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 www.altosresearch.com

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)

44%

$800K – $1 mil.

13 (no change)

35%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

20 (down 11)

20%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

13 (down 6)

19%

$2 mil. & Up

17 (down 11)

6%

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 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 (September 2009 Home Sales Update)

September 18, 2009

The Mill Valley, CA. real estate market fulfilled low expectations in August 2009 with 22 sales — same as in July 2009. It has become apparent over the past several months that asking prices have largely halted their downward spiral. As is evident in the graph below, which tracks the median price per square foot (down from $740 to $612), in Mid-June prices flattened out in Mill Valley and have more or less remained stable. It will be interesting to see whether this flattening out carries over into the sales prices of homes trading this Fall and Winter.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com
Based on last month’s sales total of 22, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last a bit more than 5.5 months (virtually the same as August 2009) — 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 also up by over ten percent from last month, which suggests that sales activity will increase in the late Fall and into the Winter months (as is normal for Mill Valley). 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.

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

As with Marin overall, the most active segment is the sub $1 million price bands, which can be characterized as neutral markets, favoring neither buyers nor sellers. Well over half of last month’s sales were under $1 million. The number of “bread and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) currently in escrow is up from 12% last month to about 18% this month. Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) saw very limited activity last month (just 1 sale) — but there are 7 such homes in escrow.

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

17 (same)

48%

$800K – $1 mil.

19 (up 1)

21%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

35 (down 5)

19%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

19 (up 1)

17%

$2 mil. – $4 mil.

30 (same)

14%

$4 mil. & Up

5 (up 1)

0%

Mill Valley’s 22 sales from August 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 111 days on the market; an average price of $911,857; and about 2,109 sq. ft. (or about $449 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.

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, (5) a mellow, laid back ambiance, (6) a town square unlike any other in Marin (you have to go to the town of Sonoma for anything like it), (7) diverse social events (think Mill Valley Film Festival & The Dipsea Race), (8) lots of good restaurants, and (9) 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. 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.

Marin Luxury Real Estate (July 2009)

September 10, 2009

Marin County, CA’s luxury real estate market segment is slow and remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million — just one home priced over $4 million sold in June 2009 and it was an off-the-market sale. The number of sales in June 2009 is off by over 40% from June 2008, yet the average price of sold homes is down just 3% from last year. In Marin, only the homes with special locations, views, or features seem to be getting significant attention. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated July 19, 2009,click hereNote, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440. Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is again improved this month. As earnings reports come in for Q2 and the stock market has found some hope in the numbers, it does not appear that such developments consitute the siren call buyers seek.

As noted last month, buyers remain dubious of price stability for good reason. But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, a sizable segment of buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers). The chart below indicates that across the trend in Marin’s luxury segment is for lower prices — 10% to 28% lower than last year in Mill Valley, Belvedere, and Kentfield.

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% for the past couple of months. Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield has rocketed to 60% higher than last year. Belvedere is 75% higher than last year. Prediction: Kentfield and Belvedere prices will continue to recede markedly through Q4 2009. Indeed, we can see that trend has set in dramatically in the above chart.

[For the rest of this report, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com, click HERE.]

Marin Luxury Real Estate (May 2009)

September 10, 2009

Real estate sales in Marin County’s luxury segment are currently weighted towards homes priced under $4 million. In fact, not a single home priced above $4 million is in escrow (although that could change in a moment as the domino effect is very real in home sales). But, as it stands, the ultra-luxury home sales segment is flat-lining in Marin County, CA. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click here (May 17, 2009 Report). Note, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is improving: the West experienced a 42.5% jump in housing starts; the National Association of Homebuilders reported increased confidence (as high as it has been in 9 months); and construction and permits both rose last month (these are considered leading indicators on the macro level relating to housing stability). Nonetheless, the inertia of caution remains firm.

Buyers are dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year prices in Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield). But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, many buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers).

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

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

August 13, 2009

The Mill Valley, CA. real estate market remains predictably unpredictable — after just 17 sales in May 2009, we had a robust 29 sales in June 2009, followed by 22 sales in July 2009. As I noted in last month’s report, the decline in sales numbers this month was expected as families focus more on vacations and outside activities. And September will bring even fewer home sales, along with a moderate rise in inventory and increased buyer activity.

