Mill Valley Public Library A Hoot!

February 21, 2009

Moreover, Owliver does not pipe down when shushed by staff and has proven to be a somewhat messy guest by leaving droppings wherever it wants.  Because the bird has taken to snatching pencils from the children’s room, there is some concern for its safety as it apparently was trying to build a nest with them. My suspicion is that if Owliver could speak, it would ask “Please sir, can I have another.”

Marin Luxury Real Estate (February 2009)

February 14, 2009

Over the past few months, notable slowing of the luxury real estate market was apparent nationwide, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Marin County. This past month a slight up-tick has emerged in the Marin market as the number of homes in escrow has increased and buyer enthusiasm is improved. Open houses have been busy. Offers are being written. And agents who work the luxury market are noting a more focused approach by buyers. Meanwhile, the national numbers are generally flat or declining. For a detailed accounting of national trends, click here for the February 2009 Market Report from Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Note, if you would like a similar report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail me and I will send you a pdf of the report(s)–it is my pleasure to be of service.

[Click here for the rest of the report, courtesy of]

Marin Real Estate (February 2009)

February 13, 2009

As of this writing, the Stimulus Bill and its apparently watered down home buyer tax credit is being finalized. Yet economists and consumers are grim. Ergo, the Marin County, California real estate market continues its slow and steady march into the teeth of a tireless media storm of negativity. Yes, the market overall is fairly slow, but not as slow as it may appear. Sales in Northern Marin’s Novato were up 30% January 2009 over January 2008–as I like to say, “Give Yourself a Raise–Move to Novato!”

Obviously, the more stringent underwriting policies of lenders are stifling demand. In addition, I am quite aware that some home buyers are continuing to wait for the perceived bottom, despite the FACT that interest rates are as low as could be realistically expected and prices in many Marin communities and neighborhoods have receded to 2003 or 2004 price levels. As evidenced by frenzied investor activity, particularly in Novato, there is definite traction at the low end. And once prices stabilize at the low end, the rippling effect upwards will follow.

[click here for the rest of this article, courtesy of].

Mill Valley Real Estate Market Report (February 2009 Home Sales Update)

February 12, 2009

Mill Valley real estate is strangely out of sync. Those who read my reports regularly will note that recent months have seen buyers make a concerted downshift. It seems that buyers have shifted into first gear (and I apologize in advance, but you are going to need to reconcile metaphors here) and are taking a few pitches in order to gauge the market. While it is looking like there may be an nominally better tax break in the Stimulus Bill, reports indicate we will not see a $15K tax credit. Whatever happens though, I sense that with the elimination of all the uncertainty regarding what the government is planning to do, we will then gather some traction. I know lots of folks are sitting on the sidelines waiting for the “right time” to buy. They will make their move this year as attractively priced new inventory drives the market.

While some buyers believe prices may slip a bit more, most appreciate the fact that interest rates have never, ever been lower (we are back down to 4.75% conforming rates this week). Indeed, mortgage math punishes those who don’t lock in at the lowest rate possible. For example, if prices dip another 5% and interest rates go up just 1%, the monthly payment would increase.

Up just a bit from January 2009, the percentage of homes in escrow under $800,000 rose to 40% (it had been as low as 15% in November). Overall, we currently have enough homes to last 6 months in Mill Valley (this is called the absorption rate). However, if you limit that analysis to homes priced under $1 million, our absorption rate drops to just 3.75 months. Overall, Mill Valley saw an increase in the number of homes for sale (77). Just 3 “bead and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) are currently under contract (there were 7 in escrow last month). Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) continues its long hibernation–a mere one luxury home has an accepted offer in place and just one home in this price band sold last month.

Speaking of sales, we saw 12 Mill Valley home sales close escrow in January 2009. They averaged 148 days on the market and sold for an average price of about $986,000 with about 1,844 sq. ft. (or about $518 per sq. ft). The numbers from January reflect the fact that 8 of the 12 sales were priced under $1 million (in Mill Valley, these are generally entry level homes). Homes in Strawberry, Sycamore Park, Middle Ridge, and Sunnyside continue to be in low supply and high demand. If you would like more information about neighborhoods, sales, schools, or local Mill Valley services references, just give me a call at (415) 350-9440 or e-mail me at It is always my pleasure to be of service.