50% since 2011, as illustrated by the chart below. Yet, you will notice that the increase has slowed down and actually almost leveled off since 2015. Especially when you know that the average for 2017 was high because of March’s high average sold price of $1,805,000, due to three unusually high priced sales. While I am still seeing properties receiving multiple offers and selling significantly over their asking price, there are also overpriced properties that sit on a market for several months and only sell after one or more price reductions. The market is still very competitive, and while some buyers are willing to jump in the fray in multiple offer scenarios, others are not willing to pay significantly over the asking price. As a result, the frenzy of 2015 and early 2016 seems to have subsided.

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Back to Anita Khan, the economist: she gave a word of caution, pointing out that this July we will reach the eighth year in our current economic cycle. Cycles typically last about 7-8 years; we are currently in the third longest economic expansion since 1850. Yet, there is no life expectancy for the business cycle. Both the extended expansions of the 1980’s and 1990’s witnessed a second wind with new stimulus of tax reform and technological applications. With the election of President Donald Trump, the financial markets have moved in a way that anticipates financial success from his tax reform and pro business policies. It remains to be seen if actual policy actions will justify such optimism.

And so far, we have been left with an expectation hangover, as markets have rallied considerably since November but no changes have materialized. We are looking at a mixed picture with strong consumer and business sentiment, and continued hope Congress will deliver on the President’s pro-business agenda, continuing to fuel the positive market momentum. Yet US GDP growth for the first quarter of 2017 was anemic at 0.7%. She is hoping this was a one-off, and that GDP will increase to 2 to 2.5% in 2017.

For this to happen, consumer spending, which is the main driver of GDP growth and was down significantly in the first quarter, will have to increase.

The biggest impediment to a full recovery continues to be low inventory of housing. As I mentioned it earlier, she feels that homeowners have become complacent, waiting for their home to increase further in value, and that they could face a sudden downturn in the economy and drop in their home value. The other big risk is a steep increase in interest rates. She expects two more interest hikes this year.

If you are thinking of selling, keep a close eye on the market and any forewarning signs of a change, as you may not know the cycle is over until prices have already started going down.

Interest Rates

For now, home loan rates remain attractive, despite a small increase. Here are rates quoted on May 12, 2017 by Rob Spinosa at RPM Mortgage.

Rate Trend: Higher by .125%.
30-Year Fixed Conforming: 4.250%
30-Year Fixed Conf-Jumbo: 4.500%
30-Year Fixed Jumbo:  4.125%
7/1 ARM Jumbo:  3.375%
FHA 30-Year Fixed: 4.000%
(All pricing above at 0 points. For reference and for real estate professionals only.  Your actual rate, payment and costs could be higher.  Get an official loan estimate before choosing a loan.)


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3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY 

Percentage in Contract by Area

Greenbrae had 67% of Homes in Contract in April, followed by Corte Madera (57%) and Novato (51%). Five cities had between 40% and 50% of Homes in Contract. In contrast, less active markets were West Marin (7%) and Belvedere (10%).

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Number of Homes Sold

Marin Single Family Home sales were up 53% from March, and up 3% compared to the same month last year. Most Single Family Homes sold in April were in the price range of $1-2 million.

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Home Sales by Area

San Rafael, Novato and Mill Valley continue to see the highest Number of Homes Sold at 48, 46 and 28, respectively. San Anselmo had a notable number of homes sold in April at 16, as did Kentfield and Tiburon, with 11 each for the period.

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Average Price Sold

The Average Sale Price of Marin Single Family Homes decreased significantly by 11% in April compared to March, from at $1,607,803 and $1,826,554, respectively. As mentioned above, the spike on March was due to a few high priced home sales in March; $14.64M in Belvedere, $9.5M in Bolinas, and $8.25M in Tiburon. Compared to the same month last year, the Average Sale Price remains relatively unchanged, up 1%.

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Sales By Price Point

The highest number of homes both available (110) and sold (94), were between $1-2 million. There were 50 homes sold between $750,000 and $1 million, almost double the number sold in March, while 22 homes sold in the $2-3 million price range. A notable 15 homes sold between $3-4 million. There were only 7 homes sold at $4 million or higher.

May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

I hope you have enjoyed reading my May 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 later this spring or 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 Golden Gate  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.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION OF THIS REPORT.


About the Author: The article May 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update  was written by Sylvie Zolezzi. I live in Marin, work in Marin and LOVE Marin!!! 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 Golden Gate 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, Golden Gate 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Beautiful pink dogwood in bloom last week in San Anselmo

Welcome to my April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Report! I love this time of year in Marin: the birds are singing, the trees are blooming and with the beautiful days of spring, our real estate market is coming alive. Sellers are finally putting their homes up for sale now that the weather is more clement and their gardens look their absolute best. Anxious buyers hope to find and move into their next residence before the summer, in order to ensure their children get in the right school for the following year.

Despite intermittent rains we have enjoyed a healthy level of activity in March. We’ve finally had more new listings come on the market after the storms subsided. Open houses have been very busy, and the newly listed properties are being snatched up very fast. However, despite a jump in the number of new listings in March, inventory remains limited. Supply constraints are driving prices higher, creating a heightened sense of buyer urgency, especially in the lower end of our market–under $1 million. It’s not uncommon to see Marin homes receive multiple offers and sell for 5-10% over the list price.

All indicators point to the fact that we are in a strong seller’s market, with increasing prices, lower days on market and a tight inventory. Yet, as buyers are more and more market savvy, and aware of values, sellers have to ensure they list their properties in alignment with buyers’ values and prices. We saw the market soften in 2016 as compared to 2015, with fewer multiple offers. As a result, as the difference between the average list price and the average sales price is narrowing, it appears that sellers are more in tune with the market than they were last year, when they were still thinking it was 2015. Yet, when their homes show well, are well priced and are well marketed and advertised, they are typically rewarded with very strong offers.

The reality of this market is that Marin buyers have to move fast, and be prepared to step up sometimes significantly over the asking price to get in contract as they compete with all cash offers, no contingency offers or just crazy high offers. While it can be extremely frustrating, with the right guidance and willingness to step up, it is possible to nab your dream home. I just helped a San Francisco family to successfully compete with an all cash offer and secure a Mill Valley property in a premium location (see below). Had they not stepped up, they might have had to pay even more for another comparable property in Mill Valley as the sale price of their new home is now the new “comp” for the neighborhood. I also just helped another family earlier this week write the winning offer and get in contract on an attractive Novato property in a competitive bidding situation.

 

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

My advice to aspiring homeowners: seek a pre-approval from a local, respected lender, know what your budget and limits are, begin discussions early on about your housing wants and needs with a Realtor who knows how to navigate this market. Most buyers are looking for the same amenities, and if you find a great home in a desirable neighborhood, there will undoubtedly be many other buyers who spot it as well, and you will have to move fast.

The reward for stepping up? As Carole Rodoni, a highly respected Bay Area economist, recently shared at a conference here in Marin, she is absolutely convinced that real estate as an investment can do you no wrong. Marin County property values continue to go up in the long term, albeit with some minor ups and downs, as clearly illustrated by the chart below. Your holding costs are reduced by the tax deduction on your mortgage interest, property tax deduction, and the depreciation if it is an investment property. Finally, when you sell, the appreciation is considered long-term capital gain, which you can avoid up to a certain level (read my article here about Six Ways to Minimize Your Capital Gains Tax) and enjoys a discounted tax rate. She feels strongly that stocks cannot match that. Oh, and also, you get to live in your investment!

