Marin County Real Estate Market Report December 2018
Happy Holidays to You and Yours!
Welcome to my Marin County real estate market report for December 2018. This is of course my last market update for 2018, and I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your support over the year. I continue to love every minute of my real estate career, and a big part of that is getting to know people that share the same passion. May you and yours have a wonderfully happy holiday season!
The 2018 real estate market in the Bay Area is going out with a whimper instead of the “bang” of prior years. The national and local real estate markets have definitely slowed down, as rising interest rates, a faltering stock market and limited deductibility of state / local taxes and mortgage interest have all taken their toll. In November 2018 we saw a whopping 45% more homes on the market than in November 2017 while new listings decreased by about 20%. This indicates to me that the surge of inventory we saw after Labor Day — much higher than prior years — did not completely sell and will likely remain on the market through spring.
Home Inventories Up While Pricing Beginning to Flatten and Decline
The median sold price was about flat to last year at this time instead of up the double digits we have seen in almost every other market report this year. This indicates that the laws of supply and demand are in play. As the supply increases, prices decline if demand does not increase commensurately. This is the first month I can remember in a long time where we did not see an increase in the median sold price versus prior year. If you scroll down to my dashboards below, you will see that pricing metrics are flat to down across the board.
Also noticeable is the months of inventory, a metric based on how many months it would take to sell the homes on the market based on closed sales, is up 118% versus the same time last year.
The Impact of Rising Interest Rates and a Volatile Stock Market
Freddie Mac predicts that the national real estate market will adjust to the rising mortgage interest rates and resume modest growth. The big unknown is the stock market, which is very closely correlated to the real estate market, especially here in the Bay Area.
Wells Fargo just published their December 2018 Housing Chartbook, and said:
“Modest Improvement Is Still Likely in 2019, Despite Recent Weakness: Home sales and new home construction continued to lose momentum this past month. While the hurricanes that impacted parts of the Southeast and fires out West likely influenced the data, there is no denying buyer sentiment has weakened considerably as higher mortgage rates have further eroded affordability. Builders also face intensifying margin pressures, as potential buyers demand more affordable product, yet they have seen little to no relief in land development costs and are seeing costs rise for building materials, financing and labor. The pronounced weakness in home sales is particularly vexing because it comes at a time when consumer confidence is near multi-decade highs and the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in decades. While the recent slide in home sales was likely prompted by higher interest rates, the persistent weakness in housing is likely due to demographic shifts and the exceptionally high costs of suburban development. These hurdles are unlikely to relent in coming quarters, which means home sales and new home construction are likely to continue to under-perform the overall economy and underlying growth in households.”
I’m Never Too Busy For You
I am working with a number of buyers and sellers right now — so the market may be approaching winter but there is still business to be done.
Please keep an eye on My Featured Listings page or call me for details on homes coming soon or being held as pocket listings. Whether you are a buyer, a seller, or just want to learn more about the market for a potential future move, I am always happy to talk about the Marin real estate market.
These market reports are a great place to start — but let’s continue the conversation. Call me at 415-847-5584 and I can provide you with a personalized market overview tailored to your specific situation. To those who read this report, thank you for all your support of my business. I couldn’t do it without you.
Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty
Marin County Real Estate Market Report December 2018 Dashboards
“For Sale” vs. Sold Home Prices vs. Median Home Prices
Marin Home Prices List Price vs. Sold
Marin County Months of Inventory Based on Closed Sales
Average Price Per Square Foot
Marin County Number of Homes on the Market
What This Update Means For You
SELLERS: If you’re thinking of selling your home, don’t listen to your Uncle Fred at dinner who says it is a sellers market and buyers will pay anything. Buyers are well-educated and the majority in Marin County are working with very experienced and savvy agents who know values and comparative sales (“comps”). Keep an eye on some of the trends we are seeing — that while inventories are improving, sellers are having a hard time pushing pricing beyond what the comps would support.
BUYERS: For home buyers, the market is improving as more inventory comes online. However, an increasing percentage of homes never appear on MLS as they are sold “off-market” as pocket listings or top agent referrals. Work with a well-connected agent and be prepared to move quickly. Chances are you are looking for the same things most other buyers are also seeking (see my list below.) Set up property alerts on my website so you can immediately see new homes on the market, and make sure you are pre-qualified so you present a compelling offer. (You may wish to read my article Buying a Home in Marin County for more tips and advice.) One other tip: Ask your agent to run aged inventory reports in and above your price range. Sometimes there are some real gems that the market has overlooked due to pricing or other factors.
If you are a buyer looking only at online portals such as Redfin or Zillow, and not working with a well-connected agent, you’re not seeing all of the homes available in Marin County.
What Are Buyers Looking For Right Now?
In speaking with buyers, they want it all right now, with the following at the top of their lists:
- Great schools
- Easy commute
- Walk to restaurants and shops
- Quiet streets
- Remodeled homes in move-in condition
Smart buyers, which is almost all of them, realize they cannot have all of those attributes and buying a home in a market like Marin County is a series of tradeoffs. For example, they may choose to give up walking to restaurants to be in the hills with a view of the bay. In any event, we are seeing buyers that are more tech-savvy than ever and who have done their homework, reading market reports such as this one and spending a lot of time online looking at homes.
I hope you have found my 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.
This handy calculator is a great place to start. Then give me a call at 415-847-5584 and let’s discuss.
Would you like 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:
What do YOU think? What would you like to see in this report going forward? Please leave your comments in the section below.