Mill Valley Real Estate Report (February 2013 Home Sales Update) | Pacific Union International

February 20, 2013

Mill Valley’s real estate market has continued to post extremely positive numbers into the New Year — the sales total for January 2013 was 13. These properties sold for an average price of about $1.105 million and averaged 1,887 sq. ft. (or about $594 per sq. ft.). Like all towns in Marin County, Ca, Mill Valley home sales have been supressed by a very low inventory of homes for sale. Despite the scarcity of homes available, however, pricing remains the key variable determining buyer interest levels and salability. For now, buyers continue to expect readily apparent value (with an emphasis on turn key homes). If Buyers do not see apparent value in a particular property, they seem to be more than willing to wait for something new. Interestingly, homes priced over $2 million in Mill Valley are not selling — just 7% of these are in escrow compared with over 75% of homes in escrow under $1 million. Clearly, while the market is on the mend in the entry level, buyers are not yet convinced of value in the luxury sector. I predict this will change in coming months as move-up buyers begin flexing their buying instincts.

As noted in my market reports for the past 8 months, the number of listings actively on the market in Mill Valley has decreased to the point of extreme scarcity (there are only 29 homes on the market in all of Mill Valley,CA as of this writing). The absorption rate in Mill Valley currently stands at 2 months (6 months is considered “balanced”).

About Mill Valley Video (click on the above)

As is evidenced by virtually all criteria — market data, real estate forecasts, and buyer demand — the overall health for Mill Valley real estate improved dramatically over the course of 2012. One of the most promising metrics is the upswing in sales in Mill Valley’s “wheelhouse” price bracket of $1.25 mil to $1.75 mil. For many months, if not several years, the number of sales in this traditionally strong Mill Valley price bracket were low — yet the past few months saw an improved market for such homes.

The percentages of home in escrow are:
up to $800K — 81%
$800-$1 mil — 73%
$1 mil to $1.5 mil — 60%
$1.5 mil to $2 mil — 50%
$2mil & Up — 7%

Listings in Marinview, Boyle Park, Tam Valley, and Cascade Canyon generated the most calls this month. Well-priced homes are generating multiple offers — one home garnered over 30 offers last 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. I am also a member of the Top Agent Network and Marin Platinum Group with access to dozens of homes not “officially” on the market but available for sale.

If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, e-mail me. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s International Real Estate | Pacific Union International | Mill Valley, CA.

Mill Valley Real Estate Report (November 2012 Home Sales Update) | Pacific Union International

November 21, 2012

Our Mill Valley, California real estate market continues to shine as sales during the month of October 2012 numbered 31. These properties sold for an average price of about $1.4 million and averaged 2,516 sq. ft. (or about $574 per sq. ft.).  While, similar to the rest of Marin, an extremely low inventory of homes for sale continues to negatively impact potential sales numbers, pricing remains the key ingredient determining buyer interest levels and salability. As much as ever, buyers continue to insist on undeniable value with an emphasis on turnkey homes. If they don’t see it in a particular property, they will continue to wait. The number of listings actively on the market in the MLS has decreased to the point of extreme scarcity (there are only 45 homes on the market in all of Mill Valley as of this writing). The absorption rate in Mill Valley currently stands at just over 1 month (6 months is considered “balanced”).

As is evidenced by virtually all criteria — market data, real estate forecasts, and buyer demand — the overall health for Mill Valley real estate has improved dramatically over the course of 2012. One of the most promising metrics is the upswing in sales in Mill Valley’s “wheelhouse” price bracket of $1.25 mil to $1.75 mil. For many, many months, the number of sales in this traditionally strong Mill Valley price bracket were low. Yet last month alone, 14 trades took place in this range.