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Source: MarinReports.com

1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Here are the main highlights:

  • The average number of active listings increased in March compared to February, and was a little higher than in March 2016.
  • The number of new listings increased as well compared to February, but was significantly lower than in March 2016. 
  • The number of sold properties shot up from February’s low number of 77 to 123–an expected seasonal increase–, and remained just below last year’s sales for March. The silver lining for the low number of sales in February and March is that it gave a small boost to the level of inventory which was higher in March than last year despite a lower number of new listings year over year.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–jumped from 114 in February to 212 in March, or almost exactly to the same level as last March. It will be interesting to keep track of the number of new listings, because if it continues to trend below last year’s levels while the number of sales and pended properties remain at the same level, we are going to suffer from an increased scarcity of inventory.
  • The average active (or list) price decreased from $2,779,000 in February to $2,599,000 in March, while both the average sales price and median sales increased month over month. As I mentioned it earlier, when the active price trends down and the sales price trends upwards, and the gap narrows, it is a sign that the market is more balanced, that sellers are more in touch with the reality of today’s market. In 2016, sellers were expecting to sell their properties at the very high 2015 levels, and it appears that this year that they are more in line with buyer’s values.
  • The months’ supply of inventory (based on pended properties) decreased compared to February’s number and increased a tad compared to March 2016’s number. At 1.4, this number is another strong sign that we remain in a seller’s market. The months’ supply of inventory (reflecting the market’s absorption rate) indicates how long it would take for the market to absorb current inventory if no new listings came on the market. 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.

 

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.

The National and San Francisco Bay Area Markets

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
View of San Francisco from Strawberry – Mill Valley

It appears that the entire country, not just Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area, is suffering from a shortage of inventory of homes for sale. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, said at the end of March that the number of sales retreated in February as too few properties for sale and weakening affordability conditions stifled buyers in most of the country. “Realtors® are reporting stronger foot traffic from a year ago, but low supply in the affordable price range continues to be the pest that’s pushing up price growth and pressuring the budgets of prospective buyers,” he said. Now is a good time to sell, and until an increase in the number of listings actually occurs, home prices will continue to move hastily.

The Bay Area is experiencing some of the quickest pace of sales in the U.S: homes in Santa Clara County found a buyer in an average of 21 days, the shortest days on market in the country, with San Mateo a close second with 23 days, followed by Alamada (24 days) and San Francisco (25 days). Wow!

Economic Market Overview

“After six consecutive monthly gains, the U.S. Leading Economic Indicator (LEI) is at its highest level in over a decade. Widespread gains across a majority of the leading indicators point to an improving economic outlook for 2017, although GDP growth is likely to remain moderate,” according to Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Only housing permits contributed negatively to the LEI in February, reversing gains over the previous two months.”

Meanwhile, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased in February, also improved sharply in March to its highest level since December 2000. The Index now stands at 125.6 (1985=100), up from 116.1 in February.

For now, the high consumer confidence index, and improved job and income prospects should prove excellent for our real estate market, as well as the very healthy stock market, especially for the high end of our Marin market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been trending over 20,000 in the first quarter.

The in-fighting in Washington and resulting challenges for the administration to reach its ambitious goals, combined with the tensions with North Korea may dampen consumers’ enthusiasm down the road; stay tuned to see what happens next.

Interest Rates

Meanwhile, mortgage rates are now at the best levels of the year and remain just above historic lows. Conforming rates for a thirty year fixed are at about 4.00 percent, and conforming high balance rates are a tad higher at 4.125 percent, down compared to a week ago, up compared to one year ago.

TheMortgageReports.com reported this week that, in an unexpected rally earlier this week, mortgage rates fell below the important 4% barrier to a five month low. Most experts were predicting several interest rate hikes this year, so why are they trending down?

Well, the honeymoon appears to be over, as I hinted earlier. That’s what investors are saying, anyway, denoting their curbed enthusiasm about the new administration. In late 2016, the election pushed up mortgage rates to multi-year highs. Investors built in massive economic growth before it actually happened, and economic growth causes interest rates to go up. Now, tax reforms and infrastructure plans have failed to materialize.

Add that to the fact that world conflict is heating up, and you have a recipe for falling rates.

3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY 

Percentage of Single Family Homes in Contract by Area

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Number of Single Family Homes Sold

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Single Family Home Sales by Area

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Average Price Sold

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Sales by Price Point

April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update


About the Author: The article April 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update  was written by Sylvie Zolezzi. I live in Marin, work in Marin and LOVE Marin!!! 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 Golden Gate 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, Golden Gate 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.

 

 


March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Welcome to my March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update! While spring is not starting officially for a few more days, spring-like weather certainly has arrived in Marin County. Wherever you look, you can feast your eyes on beautiful trees laden with pink or white blooms. It makes my heart sing! In real estate, the busy spring season has begun as well. To the delight of agents and buyers, a nice crop of new listings is popping up on the market every day, 96 so far today (March 12) compared to 117 for the entire month of February! The market appears poised for a promising listing season ahead.

1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

* I have been considering removing the “Peak 2007 Monthly Average” column from my chart because as you can see our sales prices in Marin are now, and have been for quite a while, actually higher than the 2017 prices. Yet, I find the comparison in terms of inventory, number of sales and pended properties, and months supply of inventory useful. So for now, I am going to keep the column as a point of reference. 

January and February were notably slow for Single Family Home sales in Marin County. However, it is important to keep in mind that recent sales at the beginning of the year in real estate lag the real trend and don’t necessarily tell us about the current market. Since escrows take one to two months to close, February sales reflect the market activity in December and January: December is always slow because of the holidays and January was even slower than usual this year because of the bad, stormy weather. A more accurate indicator of current market activity is the number of pended listings: it was up significantly in February from January, a telling sign that demand remains very strong.

Here are the main highlights:

  • The average number of active listings increased in February by 20 percent. It was flat compared to February 2016’s number, despite a significant drop of 39 percent in the number of new listings, as a result of lower sales activity.
  • The number of new listings increased slightly compared to January’s low seasonal number, but was significantly lower than February 2016’s number.  The inclement weather and succession of severe storms in both January and February delayed some of the preparations for new listings. In March, we are seeing more listings launched.
  • The number of sold properties remained low, and was almost 20 percent lower than last year’s sales in February.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–jumped 70 percent from February’s low number. This confirms that demand remains high. 
  • The average sales price and median sales prices were similar to 2016’s prices. 
  • The months supply of inventory (based on pended properties) decreased compared to January’s number and February 2016’s number because more properties were pended during the month. This means the market absorption is increasing a little. The months supply of inventory (reflecting the market’s absorption rate) indicates how long it would take for the market to absorb current inventory if no new listings came on the market. 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.

What does it mean for you?

