Kyle Frazier, J.D., Broker Associate with Compass | (415) 350-9440

Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (February 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (February 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis)   Over the past few months, notable slowing of the luxury real estate market was apparent nationwide, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Marin County. This past month a slight up-tick has emerged in the Marin market as the number of homes in escrow has increased and buyer enthusiasm is improved. Open houses have been busy. Offers are being written. And agents who work the luxury market are noting a more focused approach by buyers. Meanwhile, the national numbers are generally flat or declining. For a detailed accounting of national trends, click here for the February 2009 Market Report from Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Note, if you would like a similar report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail me and I will send you a pdf of the report(s)–it is my pleasure to be of service.

The graph below reflects a 90-day rolling average of asking prices for homes in the topmost quartile (e.g. prices of the most expensive homes) in 3 touchstone Marin County cities: Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield. As you can see, over the past year, prices have declined in each. 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Note however, that a few homes in Kentfield marketed early last year were priced at the extreme high end, resulting in an exaggerated shift.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

There are 102 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million (as predicted this is way up from last month’s 69). Sellers are anxious to get their homes on the market early this year in hopes of getting jump on the market. We’ll see if this pays off. Certainly the number of sales fell off the cliff following the Septemer meltdown — there were 18 sales in October 2008 (these buyers were well into their escrow periods at the time of the meltdown) and just 5 in January 2009 (up one from December 2008).

Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley and Ross provided all the action last month in this price band. These homes averaged 119 days on market, sold for an average sales price of $2.465 million, with an average of 2,765 square feet (roughly $960 per square foot). Belvedere and Tiburon have 3 and 1 homes, respectively, currently in escrow; Ross has 2 and Kentfield has 1. 

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The number of ultra-luxury homes for sale (e.g., those priced in the $4 million and up range) rose to 39 active listings. These homes are often taken off the market for the Winter because: (1) the landscaping and general appearance of the grounds lack the pop and color of warmer months; (2) the sellers, who tend to be positioned such that an immediate sale is not required, do not care to be tormented by showings; and (3) by removing the home from the market for the Winter, the “days on market” clock is reset and begins again at zero.
As always, Belvedere and Tiburon provide the majority of ultra-luxury homes (nearly one-half). Other cities / towns with homes priced over $4 million include Kentfield, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, and San Rafael. There have been no sales in the past 3 months, which, despite the state of things, seems surprising. However, there are currently 2 such homes in escrow and I know of several imminent buyers buzzing about the opportunities at the price level. 
 

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

7

0

3

0

Belvedere

10

3

9

0

Tiburon

27

3

14

1

Mill Valley

14

0

3

1

Larkspur

4

0

0

0

Corte Madera

3

0

0

0

Kentfield

13

3

1

0

Greenbrae

1

0

0

0

Ross

2

1

5

0

San Anselmo

10

0

0

0

San Rafael

9

0

4

0

Novato

2

0

0

0

The above graph identifies the numbers of active listings and homes in contract in the Marin County luxury ($2 million to $4 million) and ultra-luxury ($4 million and up) home market segments. Note that all homes in contract are included in the category “Pending” even though some are technically “Contingent” properties (e.g., the buyers have not removed all contingencies). This information is limited to Marin County’s Highway 101 corridor towns and cities that consistently maintain a monthly inventory of luxury and ultra-luxury homes (Western Marin coastal homes are not included). Call Kyle Frazier, Marin Realtor & CRS, Broker Associate, Frank Howard Allen Realtors of Marin, at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information. You can also e-mail Kyle at mailto:Kyle@ImagineMarin.com.


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