Marin Market Update-April 2017

Photo credit Keep Marin Marin

Photo credit Keep Marin Marin

The first quarter of 2017 has been strong. Strong, from a real estate perspective, in that with little inventory in the Bay Area, Marin buyers are stepping up and making deals happen. Good news for those bold buyers getting into contract, not so great news for those missing out in multiple offer situations -- whether it's because they are being beaten out by all cash offers; were not prepared to purchase $200,000 over the asking price; are unable to waive certain contingencies; or simply got edged out by the next slightly better offer. It can be frustrating as a buyer, for sure, and we can only hope that more inventory will continue to flow into the market in Q2. We are hopeful.

Two interesting scenarios:

  • A home in Kentfield on the market for $1,795,000 had nine offers, four of which were all cash, and went about $605,000 over asking.
  • A gorgeous 4BR/3BA home in Corte Madera with a comfortable modern floor plan, bedrooms upstairs, views and ample yard space listed for $1,825,000 and was reduced to $1,795,000 after a week, then quickly went into contract.   

So, there does seem to be some limitations from buyers who are apprehensive about value, but at the same time there doesn’t appear to be a bubble that’s about to burst. Prices are holding steady in most areas, and rising in others. While every market is different (every micro market, that is), the lower end of the market is white hot. Buyers who question whether or not to go all out on their offer may in fact be pricing themselves out of the market. That sale that someone else just got because of their ridiculously high offer is now the most recent comp. And, so goes the upward spiral. 
Prices may never be as low as they are today! A bold statement, and yes, indeed we may reach a plateau where prices do cool a bit, perhaps even with some mild depreciation, but if you are intending to live in that new home for at least five years or more, chances are it’s a pretty sound long-term investment that will see appreciation.

Price increases may be frightening, since any time home prices hit new highs, there is a fear that it could come crashing down. For the most part, housing prices in Marin have continued to rise year over year, seen in the graph above. Dips and surges are to be expected due to extreme market forces and basic supply and demand, but all in all, Marin housing prices have increased historically. I love this graph as it really does tell the story of Marin being a solid and sound investment over time. 

If you’re a seller considering whether or not to put your home on the market, our current market can offer a ton of opportunity. Buyers are out there and hungry for inventory. Even the most motivated buyers who are taking advantage of the "spring selling season" have likely lost out on a couple of competitive bids. They are educated about the market and ready to do what it takes to get the deal done. The looming fear that interest rates may rise is also putting some added pressure on the game, but right now interest rates are staying at enticing levels, so conditions of late spring really are creating the perfect storm for sellers.
With the first month of Spring officially underway, we are experiencing excitement about new listings, surprises of quick closing escrows, and a hot market of properties under $1 million; 109 properties sold in the first quarter of 2017 in this range. Not as many as last year, but keeping pace for sure.
Inventory has always been scarce in Marin, so we still advise that if you see something you like, jump on it! Buying “potential” also pays off; look for those diamonds in the rough with a low price per square footage ratio, and a good solid location (a strong consideration for resale). A property can always be improved with a good design sense and some old fashioned elbow grease.
This quarter, the median home sale price in Marin was $1,180,000, a six percent increase from the first quarter of 2016 (which had a $1,115,000 median sales price). And, with 277 homes sold in the first three months of 2017 alone, we think it may be a very productive Spring selling season. Even the $1 million to $1.5 million range started off 2017 with a boom, with a total of 79 properties sold in the first quarter.   

Single Family Homes Sold in First Quarter 2017 vs First Quarter 2016

We saw median home price appreciation in Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Anselmo, and Tiburon, with the most dramatic price increase in Mill Valley, up 18% from the first quarter last year. Stinson Beach and Tiburon each saw sale price increases with around the same number of properties sold, two and 16 respectively, indicating a higher property value for homes sold in these areas, although the number of homes remained the same.
January and February of this year were reasonably slower, with March really taking numbers higher for the quarter; 71 homes sold in January, with a median home sale price of $1,100,000, and 76 sold in February with a median sale price of $1,174,500. In March alone, 130 single family homes were sold, reaching a median sale price of $1,255,000 county wide; an even higher price than the first quarter!
We also saw Fairfax pass the $1 million median sale price mark, with a 21% increase since this time last year. Properties in Fairfax and reaching out towards West Marin have been in no short demand, as buyers are seeing potential in single family homes that might need a little TLC, but are at the right price. And, in a market as competitive as Marin’s, this may be a very promising strategy.
San Rafael, Novato, and Mill Valley remain the cities with the most inventory, with San Anselmo creeping into that group with 19 homes sold in the first quarter of 2017.

The highest selling Marin home sold in the first quarter was 345 Golden Gate Avenue in Belvedere, for $14,460,000 after 162 days on the market

Trends of Homes Sold in Marin in Varying Price Ranges in the First Quarter

Marin remains a coveted place to call home, attracting a plethora of financially capable buyers seeking homes and investments. Homes in the under $1 million range and homes under $3 million stayed on the market for a noticeably shorter time period than in the first quarter of 2016, seen above. $1.5-$2 million homes in the first quarter of 2017 were on the market for approximately 16 days less than the same range of homes in the first quarter of 2016.  
Also important to note is that there’s significantly less inventory this quarter, as more homes in all price ranges were available at this time last year. However, this is a good indication for buyers and sellers alike that properties that hit the market spark an immediate interest in buyers, and properties in all ranges (especially those in the hot $1 million and under range) can go fast!

115 condominiums sold in the first quarter, with a $570,000 median sale price. As of this writing, there are 61 condominiums on the market in Marin, highlighting the fact that buyers still find condominiums in Marin County attractive alternatives for either a business investment, or an alternative to a larger single family home.

We hope you will allow The Costa Group to help you buy or sell in Corte Madera, Fairfax, San Anselmo, Belvedere or elsewhere in Marin County. As our reviews attest, we offer extraordinary service to elevate your life and bring you home.