  • If you are thinking of buying, preparation is more important than ever. In the most competitive (and desirable) neighborhoods, bidding wars, escalating prices and fast sales are the rule, not the exception. You have to accept the fact that you may not be able to check all the boxes on your wish list and get your dream home in this market. You should instead be prepared to make some concessions on location, price, move-in readiness and other factors.

    The good news is that the market pace has slowed down. It looks like we should be getting more inventory this spring, but the key is to be able to move quickly. Get pre-approved and set up property searches and alerts  on my website or contact me for free access to Real Scout, the best search tool in the industry.

    It is more than ever paramount to submit a clean, streamlined offer that makes it easy for the seller to close quickly and meets any particular needs he/she may have. If you are not paying cash, know that all pre-approvals do not carry the same weight. Make sure you work with a reputable local mortgage lender who knows the Marin market and can fully underwrite your loan before you even go under contract. That way the seller knows your financing is secure, and your offer stands a much better chance to successfully compete with all-cash offers.

  • If you are thinking of selling, preparation is key as well. Make sure your home and yard look as good as possible, and consider staging. While inventory remains relatively spare, it does not mean you can overprice your home and get away with it. Price your listing based on recent comparable sales, not the 2015’s high price your neighbor sold his home for. I am happy to provide a free, no obligation consultation on improvements with the best return on investment to make to your home whether or not you are ready to sell this season. Feel free to contact me.

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

Economic optimism prevailed for another month and US stocks hit all-time highs. In the months since the Presidential election, the Dow has continued its rally and broke over 20,000 for the first time.

All indicators improved in February. The labor market continues to march ahead at near “full-employment” and recent readings on retail sales and industrial production were extremely favorable. A survey of manufacturing shows the factory sector is expanding at breakneck pace — a remarkable turnaround for an index that was contracting as recently as August 2016. Indeed, the US economy appears to be firing on all cylinders.

The consumer confidence index increased in February to 114.8 from 111.6 in January.

Of course, more jobs and better wages result in increased consumer spending and ultimately, inflation, prompting Fed Chair Janet Yellen to pledge to increase interest rates at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. While interest rates remain historically attractive today at about 4.1 percent for a 30 year mortgage, Ms. Yellen did add that the Fed expected to raise rates twice more this year.

The San Francisco Market

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
San Francisco Richmond’s District – Photo courtesy of Octoferret

Softening demand and increased inventory from new construction have resulted in fewer multiple offers in 2016 than in 2014 and 2015. According to a recent SFCurbed Article,  as the real estate site Redfin rolled out its annual list of the neighborhoods with the most competitive bidding wars in the U.S., “the San Francisco’s battlefront [was] looking a bit quiet.”  Only three San Francisco neighborhoods made the list: they were Inner Richmond, Dolores Heights and Parkside.

Back in 2014, by contrast, San Francisco commanded seven spots on the list, including the top three: the Sunset, the Castro, and Bernal Heights, and Glen Park, Westlake, Noe Valley, and the Haight further down the list.

But keep in mind all is relative. The fact there are fewer multiple offers, both in San Francisco and in Marin, does not mean the market is not competitive. It was pretty much out of control in 2015, and is more balanced and healthy now.

Marin remains more affordable than San Francisco, and attracts many buyers thanks to its award winning schools and sunny, warmer weather.

The National Real Estate Market

Lawrence Yun, NAR (the National Association of Realtors) chief economist, reports that interest in buying a home is the highest it has been since the Great Recession. According to Yun, households are feeling more confident about their financial situation; job growth is strong in most of the country and the stock market has seen record gains in recent months. While these factors bode favorably for increased sales in coming months, buyers throughout the country are dealing with challenging supply shortages that continue to run up prices in many areas, and deteriorating affordability as the result of higher home prices and mortgage rates.

In Marin, the anemic supply of homes poses an extreme challenge as we are not building new construction because of our no-growth policy. A word of advice to buyers, when you see that perfect house: jump on it!

 

3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY 

Number of Homes Sold 

With 74 sold, Marin Single Family Homes sales were up 1% from January, and down 22% compared to the same month last year. Most Single Family Homes sold in February were in the price range of $1-2 million.

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Percentage of Homes in Contract by Area

Greenbrae had the highest percentage of homes in contract in February (67%), followed by Corte Madera (50%) and Novato (49%). San Rafael, San Anselmo and Sausalito had between 41% and 42% of homes in contract. In contrast, less active markets were Tiburon (12%), West Marin (8%) and Kentfield which had none.

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Average Price Sold

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Sales by Price Point

The highest number of homes both available (72) and sold (28) were between $1-2 million. 25 homes sold priced between $750,000 and $1 million, while 11 homes sold in the $2-3 million price range. There were no sales of homes priced at $4 million or higher.

March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading my March 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 later this spring or 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 March 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.

 

 

 

 


February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

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.
  • February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market UpdateThese 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

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

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.

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

February 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

 


Marin County’s Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 – Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County’s luxury real estate market remained very active in 2016, with an impressive number of stunning, unique and exclusive properties changing hands. But don’t take my word for it,  I am inviting you to feast your eyes on the 10 priciest homes sold in the County this past year below.

First, however, let me put the market’s performance in 2016 in perspective as compared to the past few years. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I always like to look back at past years to help you better understand what today’s numbers truly mean.

After the 2008 market crash, the luxury market was pretty dismal and only 8 homes in the $5,000,000 and up price range sold in 2009. By 2012, the high end market had regained some momentum and there were 17 homes over $5,000,000 sold in 2012 and 15 in 2013. In 2014, the Marin County Luxury  Real Estate Market saw a large upswing in prices and the number of properties sold, with the number of homes over $5,000,000 more than doubling year over year, jumping from 15 in 2013 to 38.

Yet 2015 was the year when the luxury market really took off, riding the wave of the tech and economic boom in the San Francisco Bay Area, with 45 homes over $5,000,000 changing owners. 7 of these 45 sales were over $10,000,000, a first in Marin County!

2016 saw Marin’s luxury home sales cool down slightly, but not quite as much as San Francisco’s.  The Marin County entry level housing market experienced increasing activity while the upper end market softened a little. Across the board buyers were more cautious, and fewer multiple offers resulted from their more deliberate approach, resulting in a softening of prices.

It is interesting to note that Larkspur saw its first sale over $5,000,000 this year.

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Stay tuned for my very detailed 2016 Year in Review coming soon! In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions on any segment of the Marin market. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling a high end property or an entry level home, I am happy to help.

Now, as promised, enjoy the tour of the 10 most expensive homes sold in Marin in 2016. Please note the priciest one was sold off MLS.

1. 20 Glenwood Avenue, Ross

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Alyssa Taubman and Donna Goldman, Alain Pinel Realtors 

Sold off MLS for $15,000,000 or $1,171 per square foot. The 12,800 square foot 7 bedroom, 10 bath private estate was built in 1902 and sits on close to 2 level acres. It was owned by filmmaker, screenwriter, and actor Barry Levinson in the 1990’s.

2. 1860 Mountain View Drive, Tiburon 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Scott Woods, Bill Smith and Ann Aylwin, Pacific Union International

Sold for $13,000,000 or $2,889 per square foot. An icon of modern design, this recently completed 4,500 square foot, 4 bedroom 5 bath stunning home offers a prime location on a 1/2 acre with San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and Mt. Tam views. Presenting a masterful design with top of the line finishes, 11 foot ceilings,indoor-outdoor flow with Nana walls, decks and smart-home technology. Infinity pool, spa, outdoor shower, level lawn.

