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

April 16, 2009

Readers of my monthly reports on Mill Valley, CA. are well aware of my love for Mill Valley. They are also among the most informed consumers of Marin real estate (why else would they be reading my blog?). As such, despite my bias favoring Mill Valley, these consumers KNOW that Mill Valley presents serious value — right here, right now. This is true for every price band. 

Here are some numbers to contemplate: (1) just eleven homes sold in Mill Valley last month — a slow market; (2) of the eleven homes that sold, four were priced under $800K; (3) the bread-and-butter price band is experiencing an abysmal 8% to 13% escrow rate; (4) the current absorption rate (AR) for homes in Mill Valley’s sweet spot (homes priced between $1 million and $2 million) is an amazingly high 17.25 months. 

Note to buyers: write offers! A closed mouth does not get fed. Ask and you shall receive. Life happens and people have to sell their homes. Last night on Larry King, Donald Trump said that he has never seen a window of opportunity like this one and that this is the best time to buy real estate he has ever seen. Whatever you think of the source, can you really disagree? Don’t have a down payment? If not, do what it takes and put one together. Interest rates will shoot up at some point, evaporating affordability.

If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, call or e-mail me: (415) 350-9440 |  

For several months my Mill Valley, CA, real estate report has noted that the market “is strangely out of sync,” buyers “are taking a few pitches to see what happens,” and I have also aired my suspicions about “undercover buyers” who are ready to buy and want to buy the “right” home. More than ever, I believe this is all true. And all I can say is “write offers.” 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

As evidenced by the above graph, The median price per square foot has dipped to about $625 per sq. ft. (which is down from well over $800 in mid-2007). While some buyers believe prices may slip a bit more, as noted above, most appreciate the fact that interest rates are very appealing. Indeed, mortgage math punishes those who don’t lock in at or near the lowest rate possible. For example, if prices dip another 5% and interest rates go up just 1%, the monthly payment would increase rather significantly for an $800K home with 20% down (call me for exact numbers relating to a given situation). 

Down from March 2009, the percentage of homes in escrow under $800,000 slipped to 26% (it had been as low as 15% in November 2008). I have a fixer listed in Homestead Valley that is a super value play (3 Beds/3 Baths, 14,000 sq. ft. lot backing Molino Park).

Based on last month’s sales total of eleven, we currently have an overall inventory of homes (AR) sufficient to last about 12 months in Mill Valley, CA.  Overall, the number of homes for sale rose to 122 (way up from 90 a month ago). The number of “bead and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) currently in escrow is a mere 9 — (which is low, but there were just 3 in escrow in February 2009). Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up remains drowsy — just a single luxury home closed last month, but there are three currently in escrow. 

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $750K

14 (up 6)


$750K – $1 mil.

20 (down 7)


$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

40 (up 7)


$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

22 (up 7)


$2 mil. – $4 mil.

21 (up 2)


$4 mil. & Up

4 (up 1) 


Of the 11 sales to close escrow in March 2009, they averaged 119 days on the market and sold for an average price of about $1.25 million with about 2,047 sq. ft. (or about $645 per sq. ft.). Homes in Homestead Valley, Sycamore Park, Middle Ridge, and Strawberry generated the most calls this month. 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.

p.s. I currently have a couple potential sellers waiting in the wings with homes not on the MLS, please contact me to determine if any of these opportunities fit your needs.