Marin County Real Estate Market Report November 2018
Hoping You Are Having a Wonderful Fall!
Welcome to my Marin County real estate market report for November 2018, with the latest information and charts on the home buying and selling scene here in Marin. Last month we saw the number of homes for sale in Marin increase about 25% versus the same time last year, and this month that number increased to 36.1% more inventory on the market than in October 2017. The median price of homes sold last month was up 13.7% versus prior year, continuing a trend we have seen all year. Will prices continue to increase as inventory increases?
So what does this mean? I believe this is very healthy for the San Francisco Bay Area market. When you have a sellers’ market for this long, there is the risk of more and more buyers being priced out of the market and becoming long-term renters. A pause is a good thing. We are not seeing incomes rise at the ~10% rate of home prices, and here in the Bay Area the tech companies have taken a beating in the stock market this year, even as the broader market has wobbled then recovered several times in 2018.
We saw similar dynamics just before the 2016 Presidential election — markets, whether stock or real estate — do not like uncertainty. Though I am loathe to make predictions and always say my crystal ball is at the cleaners — I do think we will see a healthy spring market as long as the fundamentals of our economy (national, Bay Area and California) remain healthy. Continue reading for more analysis from the experts at the national level.
Real Estate in the News
A recent CBS Marketwatch article caught my eye with the dire headline: “Mortgage rates slide as echoes of 2006 haunt the housing market.” As you may recall, the 2006 market correction was preceded by some very unhealthy mortgage practices, such as stated income loans (“liar loans”) which destabilized that market and led to the fall in pricing around the country. There were many people then buying homes they could not afford, and I do not see that same dynamic today in the Bay Area market.
I also tweeted this article on my Twitter feed this week: “Amid surge in inventory, Bay Area home prices rise more modestly,” which discusses the dynamic throughout the bay area, proclaiming it good news for buyers who will have more to choose from. All nine counties that comprise the bay area saw declines versus last year, and the lowest sales numbers in eleven years.
Bottom line, as I have been saying in these reports for months now — sellers need to recognize that this is not the super hot market of 2016 and 2017, and adjust expectations accordingly. Normally this time of year my listing feed slows down, but I am seeing a record number of new listings come through, and significantly more price reductions than this time last year. While buyers have more to choose from than last year at this time, quality homes priced appropriately are still competitive. Buyers need great real estate agents / negotiators now more than ever.
See an article that you think is interesting? Please paste it in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
Wells Fargo National Spotlight: Home Sales Remain Soft
On November 7th the Wells Fargo Economics Group published an interesting article on the softening of the market at the national level. It begins:
“The economy does not simply grow or contract but rather is constantly evolving. This evolution is readily apparent when gauging the housing market. Sales of both new and existing homes have been weakening for the past six months and home price appreciation has finally broken from its earlier breakneck pace, even in many of the nation’s hottest housing markets. Inventories remain tight but are now growing again, and bidding wars are far less common. Buyers now have a little more negotiating power—something that used to be the norm. We term the current environment as a soft sellers’ market, as sellers remain in a stronger position than buyers due to the continued lack of supply in desirable markets. Buyers are a little more hesitant, however, due to higher mortgage rates and the impact of tax reform on higher priced homes.
The persistent slowdown in home sales over the past six months was initially thought to be a supply problem. Inventories of existing homes had been trending lower for more than three years before leveling off around the middle of this year. With fewer homes for sale, existing home sales were destined to fall and have done so. Sales of existing homes through the first nine months of 2018 are running 2.1% below their year-ago pace. New home sales have fared better, as construction has consistently run below the sum of household growth and replacement needs, creating pent-up demand. New home sales through September are running 3.6% ahead of their year-ago pace, although sales have clearly lost momentum more recently. First-time buyers are increasingly struggling with affordability, and higher mortgage rates are discouraging many potential buyers.”
The Impact of the 2018 Mid-Term Elections
As I write this, the mid-term elections have just wrapped up and pundits are busy analyzing the results and predicting the impact of a divided Congress on a variety of aspects of American life. Inman News said, “When it comes to real estate, don’t expect any sea changes coming from last night’s midterm election in which Democrats seized a majority in the House and Republicans tightened their control of the Senate. For one the housing market, unlike the stock market, does not make sudden moves based on events like elections.” They continued on to state that the cap on deducting property taxes could be changed through the amendment process. This would be very good for Californians who have higher property values — and thus higher property taxes — than many other parts of the United States. Please click here to read the full article from Inman News.
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. My listing at 35 Entrata Avenue in San Anselmo just went into pending status as I was working on this report, and I just launched a new pocket listing at 119 Crescent Road in Corte Madera (scroll down to see the photo, featured below.) 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
New From Thomas – Pocket Listing Not On MLS
Marin County Real Estate Market Report November 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. Well-prepared and well-priced homes are moving very quickly in this market.
BUYERS: For home buyers, this is a very tough market. 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.
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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:
What do YOU think? What would you like to see in this report going forward? Please leave your comments in the section below.