 

3. 185 Gilmartin Drive, Tiburon 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Bill Bullock and Lydia Sarkissian, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty. 

Sold for $12,000,000 or $867 per square foot. This gated, private, newly-refinished residence of 13,836 square feet offers a main house with 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 3 half baths, a recreation/media room, wine cellar, elevator, foyer with grand staircase, formal Living Room and Dining Room, library, kitchen/family area, master suite with lounge and fireplace. It also has a separate two level, 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths guest house has a kitchenette and a separate 1 bedroom 1 bath au-pair apartment. Beautiful curved pool, spa, sauna and steam room, tennis court, large level lawns, 4 car garage, 3 car carport & large motor court. Captivating views.

 

4. 68 Bridge Road, Ross 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Cj Spielman, Paragon Real Estate Group

Sold for $9,925,000 or $1,256 per square foot for $9,975,000. Owned by the legendary Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, the Bridge House, built in 1906 by Conrad Meussdorffer offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in an unparalleled setting on 2+ acres in the flats of Ross within a quick stroll to the coveted Ross K-8 school. Welcoming and warm, this 7,900 square foot, 7 bedroom gracious residence has been carefully updated to today’s standards yet remains respectful to the original design. Every window offers complete privacy and park like views of the gorgeous manicured grounds, and inviting swimming pool.

 

5. 266 Seadrift Road, Stinson Beach 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Sarah N. Butler and Gloria Smith, Oceanic Realty and Sotheby’s International Realty

Sold for $9,500,000 or $1,721 per square foot. A rare opportunity to own a spectacular beachfront home on 2 lots boasting spectacular views throughout of Pacific and City foothills. The courtyard is protected and offers views and an outdoor fireplace. The master suite wing also has a fireplace, outlooks, an office and an exercise room. The luxurious master bathroom features 2 vanities, a walk-in shower, walk-in closets. A truly rare offering of 2 prime beachfront lots that feature a 5,520 square foot stunning residence with uncommon privacy.

 

6. 108 Laurel Grove Avenue, Ross 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Tracy McLaughlin – Pacific Union International

Sold for $9,408,000 or $1,113 per square foot. Unrivaled 8,455 square foot Italianate Summer estate on 3 acres in the coveted flats of Ross! Completely renovated throughout! Extensive use of timeless designer finishes with all white marble kitchen & baths. The property offers great scale, a traditional floor plan (all 4 bedrooms up), a full guest house within the main house as well as a secondary detached 2 bedroom guest house! Private and quiet, yet just blocks from town and the K-8 school. Resort like with huge lawn, pool/spa, and entertaining areas.

 

7. 12 Upper Ames, Ross 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Tracy McLaughlin – Pacific Union International

Sold for $9,150,000  or $1,292 per square foot. Ultra-chic modern estate in the heart of Ross! The 7,082 square foot property has been completely restored with great scale, high ceilings, white marble, and a pleasing grey/white palette throughout! The home has been used extensively in print and commercial photo shoots.  5 bedroom main house + guest house+ pool house. Incredible resort like grounds with pool, spa, badminton, sport court, level lawns, and stunning views. Gated & private. In the flats just 2 blocks from school.

 

8. 133 Sugarloaf Drive, Tiburon 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Kouros Tavakoli, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

Sold for $9,100,000  or $1,222 per square foot. This magnificent gated estate set atop exclusive Mt.  Tiburon boasts ultra chic interiors and world class views that span the Golden Gate bridge to the San Francisco skyline. Luxury abides in this 7500 sq ft, 4 bedroom, 7 bathroom opulent home. A full spa, replete with European elegance, affords the discerning buyer a coveted lifestyle. A rooftop deck, shimmering pool and soaring fountains further enhance the appeal of this premier property.

 

9. 170 Laurel Grove Avenue, Ross 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Arrian Binnings and Payton Stiewe, Pacific Union International

Sold for $8,745,000  or $1,128 per square foot). 170 Laurel Grove is a 7,750 square foot magnificent gated estate with 5 buildings located on a very private parcel. Altogether, there are 7 bedrooms, 7 baths of which 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms are in the main house. There are two guest cottages accessed by hillavator, a totally renovated pool house, and a detached garage with a legal loft space above. The property features a huge sprawling lawn, a rare and highly desirable feature due to the local topography. Inside is a huge wow factor-must see!!

 

10. 296 Beach Road, Belvedere 

 

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Marin County's Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 - Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down?

Listed by Bill Smith and Ann Aylwin, Pacific Union International

Sold for $8,224,000 or $1,623 per square foot. Rare opportunity to own Landfall, a historic waterfront 5,066 square foot estate on Belvedere Island with generous deep-water dock and views of San Francisco Bay. Modern, yet character-filled amenities include 6 bedrooms plus au pair quarters, 5 full baths, gourmet kitchen, living and dining rooms, sun room, game/workout room and more. Grounds host lush gardens, patios and meandering paths with a two-car garage, workshop, shingled tool shed and hillside pergola.

 

Spring is right around the corner. If you are thinking of selling your home, it is not too early to start preparing it for market. I am happy to meet with you to discuss the best improvements to make to help you sell your home for the highest possible price.


About the Author: The article Marin County’s Luxury Real Estate Market in 2016 – Sizzling Hot or Cooling Down 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Welcome to my December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update!

HOW TO READ THIS REPORT: Read the section below for (1) 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 (2) The Big Picture and (3) my Marin County Market Statistics with Commentary including an analysis by individual community and price-point.

And remember, if you are planning on selling your home next spring, it is not too early to begin thinking about preparing your home for market. Stagers, painters, landscapers and other trade professionals get booked months in advance. I am happy to help you with all your preparations.

1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS

This is the time of year where many sellers take their home off the market to remain undisturbed through the holiday season. Those who keep their home on the market are often rewarded by offers from motivated buyers who wait for the best pricing and seek bargains when the weather and holiday hustle reduce the competition from other buyers, and serious and reasonable offers are well received.

There are also those buyers who are trying to close for tax purposes, and typically, there are some significant sales that happen in the latter part of the year and more specifically in December for tax reasons. However, this year may be different as there are speculations about favorable changes in tax codes and rates.

As is typical every year as a result of the seasonal slow down in November, every metric this November was substantially lower than the previous month’s.

Notable this year however is the significant drop in the number of new single family home listings in November, down to less than half of what it was in October, and down 30 percent compared to November 2015. The entire fall and winter season this year have been slower than last year’s, with the exception of a small spike of increased activity as we moved into October.

 

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

More than at any other time of the year, this typical slow down heading into the holidays makes comparing same month figures more accurate than month to month, and I have pulled stats going back several years to put this month’s numbers in perspective.

Let’s take a look at the major highlights for Single Family Homes in November. 

