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 (Pacific Union January 2011 Home Sales Update)

January 3, 2011

December 2010 home sales in Mill Valley totaled 20. These trades sold for an average price of $1,149,219 and averaged 2,364 sq. ft. (or about $491 per sq. ft.).  The end of 2010 saw a heightened sense of security from buyers of homes in the bread-and-butter Mill Valley price range of $1.5 million to $2 million. We had 6 such sales and another 5 between $1 million and $1.5 million. The number of listings actively on the market in the MLS a very low 64 — most sellers took their homes off the market as Winter set in. Inventory will increase again beginning in February and peak in May or June. It will be interesting to see how sales play out in Q1 as it appears that bonuses for employees working in the San Francisco financial sector may spur luxury sales in our highly desirable city.

The percentage of homes in escrow:

  • Under $800,ooo — 38%
  • $800,000 to $1 million — 21%
  • $1 million to $1.5 million — 30%
  • $1.5 million to $2 million — 21%
  • Above $2 million — 10%

Listings in Homestead Valley and Sycamore Park 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 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 at Kyle@ImagineMarin.com. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Christie’s Great Estates | Pacific Union International.

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

June 18, 2010

Similar to May 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. Buyers are again speaking confidently about the market as prices have tumbled, interest rates are extraordinary, jobs numbers have improved, and media coverage concerning real estate has turned positive. I have a strong sense that many feel a tailwind.

The number of homes for sale in Mill Valley is up marginally to 147. Summer is upon us, school is out, and the primary selling season has wrapped up. 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, the luxury price band of $2 mil. to $4 mil. is HOT — 32% of these homes are in escrow) several with multiple offers — of course, the ones that are selling are priced extremely well). The chart below show that median sales prices have equalized for 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom homes under $1 million compared with last year.

Mill Valley’s 20 sales in May 2010 gave rise to the following averages: an average price of $1,161,875; and about 2,059 sq. ft. (or about $530 per sq. ft.). Note that the price per square foot number is prone to wild swings from month to month. For example, two 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.

Get It Now (Entry Level Mill Valley Home For Sale):

617 Springfield Way in Tam Valley is now on the market. Priced at $865,000, this private home (with a new roof in June 2010) sits on ~1/3 acre at the end of  a serene cul de sac in a magnificent setting. It features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths upstairs, along with a large unit downstairs which would be perfect au pair quarters or income — it has rented out recently for ~$1,000/mo.

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 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 (February 2010 Home Sales Update)

February 14, 2010

The number of home sales in the Mill Valley, California real estate market slipped to 16 listings sold, compared with 27 in December 2009. Based on last month’s total, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last 3.7 months (note that several homes came on the market very recently). This is a big 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 remains very low at 63. Meanwhile, asking prices have held steady over the past quarter and stand now at about $605 per square foot.

Mill Valley Homes Sold & For Sale Medians

The above graph tracks sales prices vs. listing prices over the past 2 years in Mill Valley for homes under $2 million. While the median sales price is down 19%, the median asking price is down just 3%. Meanwhile, for homes over $2 million, the median asking price has dipped 11%, while median sales prices have dipped about 30%. We still believe that there are many “real buyers” out there who have been waiting for “a sign” to buy. 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. Certainly, investors are “flipping” homes again! Mill Valley’s entry level price band (under $800,000) is fairly strong with 39% 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

14 (up 4)

39%

$800K – $1 mil.

10 (down 1)

41%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

16 (up 1)

30%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

14 (same)

24%

$2 mil. & Up

15 (up 2)

17%

Mill Valley’s 16 sales in January 2010 gave rise to the following averages: 88 days on the market; an average price of $1,191,488; and about 2,298 sq. ft. (or about $535 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 (October 2009 Home Sales Update)

October 16, 2009

The good new is that it seems the media has turned a corner on its reporting of the U.S. and worldwide economies, as well as the housing market. Positive press coverage has permeated all forms of media and is certain to change the tide, although it will take time. Significantly, San Francisco agents are reporting a significant surge in sales and prices. We know from past experience, that once San Francisco recovers, surrounding communities recover in a geo-concentrically expanding fashion.

Yet, the Mill Valley, CA. real estate market continues to limp along, offering hope of recovery, but not fully reaching the plateau (or nadir, as it were). Pardon the inevitable mixed metaphors, but it seems the real estate market is like an elite athlete with an ankle sprain, constantly at risk of further injury or re-aggravation. Our low expectations for September were fulfilled as we had just 21 home sales — same as in July and August 2009.

While is seemed that prices had gathered traction after a slippery first half of the year, last month’s price per square foot of homes sold dipped to $529 — note that the graph below tracks asking prices and the average price per square foot for homes on the market is holding steady at about $615. We have been waiting to see whether this flattening out of asking prices would carry over into the sales prices of homes trading this Fall and Winter and it appears the answer in “no.”

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

Based on last month’s sales total of 21, we currently have an overall inventory of homes sufficient to last a bit more than 5.67 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 virtually the same as 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.

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 last month to about 20%. Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) saw strong activity last month (5 sales) — and another 9 such homes are 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 21 sales from September 2009 gave rise to the following averages: 66 days on the market; an average price of $1,156,667; and about 2,165 sq. ft. (or about $529 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 (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.

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.

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

March 11, 2009

For several months my Mill Valley, CA, real estate report has noted that the market “is strangely out of sync,” and that buyers “are taking a few pitches to see what happens,” and I have also aired my suspicians about “undercover buyers” who are ready to buy and want to buy the “right” home. More than ever, I believe this is all true. At Morgan Lane we have about $12 million of closings taking place in the next week or so (and we closed a $4 million Mill Valley deal last month). If we can gather a little wind behind our sails, I believe we will be off to the races. Certainly, sellers seem to grasp the need for aggressive pricing and it appears that attractive new inventory will help drive the market in 2009. 

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

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, 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). 

Up just a bit from February 2009, the percentage of homes in escrow under $800,000 rose to 43% (it had been as low as 15% in November 2008). Based on last month’s sales total (we had 9 sales in February 2009), we currently have an inventory of homes sufficient to last 10 months in Mill Valley, CA (this is called the absorption rate).  Overall, the number of homes for sale rose to 90 (from 73 in January 2009). The number of “bead and butter” homes (those priced between $1 million to $2 million) currently in escrow is 8 — nearly tripling last month’s number (there were just 3 in escrow last month). Meanwhile, the luxury market in Mill Valley (homes from $2 million and up) continues its sleepy hibernation–just a single luxury home closed last month (the aforementioned $4 million sale) and there none currently in escrow. 

Price Range

Total Active Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $750K

7 (down 5)

43%

$750K – $1 mil.

27 (up 11)

7%

$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

32 (down 10)

19%

$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

15 (down 13)

13%

$2 mil. – $4 mil.

19 (up 1)

0%

$4 mil. & Up

3 (up 1) 

0% 

 

Of the 9 sales to close escrow in February 2009, they averaged a low 61 days on the market and sold for an average price of about $1.25 million with about 2,283 sq. ft. (or about $512 per sq. ft, which is down from $518 sq. ft. last month). The numbers from February reflect the fact that 5 of the 9 sales were priced under $1 million (in Mill Valley, these are generally entry level homes). Homes in Homestead Valley, Sycamore Park, Middle Ridge, and Kite Hill continue to be in low supply and high demand. 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 see if any of these opportunities fit your needs.

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