The percentages of home in escrow are:

  • up to $800K — 73%
  • $800-$1 mil — 38%
  • $1 mil to $1.5 mil — 56%
  • $1.5 mil to $2 mil — 30%
  • $2mil & Up — 13%

Listings in Boyle Park, Homestead Valley, Sycamore Park, and Cascade Canyon generated the most calls this month. Well-priced homes continue to generate multiple offers. 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. I am also a member of the Top Agent Network and Marin Platinum Group with access to dozens of homes not “officially” on the market but available for sale.

If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, e-mail me. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s International Real Estate | Pacific Union International | Mill Valley, CA.

Mill Valley Real Estate Report (June 2012 Home Sales Update) | Pacific Union International

July 2, 2012

Mill Valley, California real estate sales slowed during the month of May 2012 — we experienced 30 trades (down from 34 in April 2012). These properties sold for an average price of $1.143 million and averaged 1,950 sq. ft. (or about $574 per sq. ft.).  While, similar to the rest of Marin, low inventory of homes for sale continues to slow the pace of sales, pricing remains the key ingredient determining buyer interest levels and salability. Despite the low inventory, buyers continue to insist on readily apparent and undeniable value. If they don’t see it in a particular property, they are willing to wait. The number of listings actively on the market in the MLS has decreased to the point of extreme scarcity. In fact, because of the low inventory, virtually every home that comes to the MLS receives multiple offers (unless priced above true market value) — anecdotal tales of froth in the market include homes with 5 to 15 offers over the past couple of months.

As is evidenced by recent market data, real estate forecasts, and buyer demand, the overall picture for Mill Valley, CA real estate has improved dramatically over the past 6-8 months. One of the most promising metrics is the upswing in sales in Mill Valley’s “wheelhouse” price bracket of $1.25 mil to $1.75 mil. For many, many months, sales in this traditionally strong price bracket were dormant. Yet last month alone, 15 trades took place in this range. I anticipate greater activity in the months to come.

The percentages of home in escrow are:

  • up to $800K — 70%
  • $800-$1 mil — 58%
  • $1 mil to $1.5 mil — 55%
  • $2mil. & Up — 22%

Listings in Strawberry, Homestead Valley, Sycamore Park, and Tam Valley generated the most calls this month. Well-priced homes continue to generate multiple offers. 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. I am also a member of the Top Agent Network and Marin Platinum Group with access to dozens of homes not “officially” on the market but available for sale.

If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, e-mail me. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s International Real Estate | Pacific Union International | Mill Valley, CA.

Mill Valley Real Estate Report (Pacific Union March 2011 Home Sales Update)

March 17, 2011

February 2011 home sales in Mill Valley climbed ever-so-slightly to 15 (up from 13 in January). These trades sold for an average price of $903,927 and averaged 2,151 sq. ft. (or about $453 per sq. ft.).  While anecdotally we are hearing about increased activity, the fact remains that pricing is key. Buyers insist on apparent and undeniable value. If they don’t see it in a property, they are willing to wait it out. The number of listings actively on the market in the MLS remains very low at 72. I suspect once the current rainy spell ends (it looks like it is supposed to rain non-stop for another weeks), we will see inventory balloon. It will be interesting to see how sales play out in Q2 as it appears that bonuses for employees working in the San Francisco financial sector may spur bread-and-butter and luxury sales in our highly desirable city.

The percentage of homes in escrow:

  • Under $800,ooo — 48%
  • $800,000 to $1 million — 24%
  • $1 million to $1.5 million — 33%
  • $1.5 million to $2 million — 20%
  • Above $2 million — 0%

Listings in Boyle Park and Homestead Valley 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. I currently have several clients who want to sell, but are waiting in the wings for Spring 2011. Please contact me to determine if any of these opportunities fit your needs. I am also a member of the Top Agent Network and Marin Platinum Group with access to dozens of homes not “officially” on the market but available for sale.

If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, e-mail me. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s Great Estates | Pacific Union International Mill Valley, CA.

