The themes for our August Marin County report usually reflect on how fast the summer went, how we're all trying to eke out a few more vacation days before Labor Day, back to school shopping and anticipation of the market gearing back up again. Not much has changed this year, only Summer has been anything but quiet. New inventory and what was left over from this past Spring, seemed to slip easily into escrow keeping the number of deals buoyant this past month (208 vs. 195 same time last year), but with prices rising just a tad (Marin median at $1,210,000 vs. $1,186,000)!
With school looming on the horizon (some are even starting as we speak), we are seeing lots of buyers scrambling to get into contract, finally scooping up the inventory that's been sitting for a while. Or, perhaps they just realized that making a move in a slower season might actually allow them to beat out the competition. Whatever the motivation, there are still signs of pent up demand and we hope that will be alleviated in the coming months.
Interest rates remain moderately low and still quite attractive, though they are inching a little higher and expected to continue to rise through the end of the year according to The Mortgage Reports.
From the field we are hearing stories of busy stagers and agents preparing properties for sale after Labor Day -- good indications for a healthy Fall. But, these proclamations rarely excite us any more as the numbers never truly seem to meet our current demand. We still say if there's a property that works for you and you can make the numbers work, grab it! It's a great time now just before Labor Day where maybe some of the buyers and their agents have their eye off the ball. There are some great opportunities out there, and it's only a matter of time before they all get snatched up!
You'll notice it's difficult to find any kind of common ground with the numbers above. The luxury market of Ross, for instance, traded seven times more properties (albeit a small sample size) but saw it's median price drop in half, year over year. Tiburon on the other hand, lowered in numbers sold, but raised its median price just slightly. No surprise with Novato and San Rafael increasing their units sold and also median prices. San Anselmo, Kentfield and Greenbrae homes appreciated well while Larkspur took a bit of a decline while increasing units by one.
With fewer properties under $1 million selling, prices have definitely risen in that category. That's also making the higher price categories up until $2 million much hotter and selling much faster. Home sales in the $3 to $5 million range have slowed significantly, as have those properties above $5 million, but we are seeing more of the luxury properties selling, though likely at a discount from their original prices. Properties with longer days on market are the most ripe for price reductions, but watch those reductions carefully as they can often generate multiple offers, so best get in before that happens. We recommend taking the plunge and putting in a lower than asking offer before they reduce to avoid the competition. It's always so curious to understand why people just don't do that more often. Figure out what you can afford and what you're willing to pay for the property. The worst a seller can say is no.