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

  • The average number of active listings decreased in November to 216 from 320 in October, and was 6 percent lower than November 2015’s number of 230, and the lowest in November in recent years. I have been feeling like a broken record over the past few years talking about our lack of inventory; the chart above illustrates how drastic the decline in the inventory of homes for sale has been.
  • The number of new listings dipped for the sixth month in a row in November, from 225 in June to 220 in July, 200 in August, 174 in September, 130 in October, and only 72 in November, 30 percent lower than in November 2015, and almost as low as December 2015 rock bottom number of 61 new listings. This year’s highest number of new listings was 294 in March. The chart above shows the decline in the number of new listings year over year, with this year’s November new listing number lower than half of November 2010’s number.
  • The number of sold properties decreased to 145 in November from 200 in October, but was just 10 sales short of the number of sales in November 2015. Yet this year we have seen an overall drop in the number of sales as market activity has been cooling off and inventory levels have remained historically low. While November had nearly the exact number of sales as November in the previous year, overall the number of sales is declining as we seem to be reaching a new level of price sensitivity by buyers and the limit of affordability. Comparing sales year-to-date, January through November, with the same period in previous years we see declining sales in the number of single family homes in Marin: 2014 at 2,216, 2015 at 2,089 and 2016 at 1,817. This is a drop of 18% in the last two years.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–dropped to 134 in November from 163 in October and was 9 percent lower than in November 2015.  
  • The percentage of homes in contract increased to 40 percent. 
  • The average sales price decreased to $1,312,000 from $1,515,000 in October and was 13 percent lower than in November 2015. Yet prices are well past the previous peak Median Sale Price of $1.2 million for Single Family Homes. It is important to note that average and median prices are trending a little lower this year overall in part because the high end luxury market is experiencing reduced activity: in the first three quarters of 2016 there was a 10% drop in home sales over $5 million and a 60% drop in homes sold over $10 million compared with the same period last year, which was a record year for home sales over $10 million.
  • The median sales price decreased by $150,000 from $1,200,000 in October to $1,050,000 in November. The Median Price can provide a clearer view of the changes over time, as it is not affected by individual sales at high price points as much as the average sales price.
  • The months supply of inventory (based on pended properties) stayed flat month over month at 1.6 months. Marin County Single Family Home inventory was up slightly in Q3 compared with the previous year and with the previous quarter, however, historically inventory is down considerably. From 2006 to 2011, inventory levels dropped nearly 70%, and have remained at this lower level since 2012 with the first quarter of 2016 at the lowest level in 10 years.

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. Let’s look at what is driving our market? Where are interest rates and where are they heading? How are the National Housing Market, the San Francisco Bay Area market, and how do they compare to our Marin market?

A. Economy/National Housing Market

By numbers alone the US economy is in good shape — a fact confirmed by several of this month’s economic reports. Personal Incomes rose 0.6%, the best monthly gain in a year. The commerce department reported the US economy grew by a healthy 3.2% during the third quarter, the best reading in two years. And the Unemployment Rate fell to 4.6% from 4.9%, the lowest reading since August 2007 (the month generally associated with the birth of the financial crisis).

Consumer sentiment increased to 98 in December 2016 from a final reading of 93.8 in November. It was the highest reading since January 2015, as consumers expected a positive impact of new economic policies following Donald Trump’s election. Consumer Confidence in the United States averaged 85.97 from 1952 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 111.40 in January of 2000 and a record low of 51.70 in May of 1980.

With respect to housing, by every measure, 2016 was a good year. More Americans recovered lost equity from the Great Recession and fewer investors competed with first-time home buyers for houses. Yes, affordability was reduced by increasing prices –nationwide the median price this October was 6% higher than in October 2015–, but if you’re a homeowner, appreciation is a good thing. With rising rents and low interest rates, many tenants decided to break their lease and sign a mortgage. First-time buyers returned to the market accounting for 35% of sales in October, the highest percentage since 2013.

The low housing inventory remained a challenge: inventory is currently down an average of 11 percent in the top 100 metros in the U.S. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors reports. Unsold inventory is now at a 4.3-month supply at the current sales pace; 5-6 months supply is typically considered to represent a balanced market.

But there is hope that the inventory picture will improve in the coming months as housing starts have ramped up in October, providing more choices for buyers and more moderate price growth. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist is hopeful that a prolonged continuation of the robust single-family starts pace seen in October would go a long way in giving homeowners nationwide much-needed assurance that they can list their home for sale and find a new home to buy within a reasonable time frame.

The 2017 National Association of Realtors’ National Housing Forecast is predicting the market to slow compared to the last two years, across the majority of economic indicators. Home prices are anticipated to increase 3.9 percent and existing home sales are expected to increase 1.9 percent to 5.46 million homes.

 

B. The San Francisco Bay Area’s Housing Market

 

Bay Area real estate markets barely cracked the first half of those projected for the most growth next year, with San Francisco at No. 37 and San Jose at No. 39. But it isn’t expected home price gains that prevented the Bay Area from ranking higher; San Francisco’s forecast 8.41 percent growth is the highest in the nation, followed closely by San Jose at 8.26 percent. Rather, it is projected sales growth, which is among the nation’s lowest — 1.17 percent in San Francisco and 1.26 percent in San Jose.

And yes, you guessed it, continued tight inventory conditions are a major factor contributing to the Bay Area’s sluggish sales forecast.

Remember that while housing starts are up in the rest of the country, in the Bay Area, and particularly in Marin County, we are not experiencing the same increase in our housing stock through new construction. In Marin County, our no growth policy is preserving our open space and strictly controlling new construction. 

 

C. Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates rose sharply just after the Presidential Election, to the highest point in two years–back above 4% for the first time since 2015–, and those rates are expected to continue to trend upward.

In a recent interview with CNBC, New York federal bank president William Dudley, who along with his colleagues decided this week to raise the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate, spoke about what’s driving the markets.

“What we’ve seen post-election is bond yields up, equity market up, dollar firmer,” he said. “My judgment is that it seems to be that what people are factoring in is [the] likelihood of more fiscal stimulus and reduced downside risk to the economy.”

What does the increase in the Fed’s rate mean for you? Mortgage interest rates will not be immediately affected, but on the other hand if you owe credit card debt, you will probably pay more in interest and if you have a Home Equity Line of Credit, you will likely see your payment increase.

The Fed is expected to raise rates a few more times next year. Most experts agree that the days of historically low-interest rates are over. Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.6% in 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, that doesn’t mean the housing market will go bust, even though affordability will be affected by the increase. Now, adjustable rate mortgages will become a viable option. Word to the wise: Lock-in your rate now.

 

3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY 

Number of Homes Sold

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Average Price Sold

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

In Contract by Area

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Sales by Area

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Sales by Price Point

December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading my December 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Report. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. 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.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

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.


Sylvie Zolezzi www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author: The article December 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.

 

 


November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Welcome to my November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update!

HOW TO READ THIS REPORT: Read the section below for (1) 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 (2) The Big Picture and (3) my Marin County Market Statistics with Commentary including an analysis by individual community and price-point.

1. MARIN COUNTY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS

October was relatively strong for our Marin County real estate market, after a surprisingly low September, with an increase in sales, reflecting high buyer engagement in September, and a mild increase in both the Average Sales Price and the Median Sales Price.

