Marin Market Update-September 2016

And, we're off into the Fall selling season, usually the biggest seasonal bump we get in terms of inventory, activity and sales next to Spring. 

We've been anxiously awaiting new homes to come on the market post-Labor Day and the market is delivering. We have 81 new homes in Marin County on the market since September 14th (BAREIS) and the hopes of more coming in the coming weeks. 

A good chance for buyers to sit back and take their time picking their favorite homes, right? 


You'd think the buyers would be due a little break -- finally getting a breather from the multiple offers and competitive overbids. Finally plenty of homes for everyone! Oh, how we wish.

While the upgrade of inventory does allow for some pressure relief on the market, it's still the buyer who is prepared, and, dare I say aggressive, who is going to get the home they want (and need)!    

Our advice for this writing... if you see something you like, grab it! But, the next logical question a buyer asks is "at what price?!" Will we see home prices to continue to rise towards the end of the year? Harkening back to a report in October 2015, the California Association of Realtors had only estimated a statewide 6.3% sales growth for 2016, and here in Marin as we finish out the third quarter, we're at about 9%, so charting pretty close to plan, albeit a little better.

The median sale price for single family homes in Marin for August was $1,200,000, a 10% increase from last year at the end of summer, and an even more impressive 26% increase from the beginning of 2016 (the month of January reflected a median sale price of $952,500 for single family homes sold in Marin). San Rafael hit a median price of $1,000,000 in August, quite a milestone for the County seat. As of this writing, there are only six properties on the market available in San Rafael for under $800,000 and only 17 homes in Novato on the market for under $800,000. For entry-level homes in Marin, we look to the lower-priced areas of Novato, San Rafael, and even parts of Fairfax and the coastal towns like Dillon Beach, Marshall, and Bolinas for lower-priced single family homes. Below is a graph from MAR reflecting the current availability of single family homes under $1 million in Marin. 2016 appears to be a year at which the county has very few offerings under the $1 million mark.

Median Sale Price of Single Family Homes in Marin Over a 10 Year Period

Prices have not seemed to rise as quickly in 2016 as they did last year. While we're still seeing some record numbers and price increases, the market seems a little more measured and realistic. Sellers who put their homes on the market without much action are realizing they may have pushed the envelope a little too far and after a time off the market are back on now at a reduced (and dare we say more realistic) price.

The energy in the market is good right now. My agent colleagues are excited to have properties to show their buyers, and excited that sellers seem to be getting the message about "right" pricing vs. pushing the market higher and higher. There is a feeling of opportunity and hopefulness in both camps.

Single Family Homes Solds in August 2016 vs August 2015

Fewer homes sold this August than the month of August last year, but we did see a 10% increase in the median single family sale price, possibly a nod to the greater market trends we are experiencing as the year comes to a close. The luxury markets of Belvedere, Tiburon, and Kentfield all saw a decrease in median sale price, while Ross saw the largest increase this month in terms of median sale price change, with a whopping 101% increase, though note the small sample size.

The median sale price for single family homes in August was $1,200,000, a 10% increase from last year at the end of summer, and an even more impressive 26% increase from the beginning of 2016

While San Rafael experienced a decrease in inventory, with 33 sold homes this month compared to 54 this time last year, it hit the $1 million median sale price mark, a 5% increase. Novato, Mill Valley and San Anselmo also hit double digits in the number of single family homes sold last month, with slight dips from their numbers this time last year, but each sustaining a positive sale price change. 

Trends of Homes Sold in Marin in August

In August of last year, the market saw far more homes sold below $1 million, whereas this August, only 64 were sold. Interesting to note in the $1.5-2 million range, we had an increase in homes sold compared with last year, but with a few days more on the market. The $5 million plus range saw far fewer days on the market for all 4 homes sold this August, whereas last August the average DOM was a whopping 245, quite a significant decrease even with such a small sample, but showing there is still some steam in the luxury market.