Pacific Union Real Estate Mill Valley CA. Real Estate Report (July 2010 Home Sales Update)

July 24, 2010

The number of homes sold in the Mill Valley, California real estate market rose and Mill Valley’s touchstone price band ($1 million to $2 million) posted another solid month. In contrast to the previous three years, buyers now speak confidently about our market, recognizing that prices have tumbled significantly, interest rates are extraordinary, jobs numbers have improved, and media coverage concerning real estate has turned positive. Moreover, we are seeing an improved marketplace in San Francisco which is the bellweather for Mill Valley and Marin.

The number of homes for sale in Mill Valley is down incrementally to 143. After the brief slow period in the Summer we can expect increasing inventory after Labor Day. Mill Valley’s entry level price bands (under $1,000,000) are as strong as we have seen them over the past couple of years. Moreover, bread and butter homes of $1.5 mil. and up remain strong and that market segment exhibits undeniable leading indicators of a strengthening market. The chart below tracks prices of “for sale” and “sold” homes at or above $1.5 million compared with last year. Indeed, asking prices are down 6% and sales prices are up 17%. This trend is not evident in every price band.

mill-valley-july-2010

Mill Valley’s 24 sales in June 2010 gave rise to the following averages: an average price of $1,239,025; and about 2,273 sq. ft. (or about $597 per sq. ft.). Note that the price per square foot number is prone to wild swings from month to month. For example, three months ago, the price per square foot was $640 in Mill Valley. This is because the composition of sales varies dramatically from month to month — at best, price per square foot is a blunt instrument. Homes in Tam Valley, Scott Valley, 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 sell, but are waiting in the wings. Please contact me to determine if any of these opportunities fit your needs. I am also a member of the Marin Platinum Group with access to dozens of homes not “officially” on the market but available for sale. 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 | Pacific Union International.

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

March 15, 2010

The number of home sales in the Mill Valley, California real estate market held exactly even in February — 16 trades (February usually has lower sales totals because it is a short month with two legal holidays and bcause January tends to have weather which limits buyer activity). Based on last month’s total sales, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last 5.1 months (absorption rate). This number is higher than last month because of the large number of homes that came on the market very recently. As discussed below, however, our touchstone price band is performing very well. 

Mill Valley Home Sales February 2010

Insofar as the sales and apsorption rate of Mill Valley’s touchstone price band ($1 million to $ 2million) are concerned, the market appears to be striding towards normalcy. As indicated above, compared with the past 2 years’ February totals, sales are up 50% over 2008 and double that of 2009. Meanwhile, the chart below shows a market with a serious increase in sales velocity — there is barely 3 months’ inventory for homes priced in the touchstone price band. This is a big reduction from the absorption rate from May 2009, which stood at well over 8 months.

mv-march-2010-absorption-rate

Indeed, although we are at the precipice of the traditional selling season, the number of homes for sale in Mill Valley remains low at 82. We still believe that many “real buyers” stand poised to act on the right property. Certainly, the media’s negative feedback loop seems to have reversed itself as most mainstream economy-related articles seem to be more positive in nature as consumer spending has increased. Certainly, investors are “flipping” homes again! Mill Valley’s entry level price band (under $800,000) is as strong as it has been in recent history — with 54% of homes currently in escrow. 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

11

54%

$800K – $1 mil.

20

23%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

20

31%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

13

35%

$2 mil. & Up

18

10%

Mill Valley’s 16 sales in February 2010 gave rise to the following averages: 102 days on the market; an average price of $1,552,422; and about 2,886 sq. ft. (or about $545 per sq. ft.).

Homes in Tam Valley, Scott Valley, 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.

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

November 9, 2009

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.

Mill Valley will be first in line to benefit from this influx of local income. Meanwhile, however, the number of homes sold remains low. In October, we had just 20 home sales — virtually the same as in July, August, and September 2009. Many believe that the low number of sales is due in large part to a lack of “sexy inventory.”  And in fact, turnkey homes that are priced competitively and located in desirable areas sell FAST.  Meanwhile, homes with “challenges” in regard to location, condition, or price are simply not selling.