2016-11-12_16-00-28

Yet, we are continuing to witness normalizing market conditions, with an improved balance between buyers (fewer multiple offers) and sellers (longer days on market, more price reductions), and more stable sales prices with more moderate increases . Comparing the January through October year-to-date Single Family Home Median Sales Price appreciation for the past couple of years, we notice a definite slowing down with the Median Sales Price at $1,000,500 in 2014, increasing by 10% to $1,100,000 in 2015 and by only 8% year-to-date to $1,200,000.

As I reported in my October Market Report, while it is typically the beginning of the second busiest time of the year for our real estate market in Marin County, September was slower than expected, especially in terms of new listings. The combination of a limited inventory to start with at the beginning of October, a very low level of new listings coming on the market in both September and October, and a high number of sales during the month of October has resulted in the lowest level of inventory of homes for sales we’ve seen since April. As we are approaching the Holidays, the market is slowing down even more. Inventory is continuing to whittle away –a great challenge for buyers house hunting –compensated by the lower level of competition they are facing.

Let’s take a look at the major highlights for Single Family Homes in October, paying close attention to the year over year comparisons.

sylvies-market-snapshot

  • The average number of active listings decreased in October to 320 from 370 in September, and was 4 percent lower than October 2015’s number of 335.
  • The number of new listings dipped for the fifth month in a row from 225 in June to 220 in July, 200 in August, 174 in September and only 130 in October, 26 percent lower than in October 2015. This year’s highest number of new listings was 294 in March.
  • The number of sold properties increased to 196 in October from 139  in September, and was close to the number of properties sold last October. Yet this year we have seen an overall drop in the number of sales as market activity cools off and inventory levels have been historically low. While October had nearly the exact number of sales as the previous year, overall the number of sales is declining as we seem to be reaching a new level of price sensitivity by buyers and the limit of affordability. Comparing sales year-to-date, January through October, with the same period in previous years we see declining sales in units: 2014 at 2,040, 2015 at 1,938 and 2016 at 1,671 single family home sales in Marin. This is a drop of 18% in the last two years.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–dropped to 169 in October from 218 in September and was 20 percent lower than in October 2015.  
  • The percentage of homes in contract increased to 38 percent. 
  • The average sales price increased to $1,530,000 from $1,380,000 in September thanks to several high end sales, but was 6 percent lower than in September 2015. Yet prices are well past the previous peak Median Sale Price of $1.2 million for Single Family Homes. It is important to note that average and median prices are trending a little lower this year overall because the high end luxury market is experiencing reduced activity: in the first three quarters of 2016 there was a 10% drop in home sales over $5 million and a 60% drop in homes sold over $10 million compared with the same period last year, which was a record year for home sales over $10 million. In October, Decker Bullock International Realty represented the highest sale in Marin: 21 Gilmartin Drive, which sold for $6,500,000.
  • The median sales price increased by $34,000 from $1,188,000 in September to $1,222,000 in October. But it was essentially flat compared to last year. The Median Price can provide a clearer view of the changes over time, as it is not affected by individual sales at high price points as much as the average sales price.
  • The months supply of inventory (based on pended properties) increased to 1.9 months from 1.7 months in August and increased 19 percent compared to 1.6 months in October 2015. Marin County Single Family Home inventory was up slightly in Q3 compared with the previous year and with the previous quarter, however, historically inventory is down considerably. From 2006 to 2011, inventory levels dropped nearly 70%, and have remained at this lower level since 2012 with the first quarter of 2016 at the lowest level in 10 years.
  • The luxury markets of Belvedere, Kentfield, and Larkspur each saw an increase in median sale prices, the most significant being Kentfield with a 52% increase. Larkspur saw a jump in activity with seven single family homes sold compared to four last October, and a 31% increase in median sales price, thanks to two high sales at $3,400,000 and $4,900,000.

 

2. THE BIG PICTURE

While it is important to remember that real estate values are hyperlocal 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. Let’s look at 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?

November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

A note about the elections. I don’t know about you, but I reached the point of political exhaustion and saturation last week in a big way. This doesn’t mean I don’t empathize with those feeling “heartbroken,” “stunned,” “shocked,” by the outcome, or do not understand the joy of those who supported Trump, but right now I find myself glossing over Facebook/Twitter rants and avoiding certain conversations because they’re bound to lead to arguments. A lot of people are still recovering from the highly emotional past few days. The financial markets are still processing the effects that President-elect Donald Trump will have when he officially takes office in January. It is is impossible, until the dust settles, to predict with any kind of certainty what Trump’s election is going to mean for all of us on a personal basis, and how it will impact the economy, the housing market and interest rates. The track record for predicting the elections’ outcome does not bode well for predicting the future, so let’s focus on what we know today:

A. Post Election: The Stock Market

In a stunning reversal that surprised everyone, after trending down on Tuesday, November 8, the market rallied on Wednesday and in the following days. It started with President-Elect Donald Trump’s victory speech. His more conciliatory and gracious tone, pledge to work together with, and unite, all Americans suggested that he would significantly moderate his extreme positions. Furthermore, with the republican sweep of the White House and Congress, the hope is that the government will break the current gridlock over national policy. Stocks are also benefiting because investors feel a Trump Presidency will be more business friendly with tax cuts, deregulation, and higher defense spending.

interest-rates

B. Interest Rates

Popular expectations were that a Trump victory would help bond markets (i.e. lower rates) and hurt stocks, but, like with the election itself, the unexpected happened. Rates jumped from 3.38% on Tuesday, November 8 to 3.8% on Monday, November 14. Wow!

“Following the election, mortgage rates saw their biggest week over week increase since the “taper tantrum” in June 2013, and reached their highest level since January of this year,” said David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Banker Association. “Investor expectations of faster growth and higher inflation are driving the jump up in rates…”

It’s worth noting that usually an unexpected event causes a “flight to safety” of government debt, pushing yields down. That the opposite occurred reflects fears that the deficit might balloon and inflation could become rampant.

As for a December rate hike by the Fed? What seemed like a sure-thing before is now the topic of much uncertainty.

To keep it all in perspective, it is important to remember that the average interest rate on a 30-year loan over the past 38 years has been approximately 7%. Today’s 30-year rates are in the high 3’s or low 4’s.

Quick Economics Review: How does “inflation” impact Bonds and Interest Rates? 

Inflation is the rising prices of goods and services over time. Rising prices erode the purchasing power of a bond’s fixed future interest payment.

For example let’s say a ten-year bond pays $1000 every six months.  Inflation (rising prices) means that $1000 will buy less five years from now. When investors worry that a bond’s yield won’t keep up with the rising cost of inflation, the price of the bond drops because there is less investor demand for that bond and the yield (interest rate) moves up to attract investor interest.

C. The Housing Market

 

November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Housing experts are very divided in their opinions of what the Trump election will mean for the housing market, and the economy overall.

All agree that housing was a topic that was definitely absent from both campaigns. But perhaps that is what is dividing this market even more: no one really knows what a Trump presidency means, or what he will do when it comes to the housing industry. He has hinted at favoring deregulation (dismantling Dodd-Frank) over controlling supply-side policies, but no one knows what path he will actually follow.

The main trends to watch on a national basis are the change in income distribution as they shift the demand for housing (think first time home buyers being priced out the market), the rising cost of land and the land use restrictions restricting the supply of more-affordable housing in richer states and communities (sound familiar?). No analysis of the future housing market is complete without considering them.

