The January 2018 Marin County Real Estate Market Report

Sea Arches Exterior Aerial View Mendocino Coastal Home for Sale

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.

Marin County Top Real Estate Agent 2017 Thomas Henthorne

I am privileged to be in the company of the esteemed agents above at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty.

Prefer to Watch the Video Version of This Report?

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

Infographic tax reform impact on California 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.

View of the Mendocino Coast

Marin County Real Estate Market Report January 2018 Dashboards

Marin County Real Estate Dashboard:
Home Prices


For sale prices increased by 16.9% versus last month and increased by 7.7% vs. the same month a year ago.


Average sold prices increased by 7.1% vs. last month and increased by 17.5% vs. the same month a year ago.


The median home price increased 4.8% versus last month and increased 16.9% vs. the same month a year ago.


The average price per square foot sold increased by 3.2% vs. last month and increased by 13.7% vs. the same month last year.

All information courtesy of and copyright by BAREIS MLS and TrendGraphix.
Dashboard compiled by Thomas Henthorne, all rights reserved.

Marin County Real Estate Dashboard:
Inventory


Number of homes for sale decreased 40% vs. last month and decreased 18.4% vs. the same month in 2016. New listings decreased 50% versus December 2016.


Number of homes sold decreased 40% vs. last month and decreased 9.1% vs. the same month in 2016.


Months of inventory flat vs. last month and down 8.7% compared to the same month last year.


The average days on market increased by 13.6% vs. last month and decreased 20.6% vs. last year.

All information courtesy of and copyright by BAREIS MLS and TrendGraphix.
Dashboard compiled by Thomas Henthorne, all rights reserved.

National Real Estate Market Update

Courtesy of Wells Fargo:

“We have confidence that we are at a significant turning point in the housing recovery.”

“Single-family construction appears poised for stronger gains in 2018. The leading edge of the Millennials will turn 37 in 2018 and more than half the cohort will be 29 or over. At this point in their lives, more Millennials are forming households and looking to purchase a home. While we expect the cities to hold onto a greater proportion of this cohort than prior generations, the overwhelming majority of Millennials are settling in the suburbs, which is helping revive suburban growth. Aging Baby Boomers are another potent driver, with retirees flocking to the Sun Belt and reigniting growth of retirement havens in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Arizona and Nevada. Trade-up buyers are still largely missing in action, however, as homeowners are choosing to remain in their existing homes longer than they have previously.

The greatest challenges for the single-family market remain the overall lack of inventory in the existing home market, high land development costs, shortages of lots in desirable areas, and rising prices for building materials. In addition, modest income growth since the Great Recession and high debt burdens by Millennial buyers continue to weigh on affordability. We look for home sales and new home construction to strengthen in coming years but only modestly so from their recent pace.”

Please click here to read the full report from Wells Fargo

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
  • Single-level
  • Easy commute
  • Walk to restaurants and shops
  • Views
  • 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.

Marin County Real Estate Market Report Charts

(click any slide to enlarge & launch slideshow)

“For Sale” vs. Sold Home Prices vs. Median Home Prices

Marin Home Prices Historical Chart

Marin Home Prices List Price vs. Sold

Marin County Real Estate Market Report Selling Price vs Asking Price Chart

Marin County Months of Inventory Based on Closed Sales

Months of housing inventory Marin County

Average Price Per Square Foot

Average Price Per Square Foot Marin Homes

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:

Kentfield Real Estate Market Update

Mill Valley Real Estate Market Update

San Rafael Real Estate Market Update

Tiburon Real Estate Market Update

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.

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What do YOU think? What would you like to see in this report going forward? Please leave your comments in the section below.

2 replies
  1. Judy LeMarr
    Judy LeMarr says:

    What a year, indeed! Always fun to dive back in after a sort of quiet, holiday month in December. Wishing you a fantastic start to the new year.

    Reply

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