Welcome to my Marin County Real Estate Market Report for March 2017! The spring season has officially begun — each day I see between 10 and 20 homes come to market in Marin. My open houses have been very busy for my new listing (above) at 65 Los Ranchitos Road in San Rafael. Buyers are out in force after a long winter’s hibernation. For those of us who love the real estate scene in Marin, this is our favorite time of year.
Incidentally, the above photo has been a huge hit with buyers and the community on social media. Everyone loves the home and the ’57 Chevy, and of course the often-asked question is “Does the car come with the house?’ to which I always respond, “Everything is negotiable.”
The initial signs from February and early March are encouraging, with agents seeing a great deal of activity throughout the county. Compared to the same month in 2016, we saw about the same number of homes for sale, but the number of homes sold was actually down about 13.5%. The good news is that the number of homes in contract (“pended”) was up slightly which indicates to me that buyers were sitting out the season’s ferocious winter waiting for the weather and the housing inventory to improve. We are supposed to see the thermometers break 70 degrees tomorrow in Marin so I would say “buyers start your engines” and indeed they are.
Last year there was much discussion about the very high-end luxury market weakening, which it did in 2016 vs. 2015. So far this year there are some good signs in the high-end, perhaps driven by the surging stock market. Six Marin county properties ranging from $4,595,000 to $8,685,000 went into contract in February and March. Most of these went into contract very quickly after going on the market, including my listing at 8 Woodland Place in Kentfield, listed for $6,300,000. This is a very good sign for the luxury home market and for the Marin real estate season in general.
San Francisco Real Estate News
March brings “selection day” when parents in San Francisco find out whether their children were accepted to their school of choice. Those that aren’t happy with the results often begin a search in Marin, attracted to our outstanding schools. Per the San Franciso Business Times, bidding wars are becoming more rare in San Francisco as that market has softened. While that is true, I do have one battle story to share with you…
In last month’s market report, I announced that 124 Lily Street in San Francisco went into escrow in just 5 days. I am pleased to report that the property sold for $455,000 over the asking price at $3,250,000. This was a highly-desirable home in a highly-desirable neighborhood of San Francisco — Hayes Valley — where it is rare to find newer construction single-family homes. I partnered with agent David Costello and we worked with the sellers to price the home at the market price but definitely in this case the market took it up.
This is a good example that it is almost impossible to under-price a home because the buyers set the price, not the sellers or the agents. Overpricing a home can have the opposite effect, where the final sales price may end up lower than it would have been if the home had been priced correctly when first presented.
This is the last month I’ll be writing this column as a Decker Bullock Sotheby’s agent. Next month, we launch Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, which expands Marin’s #1 brokerage into Silicon Valley. Global presence plus local expertise is a huge plus for our clients, both buyers and sellers.
Key Takeaways in the March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Report:
- The number of homes sold ⬆ increased by 3.8% versus the prior month and ⬇ decreased by 13.5% versus February 2016
- The average active “for sale” price ⬇ decreased by 4.5% and the average sold price ⬇ decreased by 7.9% vs. February 2016
- The average price per square foot sold ⬆ increased by 2.6% vs. last month but ⬇decreased by 3.4%% vs. February 2016.
- The months of inventory ⬆ increased by 13.8% vs. the prior month and ⬆ increased 18.7% vs. February 2016.
- The median price of homes sold ⬆ increased by 8% vs. last month but ⬇ decreased by 3.4% vs. February 2016.
- The average days on market ⬇ decreased 18.8% vs. last month and by 34.1% vs. the unusually high February 2016.
What Does This Mean In Plain English?
Inventories are increasing, sales prices are decreasing, and homes are selling more quickly than prior month and prior year. To me this means that the trend we saw last fall, where “for sale” prices were increasing while “sold” prices were decreasing, which may have indicated sellers out of sync with buyers, is coming back into balance. The real estate market is a beautiful thing — it eventually always adjusts.
It is too early to say what the rest of the spring reason will look like, but I am encouraged. We are off to a good start.
What I said last month (and the month before!) bears repeating…..
SELLERS: If you’re thinking of selling your home, look carefully at both the increases in inventory (more competition in an admittedly tight market) and in list prices and the decreases in average sold prices. Bottom line: price your home for this market, not for the market in early 2016 or 2015.
BUYERS: For home buyers, the good news is that more balance is coming to the Marin real estate market, and even though inventories are tight they are better than where they were the same period last year. Look for homes that are well-priced and be prepared to move quickly as the intensely competitive spring market ramps up. Set up property alerts on my website so you can immediately see new homes on the market. (You may wish to read my article Buying a Home in Marin County for more tips and advice.)
Now on to the charts….
“For Sale” vs. Sold Home Prices vs. Median Home Prices
March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Report: Marin Home Prices List Price vs. Sold
March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Report Months of Inventory Based on Closed Sales
March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Report Average Price Per Square Foot
Want to see this data for your town only?
I am also now rolling out market update charts for selected towns in Marin. Please click the below for local real estate market updates & charts:
Just One More: Here Comes Spring…
I hope you have found my March 2017 Marin County Real Estate Market Report informative. Please feel free to add your comments, questions or suggestions in the comments section below. If I may be of any assistance in helping you attain your real estate goals, please call or text me at 415-847-5584 and I will be in touch right away.
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