They're finally here.
A new crop of homes has hit our inventory-starved County, and Marin Buyers could not be happier. This is the moment we've been waiting for.
Savvy shoppers, who have been watching the market, and are pre-approved and ready to act will reap the benefits of this new Spring harvest. Buyers, if a home pops up in your price range that hits most of your parameters, this agent says go for it! If a home feels right, don’t wait. Write an offer. Too often when a flood of inventory hits the market, buyers get overwhelmed and hesitate, hoping that a more perfect home will come on the market in the coming weeks. But those who hesitate often miss out on a great home, and then find themselves with fewer choices down the road than they had hoped.
Pricing remains critical in this highly charged market. Sellers pricing too high may miss out on a buyer that has dismissed their home as being overpriced. Better to start with a more realistic offer price and let the market determine for how much it should sell.
In Marin, real estate agents, for the most part, try to price as accurately as possible. Sales of comparable homes in one of Marin's many micro-markets that are similar in size, layout and make-up help determine an offer price akin to what the going sales prices are in that area. While there's generally a range that feels comfortable for both buyer and seller, remember that ultimately the market price is the price a buyer is willing to pay.
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “Are we in a bubble? And, if so, when will that bubble burst?” Let’s first burst all this bubble talk. Real estate is a cyclical business. Historically, prices go up and down. Inventory goes up and down. There will always be shifts and swings; that's just the nature of the business. So there will be a downturn again at some point, but since mechanisms have been put in place to guard us from the bubble burst of the past, we expect any market shifts up or down to have little impact over the long term. That’s because for the majority of us, real estate is a more long-term decision: where you want to live to suit your lifestyle, or where you'd like to raise your kids, or where you see yourself building a future, etc. If you are looking to make a move for any of those reasons — or want to make a different kind of investment, real estate continues to be one of the very best places to put your money. I can help you with both.
Here’s what happened in Marin Real Estate in the month of February:
Single Family Houses Sold in February 2016 vs February 2015
While fewer properties were sold this February, overall prices did increase in Marin. January and February started off slowly, but look for some solid numbers in March with inventory on the rise. Housing prices are still predicted to rise moderately this year at about 6%, which is a healthy increase, though not as dramatic as in the last few years that saw 10-15% or more appreciation.
The median home price for Marin in February was $1,141,400, up 14% from last year at this same time. For a typical buyer today, purchasing a home at this median price, with a down payment of 20% ($228,280), and a 30-year fixed rate of 3.375%, the monthly mortgage (not including taxes and insurance) would be approximately $4,036.87.
Working with a qualified mortgage professional will help you determine your magic number and what you can afford in the Marin market. Some new loan programs are available, so with good credit you may be able to finance more and pay less down. Rates are still amazingly low, so doing research will help you find the loan package that works best for you.
he majority of properties sold this February in Marin (single family homes and condominiums combined) were under $1 million dollars. In the combined $1.5 million to $5 million price ranges, there was significant increase of days on market, meaning it took longer to sell these homes than it did one year ago. And in the $2-5 million dollar range, while the numbers are small, we did see a slight increase in the number of properties sold.
Of the 60 sold properties under $1M, most of them were in Novato (28) and San Rafael (19). Novato’s under $1M properties were mostly single-family homes, while San Rafael had a majority of condominiums in that range. There were 30 total condominiums sold in Marin this past February with a median sales price of $464,000, versus 49 sold last February 2015 with a median sale price of $505,000.
All in all, we're seeing more normality in the market. Prices are rising, but not at the clip they rose in the past few years. Sales are slower, but we attribute that to low inventory levels and expect to see a significant upward change in the coming months. There are some good values out there right now and more will be coming on the market as we move into Spring. Well-prepared buyers will win by knowing the market, what’s available and having a good sense of recent comparable sales. The key is always to work with a reliable agent as your trusted partner.
OPENING SOON: OUR SECOND OFFICE IN MARIN
We're putting the finishing touches on Vanguard Properties’ new office on Magnolia Avenue in Ross Valley. Look for an invitation in the next few weeks to our Grand Opening event. More details to follow.
Looking to buy or sell a home in Marin County? The Costa Group knows the Marin market well. We'd love to learn more about your real estate needs and share how we can help you make them a reality.