Over the past quarter in much of Marin County, it has become apparent that asking prices have halted their downward spiral. As is evident in the graph below, which tracks the median price per square foot (down from $740 to $615), in Mid-June 2009 prices flattened out in Mill Valley. It will be interesting to see whether this flattening out carries over into the sales prices of homes trading this Fall and Winter.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com
Based on last month’s sales total of 22, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last about 5.45 months (up from 4.6 months in July 2009) — 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. A big reason for the lower absorption rate is the reduced inventory as sellers removed thier homes from the market for the Summer — we currently have just 120 active listings.
While not discussed by most real estate agents, the absorption rate is an important barometer of market health. Below is a graph showing that in 2009, Mill Valley has consistently outperformed 2008 in terms of homes absorbed. Thus, while many agents seem despondent and unenthusiastic about the market, the truth is that things are much better than last year and continue improving. I predict that sales activity will increase significantly in the late Fall and into the Winter months, not only because of continued favorable interest rates, but also because I think there are many “real buyers” out there who have been waiting for “a sign” to buy — I don’t know what that sign will be (there are likely to be many “signs”), but it will come soon for “real buyers.”
Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com
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 12% (about the same as last month). Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) saw some meaningful activity with 3 sales last month and another 6 currently in escrow. If you would like my Mill Valley Hot List, call or e-mail me: (415) 350-9440 | Kyle@MillValley101.com.

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $800K

17 (up 2)

37%

$800K – $1 mil.

18 (down 3)

36%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

40 (up 1)

18%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

18 (no change)

0%

$2 mil. – $4 mil.

30 (down 1)

17%

$4 mil. & Up

4 (no change)

0%

Mill Valley’s 22 sales from July 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 86 days on the market; an average price of $963,591; and about 1,844 sq. ft. (or about $556 per sq. ft.). Homes in Tam Valley, 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.

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. 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.

Homestead Valley (Mill Valley Neighborhoods Description)

September 16, 2008

Roughly stated, Homestead Valley sits between Sycamore Parkand Tam Valley–think “across from Whole Foods.” George Lucas lived here, above Tamalpais High School, way back when.

It is an unincoprated area with about 1,100 homes. Homes here vary in stature and price. There are fine estates with super views and cabin-sized dwellings in need of love.

Stolte Grove is a delightful park in HV, bisected by Reed Creek. It has picnic tables, barbecues, and a stage on which my girls have been known to provide impromptu performances of varying qualities and lengths. There is also garden area nearby. You can find both of these parks at Montford and LaVerne Avenues on the the loop. The Marin Horizon School is in Homestead Valley (pre-school through eighth grade).

Blithedale Canyon (Mill Valley Neighborhoods Descriptions)

September 16, 2008

Blithedale Canyon is easy to find. Just head west on E. Blithedale until you pass the Art Club (where I got married) and head into the trees. This area is fabulous and is home to many of Mill Valley’s celebrities and elite. It boasts tall redwoods, lots of trails, parkland, and prototypically narrow Mill Valley streets.

Many homes are just a short walk to downtown. Many other homes are way up in the hills–the ultimate in privacy. At bottom, the canyon is dominated by the gentle flow of Corte Madera Creek–it’s a quiet, redwooded haven for crafstman-style cottages, cabins, blackberry bushes, deer, old stone walls, foggy mornings, and even some hidden staircases. Above all, it’s a fine place for a relaxing stroll. 

Many hikers start their days at the Old Railroad Grade trailhead.

Cascade Canyon (Mill Valley Neighborhoods Description)

September 16, 2008

Heading west from Downtown Mill Valley on Throckmorton you will come across Old Mill Park on the left (Old Mill School is on the right). Head into the park and you will then run into Cascade Drive, which winds its way through the trees and along the creek way up into the hills.

This is delightful Cascade Canyon. It is supremely picturesque and a hot area for real estate. Tall redwoods, lots of trails, parkland, and the prototypically narrow Mill Valley streets are all present here.

Many homes are just a short walk to downtown. Many other homes are way up in the hills–the ultimate in privacy.

Middle Ridge (Mill Valley Neighborhoods Description)

September 16, 2008

Location. Location. Location. Middle Ridge (the community inhabiting the ridge between Blithdale and Cascade Canyons) is considered by many locals to be one of Mill Valley, California’s most desirable neighborhoods. It is known for being warm and sunny, with some outstanding views of the Bay and of San Francisco. It is just a few short blocks from downtown and many of Mill Valley’s finest homes are situated here.

Marin Luxury Homes (September 2008)

September 14, 2008

The number of homes for sale in the $2 million to $4 million luxury home market in Marin County, California rose over the past month to 109, compared to 106 homes in August 2008. The slight rise in inventory coincided with a respectable month of sales with 16 homes sold in August 2008 (down by 4 from July).  

Mill Valley and Ross experienced the most luxury home sales (with 4 of these homes selling in each). Belvedere, Tiburon and Corte Madera each had 2 homes sold and Kentfield and Sausalito had 1 sale each. The average days on market for homes that sold was a mere 95 days (25 days more than in July) and the average sales price was $2.927 million (roughly $875/per sq. ft.), with an average of 3,503 square feet. Belvedere and Tiburon seem to be hot as they each have 6 homes in escrow.

The inventory level in Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) receded a bit. There are 40 active listings

[ … click here for the complete report courtesy of NorthBayRE.com].

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