Marin Luxury Report (December 2009)

January 19, 2010

The luxury home market in Marin County, California, which is vastly improved over a year ago, seems to have hit a comfortable level of activity. As reported in previous months, real buyers continue to homes in prestige locations with emphasis on views and lifestyle amenities (such as large usable yards, proximity to athletic clubs/shopping, reputable schools, and sensible scales). And they are seeking “value.” For the last 2 quarters, the Marin County luxury market has strongly favored homes priced under $3 million.

For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail or call me at (415) 350-9440.

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 popular cities in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield.

 
 
[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com]

Marin Luxury Report (November 2009)

January 19, 2010

Building on a trend noted in last month’s report, media coverage of the overall economy has improved. In particular, reporting on the housing market. Forecasters are predicting that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy (based on a survey by the National Association for Business Economics). According to that organization, home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year — over 80% of economists surveyed think the recession is over and recovery has begun. The Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann, predicts that sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, with sales of new homes climbing 21 percent.

But, perhaps more importantly, the Dow Jones has rocketed up past 10,000 and the tone of the W-shaped recovery dialogue has moderated. It was announced today that JPMorgan Chase plans to hire 1,200 mortgage bankers in light of improved housing market and signs of stability.

Finally, we know from past experience that in down cycles, once the San Francisco housing market recovers, there is a domino effect on surrounding communities. Accordingly, in our current cycle, we believe that our best leading indicator regarding a healthy, appreciating market (particularly in Southern Marin) will be the home sales environment in San Francisco. And there can be no doubt that the San Francisco market has improved dramatically in recent months. Additionally, as the banking institutions regain their footing and again provide bonuses to their employees, we will also see a surge in luxury home sales. In fact, if bonuses are significant and broad-based, I predict a very strong luxury sales market early in 2010 as buyers snap up the many “values” out there in the luxury and ultra-luxury sectors.

As reported in previous months, real buyers have become less numerous. They are placing emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale. And they are seeking “value.” The Marin County luxury market has favored homes priced under $3 million — although 5 homes traded over $4 million in November 2009. [For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail or call me at (415) 350-9440.]

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 “hot” locales in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield. Interestingly, while Belvedere continues to see asking prices drop, Kentfield and Mill Valley have seen asking prices increase over the last 4 months. Of course, asking prices do not necessarily closely reflect selling prices and in Mill Valley, there are lots of homes on the market in the higher price bands, which have not sold.

 

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% higher than last year for 6 months, but has dipped to about 15%. Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 65% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 90% higher than last year.

Below is a new chart focusing on the percentage of homes that have experiencd price reductions and the depth of those price reductions, on average. This chart examines these trends in Mill Valley and in Belvedere – Tiburon. It is perhaps not surprising that nearly 35% of listings in Tiburon – Belvedere have experienced a price reduction and those reductions average about 12%.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com]

Marin Luxury Report (October 2009)

January 19, 2010

In our New Economy, real buyers have become less numerous and have placed increased emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale. As reported all year, the luxury segment remains weighted towards homes priced under $3 million — although 4 homes priced over $4 million sold in October 2009. First and foremost, the economy must give reason for optimism and the stock market must continue to win back gains lost over the past year. Once some of those gains are recaptured, affluent buyers will feel more comfortable with major purchases again.

Meanwhile, the media has been placing a positive spin on economic news coverage, which will hopefully result in a positive feedback loop. For example, a story run in the A.P. last week noted that economic forecasters are predicting that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy (based on a survey by the National Association for Business Economics). According to that organization, home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year and over 80 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE think the recession is over and recovery has begun. In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story last week regarding how low interest rates have spurred a modest increase in Bay Area home sales in September. Also concurring with the expectation of growth is the Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann, who predicts that sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, with sales of new homes climbing 21 percent.

For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 “hot” locales in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield. Interestingly, while Belvedere continues to see asking prices drop, Kentfield and Mill Valley have seen asking prices increase over the 120 days. Of course, asking prices do not necessarily closely reflect selling prices and in Mill Valley, there are lots of homes on the market in the higher price bands, which have not sold.

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com].

Marin Luxury Report (September 2009)

January 19, 2010

Earlier this month marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the equities market meltdown, which profoundly impacted Marin County, California’s luxury real estate market. In our New Economy, real buyers have become less numerous and have placed increased emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale.