“It is critical that President Trump focus on three main areas – ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing, bringing first time home buyers back into the housing market and ensuring certainty in regulations,” MBA President and CEO David Stevens said.

For more information, read this HousingWire.com article.

We will keep a close eye on what develops in the coming year…

 

D. San Francisco Market Update 

The San Francisco market continues with its normalizing trend, with price appreciation (2.5% year over year increase in sales price in September) and the increase in the number of sales (5.1% year over year) slowing down. While there has been a buildup of luxury inventory in San Francisco, mostly newly constructed luxury condominiums, the lack of affordable housing continues to be a big issue. As the high performing tech industry continues to fuel high employment in the Bay Area, demand remains strong for housing in the City where the young tech employees want to be.

Here is a snapshot of the San Francisco Single Family Home market for September 2016 from the California Association of REALTORS.

November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

 

3. MARIN MARKET STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY 

Number of Homes Sold

chart4-v2

Average Price Sold

Sept16-MarinAveragePriceSold

 

In Contract by Area

Greenbrae sales are the highest relative to the inventory, and in October, every home was in contract. In contrast, no Ross homes were in contract although there were 9 available. The next most active market was Novato (59%), then Larkspur (56%). The number In Contract in San Anselmo and Kentfield increased from last month to 39% and 33%, respectively. Tiburon, Sausalito and Ross saw decreases with Corte Madera exhibiting the greatest decrease, at 33%, down from 62% in September.

Oct16-MarinContractbyArea

Sales by Area and Price Point

San Rafael, Novato and Mill Valley continue to see the highest Number of Homes Sold at 52, 37 and 26, respectively, all of which are above September levels. Average Days On Market ranged from a swift 12 in Stinson Beach, to 211 in Belvedere. The majority of homes available were between $1-2 million. Under $1 million the Months of Inventory is lowest. There were a total of 29 homes available over $5 million; we represented the only two sales in that price point.chart7-v2

chart8-v2

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading my November 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Report. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. 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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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.


Sylvie Zolezzi www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author: The article November 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.

 

 

 

 

http://www.yourpieceofmarin.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/View-from-Rock-HIll-Road.jpg

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Welcome to my October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update! With the first three quarters of the year behind us, we can look back at our market’s performance as compared to last year at the same time. September, typically the beginning of the second busiest time of the year for our real estate market in Marin County, has been slower than expected in terms of new listings and sales. Read on to find out what is happening.

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.

 

OCTOBER 2016 MARIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE

Monthly figures below show a drop in all metrics with the exception of the number of available properties and the percentage of homes in contract from the previous month.

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Why more homes available for sale? Despite a brisk start, the month of September did not see as large a crop of new listings as anticipated. On the contrary, instead of the typical seasonal increase of new listings in September after the slower summer months, we saw a decrease in new listings from August to September of 13 percent and a decrease in the number of sales. As I mentioned it in my September 2016 and August 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update at even more length, it appears that the market is stabilizing and we are definitely seeing a plateau, especially in the high end market segment (above $2 million).

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

Let’s take a look at the major highlights for Single Family Homes in September, paying close attention to the year over year comparisons.

  • The average number of active listings increased slightly in September to 370 from 350 in August, but was 7 percent lower than September 2015’s number of 398.
  • The number of new listings dipped for the fourth month in a row from 225 in June to 220 in July, 200 in August and 174 in September, 33 percent lower than in September 2015. This year’s highest number of new listings was 294 in March. In comparison, in 2015 the number of new listings increased from 209 in August to 260 in September.
  • The number of sold properties decreased to 139  in September from 174 in August, and was 23 percent lower than in September 2015. This year we have seen an overall drop in the number of sales as the market activity cools: the number of sales from January through September of 2016 is down 15% from the same period last year.
  • The number of pended properties (or properties in contract)–the most accurate indicator of how the market is performing right now–jumped to 218 in September from 153 in August, and was 12 percent higher than in September 2015.  
  • The percentage of homes in contract increased to 37 percent. 
  • The average sales price decreased to $1,380,000 from $1,480,000 in August, and was 7 percent lower than in September 2015. Yet prices are well past the previous peak Median Sale Price of $1.2 million for Single Family Homes. It is important to note that average and median prices are trending a little lower this years because the high end luxury market is experiencing reduced activity: in the first three quarters of 2016 there was a 10% drop in home sales over $5 million and a 60% drop in homes sold over $10 million compared with the same period last year, which was a record year for home sales over $10 million.
  • The median sales price remained essentially flat, just decreasing $2,000 from $1,200,000 in August to $1,188,000 in September. But it was up year over year.
  • The months supply of inventory (based on pended properties) dropped to 1.7 months from 2 months in August and decreased 23 percent compared to 2.2 months in September 2015. Marin County Single Family Home inventory was up slightly in Q3 compared with the previous year and with the previous quarter, however, historically inventory is down considerably. From 2006 to 2011, inventory levels dropped nearly 70%, and have remained at this lower level since 2012 with the first quarter of 2016 at the lowest level in 10 years.
  • While 63% of US major metro areas had decreasing affordability, Marin was one of the 37% that improved compared with the previous year, according to ATTOM Data Solutions Affordability Index. The index is based on the average wage data and median home payments which factors in mortgage interest rates. This is a function of wage increases, low mortgage interest rates and slowing price appreciation.

Why does the inventory of homes for sale continue to be so constrained? Sellers remain skittish about putting their homes on the market for multiple reasons. I had written an article about the 10 Reasons for Low Housing Inventory in Marin County back in 2015 and all the factors I mentioned in my article then are still at play today. Long-time homeowners are not moving because they are enjoying a low rate on their current mortgage, low property taxes and do not want to pay capital gains taxes. They are wondering where they can afford to move. Could they qualify for a mortgage today? Will they be able to find a desirable and reasonably priced home once they sell, and will they be able to compete with all cash or non-contingent offers. Continue reading for further analysis of this phenomenon in the Big Picture below. As the inventory of homes for sale has gotten increasingly more limited, we have even more of a self perpetuating situation, with lower inventory begetting increasingly lower inventory, and further reducing the move-up or down-size opportunities.

Despite the decreased level of inventory, the number of properties that went in contract jumped from the previous month, and was also higher year over year, a testimony to the fact that demand remains high.

A word of caution to sellers however: despite inventory being low, buyers have become increasingly picky about price this year. If the price isn’t right, they won’t make an offer. Some sellers haven’t fully embraced this yet, but it’s very real. Even with inventory levels at their lowest levels in 10 years, buyers are being cautious: as our average sales price has climbed to 13 percent over the peak level of 2007 in Marin County, buyers want to avoid overpaying as they did a decade ago. Keep in mind also that today’s buyer is much more informed about prices and values thanks to all the information available at their fingertip on line on sites such as Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, etc…

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
Fixer Upper Kitchen – Courtesy of HGTV

In addition to price, buyers are exhibiting an increased sensitivity to adverse location and properties who are not in pristine condition. I am also finding that presentation is more and more important as well: as Pinterest, home decorating blogs and HGTV shows are increasingly popular, buyers are becoming more finicky and expecting the latest designs when shopping for a home, including Pinterest-worthy design: white marble counter tops, farmhouse tables, and, of course, the iconic use of ship-lap. Fixer Upper is the number one cable show in its time slot among viewers aged 25 to 54 and Joanna Gaines has become the younger, sexier Martha Stewart of our time.

