Marin County Real Estate Market Report October 2018
35 Entrata Avenue in San Anselmo – Just Listed!
Welcome to my Marin County real estate market report for October 2018, with the latest information and charts on the home buying and selling scene here in Marin. The big story this month is the increase in the number of homes for sale versus the same time last year. We saw overall home inventories increase by about 25% in September 2018 versus September 2017, while the median sold price was up close to 15% versus the same time last year.
Agents and buyers may be asking where this inventory was back in the big spring market. If you have been reading my monthly real estate report, you know this is actually the first time all year we are seeing an increase in the number of homes for sale versus prior year. Evidence is anecdotal at best — but as you may recall we began the year with a lot of stock market volatility, which may have scared some sellers. Other sellers found it difficult to conduct pre-sale repairs and renovations due to scarcity of labor caused by a hot job market combined with the impact of the construction work after last year’s Sonoma / Napa fires.
My contacts on the east coast as well as in the hot Seattle / Portland markets, and Los Angeles markets are all telling me they are seeing a slowdown versus last year. The economy is booming so it is unclear what is driving this. There is some concern that rising mortgage rates and reduced income tax deductions could be having an impact on home affordability, and we are seeing more people priced out of the entry home market despite the economy’s strength.
Mortgage Rates Expected to Increase
We are seeing mortgage rates gradually move upwards, and indications are we will continue to see that trend into next year. Recently Max Gustafson presented this chart to Marin real estate agents illustrating where Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors expects rates to land by the middle of next year:
As rates approach 5% it is expected we will see an impact on buyer sentiment — stay tuned.
I’m 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.
Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty
PACE OF SALES SLOWS
Following multiple years of very rapid home price appreciation, the pace of sales decreased. The sharp increase of home prices at the lower end of the housing segment pushed potential homebuyers out of the market, particularly first time buyers. As a result, affordability remains a major concern, and fewer households were able to purchase homes. Overall home sales declined by 9% year-over-year to approximately 13,600, following annual declines of 0.5% and 3% in the previous two quarters. In addition, because the pace of sales decreased, the median home price of $940,100 in the third quarter of 2018 was lower than the $1 million median price in the second quarter.
STILL PLENTY OF BUYERS
Although continued price appreciation pushed some households out of the lower-end of the housing segment, there is still strong demand in the middle and upper-end of the housing market. In fact, a household would need to make approximately $200,000 annually to afford a home priced at $1.2 million, and approximately 20% of all households in the Bay Area, or 583,000 households, had a median income of at least $200,000 in 2017. Reflecting the large pool of buyers at the middle- and upper-end of the market, the number of homes sold between $1.5 and $3 million increased by4.9% and homes more than $3 million rose by 14.8% within the last year. Even though the median home price in the third quarter was lower compared with the prior quarter, strong demand for upper-end homes still pushed the overall median home price up by 11% year-over year.
Marin County Real Estate Market Report October 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 remain tight, 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.