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

December 17, 2009

The number of home sales in the Mill Valley, California real estate market rose 20% in November 2009 — that is a total of 24 listings sold. Based on last month’s total, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last 3.1 months (significantly lower than last month) — this is called the absorption rate. This is a HUGE reduction from the absorption rate from May 2009, which stood at well over 8 months. Indeed, the number of homes for sale in Mill Valley is a very low 75, typical for this time of year. Meanwhile, asking prices have seemed to stiffen over the past quarter. The graph below tracks asking prices; the average price per square foot for homes currently on the market is rising — approximately $622 per square foot. It remains to be seen whether this rise will translate into higher sales prices.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

While the number of homes in escrow is down from last month, that is typical this time of year as buyers and sellers alike are focused on surviving the holiday season. We still think there are many real buyers out there who have been waiting for “a sign” to buy — we don’t know what that sign will be (there are likely to be many “signs”), but we feel it will likely come soon. Numerous newspaper articles have run recently, pointing to the exceptional opportunities out there right now for buyers — indeed, we are starting to hear investors talk about “flipping” homes again!

In fact, the percentage of homes in escrow remains strong at 44% in the lowest price band (under $800,000). This indicates that Mill Valley’s low end market is competitive and that fact bodes well. In Novato, for example, we believe the bottom began to form in April and May 2009 when the low end market began to see escrow ratios over 50% (Novato’s entry level price band has since reached over 80% of homes in escrow in what has become a very tight market). Since then, Novato’s overall market has become increasingly hotter across all price bands. I believe if Mill Valley follows suit, we will see a marked increase in sales over the next few months, particularly if San Francisco firms begin providing bonuses again in the New Year (Click HERE). Remember, last year, there were no bonuses and as a result (at least in part), we had a flat-lining market for the first 5 months of the year.

Below is a graph detailing the number of homes in escrow in each price band:

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

10 (down 5)


$800K – $1 mil.

13 (no change)


$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

20 (down 11)


$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

13 (down 6)


$2 mil. & Up

17 (down 11)


Mill Valley’s 24 sales in November 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 104 days on the market; an average price of $1,252,958; and about 2,205 sq. ft. (or about $553 per sq. ft.).

Homes in Tam Valley, Strawberry, Sycamore Park, and Country Club 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

p.s. I currently have several clients who want to be sellers, but are waiting in the wings. Please contact me to determine if any of these opportunities fit your needs. If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, call or e-mail me: (415) 350-9440 | It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s Great Estates | Morgan Lane Marin | Pacific Union International.