Marin Real Estate Trends (December 2008)

December 15, 2008

Insofar as Marin County goes, the holiday season is not traditionally an active time for home sales–this year is no exception. Inventory is down to 607 homes for sale (we had about 716 last month). Although reports of multiple offers continue–especially on well-priced bank owned properties in Novato–even the foreclosures are sometimes taking a long while meandering to a close. Despite the ongoing financial crisis, interest rates are very attractive and they are being pushed down further for those that qualify. I do feel that there is a large level of pent-up demand that will expose itself in the new year. But, until then, enjoy your families, your friends, and the holidays.

Marin Luxury Homes (December 2008)

December 15, 2008

Ponzi schemes, equity markets, banking woes, mounting unemployment, diminished home values and equity, generalized fear, and a palpable spending paralysis continue to weigh down and negatively impact luxury real estate sales in Marin County, California. I struggle to find the appropriate adjective to describe Marin County’s current luxury home market. Torpid? Sluggish? Drowsing? You get the idea. The same holds true nationwide as caution and prudence carry the day.

There are 85 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million. As predicted in last month’s update, November sales slowed significantly following the mid-September meltdown in the financial sector–there were only 5 sales (down from 19 in October). Each of the following cities or towns had one sale: Mill Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon, Belvedere, and Kentfield. The average days on market for the homes that sold was 80 days and the average sales price was just over $2.58 million (roughly $849 per square foot), with an average of 3,209 square feet. Belvedere and Tiburon have 5 and 3 homes, respectively, currently in escrow.

The inventory level in Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) has again dropped precipitously (as is common this time of year). There are now 34 active listings, compared with 49 in November. Belvedere and Tiburon provide a large percentage of our ultra-luxury homes. Other cities / towns with homes in this price band include Kentfield, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, San Rafael, and Novato. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no sales last month (we can usually expect at least 3 sales per month during the slow season). Further underscoring the pervasive caution gripping buyers, we currently have no ultra-luxury homes in escrow.

Mill Valley Real Estate Market Report (December 2008 Home Sales Update)

December 12, 2008

To avoid sounding like a Pollyanna, this month’s Mill Valley market report is brief and restrained; necessarily so–sales numbers are down in the wake of the September meltdown in the equity markets. Clearly, the Mill Valley real estate market favors buyers. The “undercover buyers” (e.g., financially stable people waiting for the “right time” to buy) are not writing offers despite the delicious variety of choices. Continuing a trend first noted in my September 2008 market report, the percentage of entry level homes in escrow is down to 15% (it was 53% in July 2008). Supply has dwindled to just 79 homes for sale in Mill Valley and just 8 “bread and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) are in escrow. Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) continues hibernating–zero luxury homes are in escrow. Perhaps this is an excellent environment for portfolio buyers? Yet, the approaching holidays bring hope. And the New Year brings more hope.

Mill Valley homes that sold during November 2008 (there were 14) averaged 104 days on the market and sold for an average price of about $1.3 million. They averaged about 2,080 sq. ft. (or about $661 per sq. ft).

Homes in Boyle Park, Middle Ridge, Sycamore Park continue to be in low supply and high demand. If you would like more information about neighborhoods, sales, or local references, just give me a call at (415) 350-9440 or e-mail me at It is always my pleasure to be of service.