Last year's Q4 saw stronger numbers than anticipated, based on a heavy Fall selling season with closings from fall sales pushed into the later months of the year. I think we can expect to see that bump again this year. Perhaps not as high as last year, but still a good uptick.

Nationwide, homebuyers in the U.S. are growing more anxious about their ability to afford a home of their own. A recent Redfin survey asked 1,887 homebuyers about their concerns surrounding the home buying process, with 28.1% of those people stating that affordability was their biggest concern. The next-biggest share of responses was anxiety about competition in the market, with 13% of respondents choosing it as their biggest concern. Particularly among Millennials, the concern about affordability of homes is growing more predominantly, with nearly half of first-time buyers being driven to the housing market because of high rent prices. However, in Marin, we definitely have more affordable options than say, the Peninsula and San Francisco, in terms of certain amenities. Larger lots, for example. There are pockets of Marin that are affordable that maybe just require a little more research to find. Some areas are yet to be “discovered,” such as Bel Marin Keys, Hamilton, and areas of Fairfax that are “affordable” in Marin’s market and still provide close proximity to the freeway with views, and large lots.  

Fun fact: According to the local MLS, the highest-selling home in August in Marin was 215 Woodland Road in Kentfield, which sold for $6,220,000

Depending on taste, the luxury market in Marin is generally defined by casual elegance, great views, ample square footage, access to the outdoors, pools, large backyard areas, and custom finishes. To us, however, the real luxury of Marin is the lifestyle we are able to live here. The luxury markets of Tiburon, Belvedere, and Kentfield each saw a decrease in their minimum sale price in August, while Ross had a 101% increase in its median sale price. What does this mean for the luxury market? Inventory is still steady, with $5+ million range properties on the market, and multiple properties in the luxury market still available. Currently, there are 7 homes for sale in Ross, ranging between $2,100,000 and $22,900,000, respectively. In neighboring Kentfield, there are 13 active listings, ranging between $1,149,000 and $5,495,000. In Tiburon, there are 34 properties for sale, the least expensive priced at $1,675,000, and the most expensive property at $14,925,000. On another note, as reported on the MLS, Novato had only 5 homes for sale in the $2 million range in 2016.

Price and Volume of Condominiums Sold in Marin

There were 59 condominiums sold in Marin in the month of August, with a median sale price of $628,000. The average days on market was 42. At a significantly higher selling price than this time last year, reflected in the graph, this may mean that homebuyers in Marin are opting for a less expensive option by seeking a condo rather than single family dwelling. As of this writing, there are 91 condominiums on the market in Marin, 10 of which are brand new.

More good news for buyers out there are the very low interest rates holding steady (generally between 3.75% and 4.5% now, depending on your credit worthiness). There are two key items that point to no Fed rate hike soon. First, the Fed has NEVER raised rates just before an election. Second, there is a huge reset of worldwide loans tied to the LIBOR index. Both of these should prevent the Fed from doing anything at their September meeting. Their next meeting after the election in mid-November is one of the meetings in which no press conference is called; they do a press conference every other meeting. Most experts agree that the Fed would not raise rates at a meeting in which Chair Yellen could not hold a press conference after. That leaves December as the earliest to expect a rate hike by the Fed.

Lastly, what's going on in other Bay Area Markets? While prices here in Marin never seem to hit drastic highs or lows, our value has seemed to slowly but steadily climb over the years. While Marin homes tend to successfully hold their value, other parts of the Bay Area have different trends that we thought would be helpful to highlight here.

Median Sale Price of Single Family Homes in Bay Area Counties

The Costa Group has an intimate knowledge of the City of San Francisco and the Marin County neighborhoods and amenities.  With our 30+ years of experience, we are your partners, in listening, understanding and negotiating for you.  From San Francisco to Marin County, we've sold 100's of homes and placed families of all shapes and sizes into Single Family Residences, Urban Dwellings, Penthouses, Condominiums, New Developments, Victorians, Edwardians, Apartments, Flats and Income Property. We invite you to learn more about us and see how The Costa Group can elevate your life and bring you home.