Sales prices seem to have gathered traction after a slippery first half of the year, last month’s price per square foot of homes sold was $565 (home sales prices have held steady in this general price per square foot range for months now). Of course, price per square foot is an often misleading indicator as applied to individual homes for several reasons (e.g., condition, location, usable yard space, and the size of the home — the larger the home, the lower the price per square foot). Indeed, a nice home in Sycamore Park may sell for $750-$800 per square foot. It all depends on the various factors in play.

Note that the graph below tracks asking prices and the average price per square foot for homes on the market is rising. It is currently approximately $620 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

Based on last month’s sales total of 20, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last 5.3 months (slightly lower than last month) — this is called the absorption rate. This is still a HUGE reduction from the absorption rate from May 2009, which stood at well over 8 months.

The number of homes in escrow is up by about 11% from last month. We 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.

In fact, the percentage of homes in escrow has risen to 55% in the bottom price band (under $800,000). This indicates that Mill Valley’s low end market is becoming very competitive and that fact bodes well. In Novato, for example, we believe the bottom began to form in April 2009 when it’s 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. 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

15 (down 2)

55%

$800K – $1 mil.

13 (down 6)

24%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

31 (down 4)

26%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

19 (no change)

24%

$2 mil. & Up

28

10%

Mill Valley’s 20 sales in October 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 86 days on the market; an average price of $1,202,173; and about 2,188 sq. ft. (or about $565 per sq. ft.).

Homes in Tam Valley, Scott Valley, 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 and Pacific Union International.

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

July 18, 2009

The Mill Valley real estate market remains predictably unpredictable — after logging 17 sales in May 2009, we had a robust 29 sales in June 2009. Typically, sales slow down as Summer begins and families focus more on vacations and outside activities. That slowdown will be reflected in July sales numbers. Nonetheless, there is serious value in Mill Valley right here, right now. This is true for every price band. Note to buyers: write offers! A closed mouth does not get fed. If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, call or e-mail me: (415) 350-9440 | Kyle@MillValley101.com.
Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com
The above chart tracks asking prices and shows that since November 2007 prices have slid from about $740 per square foot to about $615. As I have noted in market updates relating to other towns in Marin, asking prices have flattened out over the past 6 weeks. It will be interesting to see if this is a leading indicator of increased sales prices that carries into the Fall.

Based on last month’s sales total of 29, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last a bit more than 4.6 months. This a HUGE reduction from the absorption rate the month before, which stood at well over 8 months. Indeed, along with the larger number of sales, lots of inventory was removed from the market for the Summer and the number of homes for sale dropped to 134.

Most activity in Mill Valley is occurring in the sub $1 million price bands, which can be characterized as neutral markets, favoring neither buyers nor sellers. The number of “bread and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) currently in escrow is hovering at a low 14% (about the same as last month). Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) saw some meaningful activity with 4 sales last month (including an off market sale for $5 million) and another 3 currently in escrow.

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

15 (down 4)

32%

$800K – $1 mil.

21 (down 5)

38%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

39 (down 3)

15%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

18 (down 2)

14%

$2 mil. – $4 mil.

29 (down 1)

3%

$4 mil. & Up

4 (down 1)

0%

Mill Valley’s 29 sales from June 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 98 days on the market; an average price of $1.47 million; and about 2,485 sq. ft. (or about $595 per sq. ft.). Homes in Scott Valley, Sycamore Park, Boyle Park, Country Club, Homestead Valley, 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 Kyle@MillValley101.com.

Readers of my monthly reports on Mill Valley, CA. are well aware of my love for Mill Valley. And what’s not to like? For starters: (1) A quick and easy commute to San Francisco, (2) often spectacular views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge (a short 5-10 minutes down HWY 101), and Mt. Tam, (3) excellent schools, (4) pleasant weather, (4) a mellow, laid back ambiance, (5) a town square unlike any other in Marin (you have to go to the town of Sonoma for anything like it), (6) diverse social events (think Mill Valley Film Festival & The Dipsea Race), (7) lots of good restaurants, and (8) excellent shopping choices, including non-gentrified, family-owned boutiques and shops of all kinds.