As reported all year, the luxury segment remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million — while we had 3 sales of homes priced over $4 million in July 2009, yet August 2009 saw just 1 sale in this affluent price band. Among the sales last month, was a $5.1 million trade in Belvedere (an amazing home on a double lot on the Belvedere Lagoon) and an off-market $8 million Kentfield (both buyers and sellers were represented by my company). The reasons for the slowdown in sales is no mystery, so too are the reasons we will eventually return to normalcy. First and foremost, the economy must give reason for optimism and the stock market must continue to win back gains lost over the past year. Once some of those gains are recaptured, affluent buyers will feel more comfortable with major purchases again. And it looks like we are heading in that direction — last week, Ben Bernanke noted that the recession is likely over and the Wall Street Journal (a media source which is not-so-subtly slanted against real estate investment) noted that real estate “has rarely looked better” — click HERE for article. Also, for a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated September 13, 2009, click HERE.  And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.
[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com]

Marin Real Estate (December 2009)

January 19, 2010

The Marin County, California real estate market approaches the new year with momentum. While the beginning of 2009 was terrible for sellers and the market overall, the latter half of 2009  was quite strong across many market segments, giving brokers and home owners a reason for optimism in 2010. While year over year prices are down in many price segments and locations within Marin, some areas have actually seen prices increase (albeit nominally) year over year. Indeed, I believe that many brokers feel as though absent further crisis, we are at or near the end of the downward cycle — after 3+ years.

As for bread and butter homes (e.g., priced below $1 million, at least 3 beds and 2 baths with 1,500 square feet or more), the chart below reflects the number of homes in escrow county-wide from November 2007 through November 2009 – we are up an astonishing 190%. We see increased affordability and appealing interest rates supporting this trend for the foreseeable future. 

 
Further evidence of a strengthening market exists in Mill Valley. The chart below shows a 90-day rolling average of Mill Valley’s new listings and absorbed listings (e.g., sales), comparing current numbers with those of last year. Note that the while the numbers for new listings are about the same, the number of absorbed listings exceeds that of 2008. If you would like to review a similar chart for any other town or city in Marin, please let me know.

 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 

Below is a snapshot of the current real estate market in Marin. Contact me for a detailed executive summary providing statistics and trends relating to the Marin real estate market (or any specific zip code). It is always my pleasure to be of service.

 

Marin County Real Estate Executive Summary

 

Not surprisingly, inventory dropped significantly over the past month to 471 single family homes for sale (we had over 600 last month). This includes only the Highway 101 corridor (excluding Western Marin inventory and condos).  Note to buyers: if a house is on the market during this time of year, the sellers are often quite motivated — make an offer!

 

Marin County Home Prices
Cities Lowest Price Highest Price
Sausalito  635,000  6.5 million
Tiburon  689,000  24.9 million 
Belvedere  1.795 million  48 million
Mill Valley  344,000  6.9 million
Corte Madera  599,000  1.895 million
Larkspur  360,000  1.799 million 
Greenbrae  799,000   2.495 million
Kentfield  749,000  5.295 million 
Ross  669,000  10.75 million
San Anselmo  460,000  6.488 million 
Fairfax  429,000  1.995 million
San Rafael  365,000  1.399 million 
Novato  275,000  6.95 million

By: Kyle Frazier, Broker Associate, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Realtor

Christie’s Great Estates | Morgan Lane Marin | Pacific Union International
(415) 350-9440
E-Mail Kyle Frazier

Marin Real Estate (November 2009)

January 19, 2010

Marin County, California real estate enters the Winter months much the same way it entered the Summer months — with a feeling that activity will be stronger than usual for this time of year. While year over year prices are down across the board no matter how you slice it, many feel as though absent further crisis, we may be nearing the end of the downward cycle — after a full 3 years. Certainly, well priced, updated homes in great locations are selling.

As noted in my Novato update, it is apparent that the low end in Northern Marin has settled on a bottom: 

Savvy buyers waiting for “the bottom to hit” recognize that we may be there and that any further price erosion will be outweighed by increased interest rates which are likely around the bend. Surely, home buyers in Novato are finding that it is increasingly difficult to identify “turnkey” homes under $550,000. In the 94949 zip code, median prices year over year dipped a mere 3%. I think many observers would be surprised. Local agents are all talking about a “bounce” in prices over the past several months.

[click HERE for the rest of the article] 

Meanwhile, the rest of Marin looks a little different. As noted last month, some sellers still suffer from pricing strategies that prevent them from realistically engaging with qualified buyers. Nonetheless, we have well over a dozen $2 million and up properties in escrow and are, no doubt, seeing increased confidence in high-end buyers. Should the stock market continue recovering in coming months and year end bonuses be granted at year end, I predict more late Winter sales and a strong early Spring market as affluent buyers step into the market which will undoubtedly hold “value” for those poised to strike. 
 
