The January 2018 Marin County Real Estate Market Report
My Coastal Listing “Sea Arches” Closed in December, Photo by Matt McCourtney
Happy New Year! Welcome to my first Marin real estate market report for 2018. I hope you all had a wonderful, restful holiday season, and are filled with the hope and optimism that a new year brings.
December was a typically sleepy month in the market as both buyers and sellers celebrated the holiday. My sellers of “Sea Arches” on the Mendocino Coast were pleased to close on the sale of their beautiful estate. The sale of this estate took some time, but our strategy was to wait for the right buyer at the right price. In the end, all were happy. I am going to miss traveling up to this beautiful home.
Looking Back at 2017 – What a Year!
2017 was another strong year for the Bay Area real estate market, with the median price up almost 17% in December 2017 versus December 2016. Shortage of inventory — a national complaint — also impacted our market all year, with inventory down close to 20% versus the same month last year. Watch out for those articles that compare one month to the prior month – the seasonal nature of our market drives some pretty big fluctuations. I always like to compare to the same month a year ago to note the trends.
I cannot thank all of you enough for all your support in 2017. I had my best year since entering the industry and was thrilled to learn from Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty that I was ranked #1 in Marin County. I truly love working in real estate and couldn’t do it without your referrals and encouragement. My sincere gratitude.
I am privileged to be in the company of the esteemed agents above at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty.
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Marin County Top Home Sales in 2017
I look at homes all day for a living, and I still get excited when I see a new one for the first time. I had a great time putting together my annual Top 10 Most Expensive Homes Sold in Marin County in 2017 Article and invite you to take a moment to see some of the jaw-dropping homes that sold last year.
While we are used to Southern Marin getting the attention with its fabulous homes, in 2017 we saw record-breaking price appreciation in Central Marin as well. In fact, an all-time record was broken with the sale of a home in San Rafael for $7,300,000. If you have a moment, check out the Top 10 Most Expensive Homes Sold in San Rafael in 2017.
The Impact of Tax Reform on the Marin County Real Estate Market
Last month I promised to discuss the tax reform that just passed prior to Christmas. According to most media reports, as well as the National Association of Realtors, the package is not good news for the super-hot California real estate industry. As you have probably read, the reform limits deductability of state and local taxes (SALT) as well as sets caps on deducting mortgage interest. The NAR notes that by doubling the standard deduction, Congress has greatly reduced the value of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions as tax incentives for homeownership. Congressional estimates indicate that only 5-8% of filers will now be eligible to claim these deductions by itemizing, meaning there will be no tax differential between renting and owning for more than 90% of taxpayers. Again, the consequences of this are felt more keenly in California than other parts of the country due to California’s higher overall tax rate and higher home prices.
It remains to be seen whether this will impact the Marin County and greater San Francisco Bay Area real estate markets. Many first time homebuyers who are stretching to buy a home have counted on the deductions to improve for affordability of buying so this may have a greater impact on the lower end of the market, which has been the most active. I predict it will have less impact on the higher end of the market where buyers are often all (or mostly) cash and whose income levels meant that they were already subject to mortgage interest deductibility phaseouts and AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax). However, my crystal ball is at the cleaners so we will just have to wait and see if this impacts our market.
Keep An Eye on the Stock Market
The Marin County real estate market closely tracks the stock market. When the stock market performs well, as it has been doing the past year, the Marin market does well. I would put much more emphasis on the stock market versus the new tax plan. Generally, forecasts for the market are very positive for the first half of the year, which implies a strong spring selling season.
As always, I am happy to discuss the Marin real estate market with you — just give me a call at 415-847-5584. Please scroll down to see this month’s Marin real estate market graphs.
Marin County Real Estate Market Report January 2018 Dashboards
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. Keep an eye on some of the trends we are seeing — that while inventories remain tight, sellers are having a hard time pushing pricing higher than last year. Bottom line: price your home for this market, not for the market in early 2016.
BUYERS: For home buyers, the good news is that more balance is coming to the Marin real estate market even though inventories are tight. Look for homes that are well-priced 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.
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.
This handy calculator is a great place to start. Then give me a call and let’s discuss.
“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
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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:
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.
What do YOU think? What would you like to see in this report going forward? Please leave your comments in the section below.