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. I also have a fixer listed in Homestead Valley that is a super value play, priced at $699,000 (3 Beds/3 Baths, 14,000 sq. ft. lot backing Molino Park). 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.

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

June 14, 2009

Readers of my monthly reports on Mill Valley, CA. are well aware of my love for Mill Valley. And what’s not to like? For starters: (1) A quick and easy commute to San Francisco, (2) often spectacular views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge (a short 5-10 minutes down HWY 101), and Mt. Tam, (3) excellent schools, (4) pleasant weather, (4) a mellow, laid back ambiance, (5) a town square unlike any other in Marin (you have to go to the town of Sonoma for anything like it), (6) diverse social events (think Mill Valley Film Festival & The Dipsea Race), (7) lots of good restaurants, and (8) excellent shopping choices, including non-gentrified, family-owned boutiques and shops of all kinds. Along with all this, there is serious value right here, right now. This is true for every price band in Mill Valley. Note to buyers: write offers! A closed mouth does not get fed. If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, call or e-mail me: (415) 350-9440 | Kyle@MillValley101.com.

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

The above graph charts asking prices and shows that since November 2007 prices have slid from about $740 per square foot to about $610. While some buyers believe prices may slip a bit more, most understand that while interest rates have risen 70 basis points in the past 3 weeks, they are still very low and that 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 dramatically for an $800K home with 20% down (call me for exact numbers relating to a given situation). 

Based on last month’s sales total of 17 (we had 14 sales in April), we currently have an overall inventory of homes (AR) sufficient to last a bit more than 8.35 months in Mill Valley, CA (down from 11 months last month). Overall, the number of homes for sale rose to 142 (way up from 90 in February 2009). The number of “bread and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) currently in escrow is hovering at 12. Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) remains feeble with 3 sales last month and another 3 currently in escrow. 

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

19 (up 4)

27%

$800K – $1 mil.

26 (up 3)

28%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

42 (up 1)

14%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

20 (down 1)

20%

$2 mil. – $4 mil.

30 (up 1)

9%

$4 mil. & Up

5 (up 1) 

0% 

Mill Valley’s 17 sales from May 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 64 days on the market; an average price of $1.167 million; and about 2,183 sq. ft. (or about $528 per sq. ft.). Homes in Scott Valley, Sycamore Park, Boyle Park, Country Club, 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 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. I also have a fixer listed in Homestead Valley that is a super value play, priced at $699,800 (3 Beds/3 Baths, 14,000 sq. ft. lot backing Molino Park). 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.

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

May 16, 2009

We are consistently asked by our clients (sellers), “when will our markets return to normal?” We formed our definition of a normal Marin County market in our Q3 2008 Luxury Newsletter (call us for a copy) only to be followed by the October ’08 stock market meltdown. A normal Mill Valley market over the past ten years has been an annual average of 377 single family homes sold (31 per month). For the past six months the total has been 78 (16 per month). The number of units sold is off roughly 50%. Without closings we have limited comparables to make investment decisions. We are all looking for recent closings to benchmark property values. In the stock market we know CitiGroup Inc. will not soon return to its September 2008 value of $25 per share. In turn, we do not expect Mill Valley real estate to return to early – mid 2008 values. The question is what will the going forward adjustment be? To address “the adjustment” we need to focus neighborhood-by-neighborhood and client-by-client. It is our feeling that Mill Valley, CA closings in December 2008 – April 2009 represent comparables based on sellers that had to sell, and quickly, or sellers that thought the market would fall faster in the Spring ’09 and elected to set the comparables vs. having them used against them.