As for bread and butter homes (e.g., priced below $1 million, at least 3 beds and 2 baths with 1,500 square feet or more) the chart below reflects the number of homes in escrow county-wide in October 2007 through October 2009. This year, our October escrow numbers are up a full 50%  from both October 2007 & 2008. We see increased affordability and appealing interest rates supporting this trend for the foreseeable future.
 
 
Further evidence of a strengthening market exists in Mill Valley. The chart below shows a 90-day rolling average of Mill Valley’s new listings and absorbed listings (e.g., sales), comparing current numbers with those of last year. Note that the while the numbers for new listings are about the same, the number of absorbed listings exceeds that of 2008. If you would like to review a similar chart for any other town or city in Marin, please let me know.

 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 

Not surprisingly, inventory dropped significantly over the past month to 652 single family homes for sale (we had 762 last month). Note that this includes the Highway 101 corridor (excluding Western Marin inventory and condos).  

 

For a detailed executive summary similar to, but much more detailed than below, providing statistics and trends relating to the Marin real estate market (or any specific zip code), contact me any time. It is always my pleasure to be of service.

 
 

Kyle Frazier, Broker Associate, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Realtor

Christie’s Great Estates | Morgan Lane Marin | Pacific Union International
(415) 350-9440
E-Mail Kyle Frazier

Marin Real Estate (October 2009)

January 19, 2010

Marin County, California real estate held steady, for the most part, through Summer 2009. While year over year prices are down across the board no matter how you slice it, many feel as though absent further crisis, we may be nearing the end of the downward cycle — after a full 3 years. Certainly, well priced, updated homes in great locations are selling promptly.

In Northern Marin (a.k.a Novato), 81% of homes priced under $500,000 are in escrow (that’s 39 out of 48 homes!). In San Rafael, 64% of homes priced at or below $600,000 are in escrow. These astonishing sales numbers are propelled by value / affordability, the $8,000 tax credit, and the increased FHA loan limits which went into effect in April 2009.

Meanwhile, the higher price bands look a little different. As noted last month, some sellers still suffer from pricing strategies that prevent them from realistically engaging with qualified buyers. Nonetheless, we have well over a dozen $2 million and up properties in escrow and have seen a few BIG sales over the Summer. Should the stock market recover further in coming months, I predict more Winter sales as affluent buyers step into the market with renewed confidence. Social proof is a powerful force.

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.NorthBayRE.com].

Marin Real Estate (September 2009)

January 19, 2010

Over the past year, my reports have continually pointed to simple supply and demand indicators in an effort to define a “normal” Marin County real estate market. As noted a year ago, “recovery to a normal market will require stability in financial markets, a strong local employment trend, affordable interest rates and strengthening consumer confidence.”

Reflecting on the past twelve months, Marin County real estate markets experienced the most difficult and unpredictable dynamics. The financial markets imploded, unemployment trends accelerated and consumer confidence was shattered. And while we benefit from historically low interest rates, credit requirements, approval guidelines, and loan to value ratios are as stringent as in recent memory.

The good news is that over 1,100 single family homes have sold in Marin County in the first nine months of 2009. Successful sellers have processed market dynamics, followed their real estate advisors recommendations and successfully made housing decisions to support their lifestyle. Buyers continue to seek opportunity and will write offers only on the homes that have balanced the best pricing in relation to the relevant and recent neighborhood comparables.

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.NorthBayRE.com].

Mill Valley CA. Real Estate Market Report (January 2010 Home Sales Update)

January 19, 2010

The number of home sales in the Mill Valley, California real estate market rose again in December 2009 — 27 listings sold, compared with 24 in November. Based on last month’s total, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last 1.96 months! 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 an extraordinarily low 53. Meanwhile, asking prices have held steady over the past quarter and stand now at about $610 per square foot. It remains to be seen whether this rise will translate into higher sales prices.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

We still beleive that there are many “real buyers” out there who have been waiting for “a sign” to buy. Certainly, the negative feedback loop supplied by the media has turned the corner — indeed, investors are “flipping” homes again! Mill Valley’s low end market (under $800,000) is competitive with 33% of homes in escrow and that fact bodes well. Below is a table detailing the number of homes in escrow in each price band:

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

10 (no change)

33%

$800K – $1 mil.

11 (down 2)

21%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

15 (down 6)

29%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

14 (up 1)

23%

$2 mil. & Up

13 (down 4)

7%

Mill Valley’s 27 sales in December 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 131 days on the market; an average price of $1,019,843; and about 1,952 sq. ft. (or about $528 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 Kyle@MillValley101.com.

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 | Kyle@MillValley101.com. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s Great Estates | Morgan Lane Marin | Pacific Union International.