 

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
A bridge loan is one of the tools sellers can use to help transition into a new property.

What’s a seller, or buyer to do? That being said, because demand remains high–especially in the lower and mid-range price–there are great opportunities for both buyers and sellers even as they face the real challenges resulting from low inventory. If you are thinking of selling, there are creative ways to help you transition to your new home without having to write an offer contingent on the sale of your property such as using bridge loans, home equity loans, or other lines of credit and/or negotiating a rent back so that you can stay in your property after close of escrow. Worried about having to pay much higher property taxes, if you are over 55, you can transfer your existing property tax thanks to Propositions 60/90. If you are thinking of buying, you can still take advantage of historically low interest rates and win in multiple offers by offering sellers attractive terms beyond price. The market has cooled off, and is less competitive than in 2015, and even last spring. Sales prices have leveled off as well. I would be happy to discuss the best options available to you whether you are a seller or buyer, or both.

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

  • Consumer confidence increased in September for a second consecutive month and is now at its highest level since the recession. The Index now stands at 104.1 (1985=100), up from 101.8 in August.
  • Despite the increased consumer confidence, I am seeing a lot uncertainty, and several sellers have told me that they want to wait until after the November 8 presidential elections to sell. Buyers are equally fidgety. Brexit’s bad aftertaste is still very fresh in the mind of many people.
  • The Fed held off again on hiking interest rates. See you in December, after the elections? In the meantime, rates remain at historically low levels, in the 3’s and are FLAT compared to last week, UP compared to last month and DOWN compared to one year ago.

Rate Trend – RPM Mortgage – October 21, 2016 
30-Year Fixed Conforming: 3.625%
30-Year Fixed Conf-Jumbo: 3.750%
30-Year Fixed Jumbo:  3.625%
7/1 ARM Jumbo:  3.125%
FHA 30-Year Fixed: 3.500%
(All pricing above at 0 points. For reference and for real estate professionals only.  Your actual rate, payment and costs could be higher.  Get an official loan estimate before choosing a loan.)

2. National, California and San Francisco Bay Area Market Trends

Nationally:

  • Existing-home sales rose 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million homes sold in September, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s 0.6% higher than the same time last year.
  • The Northeast led all regions posting a 5.7% increase in existing-home sales. In the West, existing-home sales spiked 5%, as prices soared 8%.
  • September marked the highest level of first-time home buyer activity in more than four years at 34 percent of existing home sales, according to NAR.  This is great news because first-time buyers help existing homeowners move-up. The housing cycle — the health of the housing market — depends on new buyers entering the market at a steady clip.
  • “The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the home-ownership rate,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist, NAR.

In California:

  • In  her 2017 California Housing Market Forecast,  Leslie Appleton Young, Chief Economist of the California Association of Realtors reported that the median price of single family homes was $526,580 in August, the highest since 2007 when it peaked in May at $597,580. The bottom was reached in February 2009 when it fell to $245,230.
  • She predicts that, following a dip in home sales in 2016, California’s housing market will post a nominal increase in 2017, as supply shortages and affordability constraints hamper market activity.
  • We are witnessing two distinct trends with the high-end market slowing compared to last year, while the low and moderate market is experiencing continued unabated demand.
  • Millennials are leaving the nest as job opportunities expand.
  • The percentage of first time buyers in California is lower than the national average and, at 29.5 percent, remains below the long-run average since 2005 of 38 percent.
  • Listings and new units remain low.
  • Affordability remains a challenge for first time and repeat buyers.
  • Baby boomers aren’t moving.
  • Fewer housing units are being turned over since the Great Recession of 2007, and the number of years home owners stay in their home before selling has increased to 10 in 2015 and 2016 from a low of five years in 2008 and 2009.
  • Many homeowners are opting to remodel their home rather than move up.

 

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

San Francisco Bay Area: 

California’s tightest inventory has been in the San Francisco Bay Area during our market recovery, with supply most constrained in the more affordable price range. No wonder: as the US economic and job growth are expanding, the San Francisco Bay Area economy has been out-performing the nation’s, with Silicon Valley leading in job growth in California. This has been the driver in the whopping demand for homes in San Francisco, as most Millenials who work in Silicon Valley want to live in San Francisco. As a result, the imbalance between demand and supply shortages has dramatically reduced affordability.

However, with a new wave of more affordable homes coming on the market, supply constraints seem to ebb. The San Francisco Chronicle reported in a recent article that “the number of properties listed for under a million dollars in the city is the highest right now since the fourth quarter of 2012.” There is also a glut of brand new luxury condominiums.

This increase in supply has resulted in less hectic market conditions these past few months and helped ease the crunch somewhat this summer in San Francisco.

I believe affordability remains the main issue.  CAR President Pat Zicarelli  is predicting that “[t]he San Francisco Bay Area will experience a decline as home buyers migrate to peripheral cities with more affordable options.”

 

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
601 Nevada Street, Sausalito – Offered at $939,000 – Photo courtesy of Decker Bullock Sotheby’s Intl. Realty

While you may not think of Marin County as affordable, it is relatively more affordable than San Francisco and attracting first time home buyers looking for better values. Case in point: while hosting an open house for a two bedroom two bath home priced at $939,000 yesterday in Sausalito (see photo above), I met several young couples from the city. Typically young families who move to Marin from San Francisco have (or are about to have) young children and are attracted by our award winning schools. However, these young couples did not have children; they told me they were attracted by the better value Marin offers: more space and more amenities than they can buy for the same price in San Francisco.

 

MARIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET INTELLIGENCE – SEPTEMBER 2016 DATA IN DETAIL

Average Active and Sold Price

 

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Number Active and Sold

Inventory in Marin County tightened again in September for a three-month downward trend since June, with 347 single family Homes for Sale, compared to 367 in August. The Number of Homes Sold in September also decreased, from 174 in August to 139. Single family home sales in September remain significantly lower compared to the same month last year, by 65 units.

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Homes in Contract by Area

Corte Madera led Marin County in September for the highest percentage of single family Homes in Contract at 62%, followed by Greenbrae (60%) and Novato (49%). San Rafael and West Marin both saw increases of single family Homes in Contract, while Belvedere, Tiburon, Sausalito, Kentfield and Ross saw slight decreases. Larkspur had the greatest increase, at 40%, up from 25% in August.

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

Home Sales in Marin 

Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley continue to see the highest Number of Homes Sold at 35, 26 and 23, respectively, though Novato and San Rafael are under August levels. Average Days On Market ranged from a rapid 24 in Corte Madera, to 93 in Belvedere.

October 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.


Sylvie Zolezzi www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout the Author: The article October 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.

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September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
16 Sunny Drive, San Anselmo – Photo Courtesy of Pacific Union Intl.

 

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.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update
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.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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

August 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Report

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.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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%.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

 

September 2016 Marin County Real Estate Market Update

 

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.

 


Sylvie Zolezzi www.YourPieceofMarin.comAbout 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.