In an attempt to quantify the “adjustment” we reviewed the new list prices vs. previous selling prices of six Mill Valley homes sold in late 2007 thru early 2008 and again currently active. The six properties ranged in price from $1.2 million to $3.3 million. On average the current list prices are 6% lower than their 2007 – 2008 closing prices. Four are over 10% below. The two homes over $3 million are 13% and 16% below their previous closing prices. None of the homes are in contract. Assuming these homes ultimately go into contract 10% below asking, we can extrapolate a downward shift in the Mill Valley market from late 2007 to today between 16% – 25%.
 
Current Mill Valley inventory (96 listings over $1 million) ranges in pricing from $1 million to $6.5 million and from $328 – $1,305 per square foot. Our review last week illustrated average price per square foot @ $595 for homes from $1 to $2.5 million, $779 from $2.5 to $3.5 million, $935 from $3.5 to $5 million and $1,155 over $5 million. It is very important to note that price per square foot is only one measure and does not take into account, location, noise, sun, condition of property, etc.
 
On the buyer side we are noticing a shift in the selection and valuation of homes. From 1998 – 2008 buyers place a high “prestige” value on certain Mill Valley neighborhoods and were very focused on “I want to live in Sycamore Park”. Now we see buyers seeking “value”. They are comparing like priced listings in multiple Marin communities and seeing what value they can get for their dollar. Essentially, a buyer shift in focus from “prestige” to “value”.  Sellers must be priced for perceived value.
 
Two other clear messages from buyers are:  
1.       A trend away from major remodels. This is likely a result of the changing credit markets and the loss of capital buyers experienced in the stock market meltdown.  
2.       A lack of willingness to write an offer on a property that is not priced in appropriate “strike zone”. Buyers seem to wait for appropriate pricing before coming forward with an offer vs. writing a low, more competitive offer. The rationale seems to be, “what if I write an offer and the seller accepts it? We will clearly have paid too much”. 3 – 5 counter offers are not unusual. Although buyers are more and more inclined to walk away if they don’t get their price.
 
These dynamics are not easy to anticipate much less manage.  We manage these issues every day. Only closings and comparables will add clarity and consistency.
Our advice to sellers:
1.       If you do not need to sell, this will not be the time in the market to maximize value. While we feel the “bottom is forming”, we are not projecting high-single digit year-over-year appreciation until we see the number of Mill Valley homes closed exceed the ten year historical rate of 377+ per year.
2.       Be informed; tour the competition in your price range in Mill Valley and the rest of Southern and Central Marin.
3.       Be realistic about your asking price. Serious buyers are generally represented by talented, knowledgeable agents with access to all the same data.
4.       If you are selling in Spring ’09, time on the market is not your friend. The “perfect home” for the “right price” should trade in its first 30 days.
 

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

The median price per square foot has dipped to about $575 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 April 2009, the percentage of homes in escrow under $800,000 slipped to 21%. I have a fixer listed in Homestead Valley that is a super value play, priced at $768,800 (3 Beds/3 Baths, 14,000 sq. ft. lot backing Molino Park). If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, call or e-mail me: (415) 350-9440 | Kyle@MillValley101.com.

Based on last month’s sales total of 14 (we had 11 sales in March), we currently have an overall inventory of homes (AR) sufficient to last a bit more than 11 months in Mill Valley, CA.

Overall, the number of homes for sale rose to 133 (way up from 90 in February). The number of “bread and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) currently in escrow is hovering at 1. Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) seems to be improving as we have 5 such homes currently in escrow to go along with a couple of sales last month. 

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

15 (up 4)

21%

$800K – $1 mil.

23 (down 4)

30%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

41 (up 7)

16%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

21 (up 6)

10%

$2 mil. – $4 mil.

29 (up 10)

18%

$4 mil. & Up

4 (up 1) 

0% 

Of the 14 sales to close escrow in April 2009, they averaged 64 days on the market and sold for an average price of about $1.41 million with about 2,394 sq. ft. (or about $575 per sq. ft.). Homes in Homestead Valley, Sycamore Park, Boyle Park, 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 Kyle@MillValley101.com. 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.

Next Page »