Marin County Real Estate Market Report
The Incredible Two-Bridge Mt Tam View at My New Listing 28 Lochness Lane in San Rafael
Welcome to my Marin County real estate market report for February! The law of supply and demand is in full effect – and those who thought that the market would rise indefinitely may be disappointed this year. Inventories in January increased by 56% vs. the same time in the prior year, and the median sold price was down close to 14%. The Marin County real estate market has definitely entered a new phase — reversing the multi-year-long trend of low inventories and steadily increasing prices.
Home Inventories Predicted to Surge in the Spring Season
Regular readers of my monthly real estate market report will remember that the pattern of “inventories down, prices up” began to shift just after Labor Day last year, and has continued since then. Calling inspectors last week to set up inspections for my new (BEAUTIFUL!) listings coming soon, most inspectors were already fully booked for the month of February. That is unprecedented at this time of the year, at least compared to the last 4 years or so. To me this is an indicator that we are going to see a lot of homes come on the market this spring, as well as those that didn’t sell last fall likely re-appearing on MLS.
As I said above in my introduction, we saw inventories increase and pricing decline in January 2019 compared to January 2018. We are also seeing sellers begin to compromise on their pricing, knocking an average of 7% off the list price last month to get their homes into contract. This is compared to the hot spring season last year, where selling price vs. original listing price was close to 100% for that critical March / April / May period. The median sold price was down 13.6% in January compared to the prior year.
What’s driving this? We still have a good local and national economy, and new houses are not being built in Marin. The answer may be hidden in my paragraphs above. For years we saw inventories that were down year on year. Many who might have decided to sell during those years may have chosen instead to “hang on a little longer” since the market was steadily marching up. Now that the market is flattening and even declining, those same people may have decided to sell, fearing it may decline further.
Paging Chicken Little?
No, it’s not quite time to run around screaming “the sky is falling.” While sellers may be disappointed that they may not be able to command the pricing of the top of the market, pricing is still very strong compared to where we were several years ago. Generally a balanced market is still a healthy market.
Buyers and sellers should keep in mind that appropriately-priced and well-presented homes will continue to command a premium in this market. There are still plenty of home shoppers out there who have the funds — driven by a healthy bay area economy — to purchase their dream homes in Marin. The Federal Reserve recently announced they are finished raising interest rates for a while, which should also help stabilize the situation.
I Am Never Too Busy For You
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.
Marin County Real Estate Market Report January 2019 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: The sellers’ market of years past is quickly fading away, being replaced by a market that is much more balanced. 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”). Overpricing in a flattening to declining market can be a fatal mistake, causing your property to become stale and languish on the market. Now, more than ever, an experienced agent armed with the latest market facts and trends is critical. REMEMBER THE THREE P’S: PRICE, PRESENTATION, AND PRICE.
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. Sellers may not have caught up with the changing dynamics of the market now — and it may take more negotiation than in the past to strike a deal.
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.
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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:
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