Kyle Frazier, J.D., Broker Associate Ι Pacific Union International | Christies International Real Estate | (415) 350-9440

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

Real estate sales in Marin County’s luxury segment are currently weighted towards homes priced under $4 million. In fact, not a single home priced above $4 million is in escrow (although that could change in a moment as the domino effect is very real in home sales). But, as it stands, the ultra-luxury home sales segment is flat-lining in Marin County, CA. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click here (May 17, 2009 Report). Note, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is improving: the West experienced a 42.5% jump in housing starts; the National Association of Homebuilders reported increased confidence (as high as it has been in 9 months); and construction and permits both rose last month (these are considered leading indicators on the macro level relating to housing stability). Nonetheless, the inertia of caution remains firm.

Buyers are dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year prices in Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield). But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, many buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers).

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

Curiously, inventory levels in Kentfield and Mill Valley have risen moderately over last year, while Belvedere’s inventory has skyrocketed by over 60%. Prediction: Belvedere prices will continue to recede markedly through Q4 2009. Indeed, we can see that trend has set in dramatically in the above chart.

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

Despite the apparent slowdown, open houses have been extremely busy. Offers are being written. And our agents are noting a more focused approach by buyers. We are also starting to see buyers lose out on properties they loved because they assumed there was no urgency in writing an offer. 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.

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

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

The scuttle on the street is that the 2009 Spring selling season will continue through the Summer as buyers spend time between school years to locate and buy the perfect home at a value price. Inventory has climbed to 146 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million (up from 130 last month and 110 in March). Since the emergence of the “new economy,” post-October 2008, sales numbers in this price band are down. For example, there were 18 sales in October 2008 (a relatively strong time of year for sales and, of course, these buyers were well into their escrow periods at the time of the meltdown). In February 2009, we recorded just 2 sales. In April 2009, that number jumped back up to 8 sales.

Cities recording sales in this price band include: Tiburon (1), Belvedere (1), Sausalito (1), Mill Valley (2), Corte Madera (1), and Kentfield (2). These homes averaged 81 days on market (a testament to pricing your home to sell from the outset). Their average sales price was $2.458 million (roughly $721 per square foot), with an average of 3,547 square feet. We also have a good number of homes in the escrow pipeline, including homes in Belvedere (3), Tiburon (4), Mill Valley (5), Ross (5), and Kentfield (2). Last month, 25% of the contracts for homes in escrow were cancelled. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is well over 1-year.

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

As expected, the inventory level of Marin County’s flat-lining ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) rose last month by 33% to 60 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, and Ross. There was just 1 sale in Belvedere. The Belvedere home was a remodeled estate with jetliner views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco — it sold for $5.4 million (about $1,148/per sq. ft.). There are no homes currently in escrow in this price range. Marin cities and towns with homes priced over $4 million include Tiburon, Belvedere, Sausalito, Kentfield, Ross, Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Novato. The absorption rate for these homes cannot be accurately stated as the number of sales is too low to be meaningful.

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

10

0

6

0

Belvedere

19

3

11

1

Tiburon

32

4

21

0

Mill Valley

29

5

4

0

Larkspur

9

0

0

0

Corte Madera

2

0

0

0

Kentfield

12

2

4

0

Greenbrae

3

0

0

0

Ross

9

5

9

0

San Anselmo

8

0

0

0

San Rafael

9

1

4

0

Novato

4

0

1

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).

By: Kyle Frazier, Marin Realtor & CRS, Broker Associate, Morgan Lane Marin Real Estate, at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information. You can also e-mail Kyle at mailto:Kyle@ImagineMarin.com.

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.

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

Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (January 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis)   While many bankers, lawyers, and executives received annual bonuses this year, many others did not. It can be expected that the resulting impact on the luxury market will be felt. Last month I noted a sluggish high end for Marin County real estate and nothing much has changed. In fact, sales and escrows slowed further. National number reflect a similar trend. Click here to view the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s Housing Report dated 1/4/09. 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.

There are 69 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million (down from 85 last month). Since the September financial meltdown, the sales numbers in this market segment have taken a significant hit. For example, while there were 18 sales in October 2008 (these buyers were well into their escrow periods at the time of the meltdown), December 2008 recorded just 4 sales. Only Tiburon (with 3) and Belvedere (with 1) had homes sell in this price band last month. These homes averaged 49 days on market (these were homes priced to sell). Their average sales price was a fraction under $2.5 million (roughly $813 per square foot), with an average of 3,230 square feet. Belvedere and Tiburon have 3 and 2 homes, respectively, currently in escrow. Mill Valley, Larkspur, and Ross each have one home in escrow. 

The inventory level in Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) has dipped to 31 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. Other cities / towns with homes priced over $4 million include Kentfield, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, San Rafael, and Novato. There have been no sales in the past 2 months, which, despite the state of things, seems surprising. Generally, we would expect 2-3 sales per month during the slow season. And again, as with last month, zero ultra-luxury homes are in escrow–although these sales often get completed beneath the radar. 

 

 

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

4

0

1

0

Belvedere

6

3

6

0

Tiburon

23

2

13

0

Mill Valley

6

1

2

0

Larkspur

2

1

0

0

Corte Madera

1

0

0

0

Kentfield

9

0

2

0

Greenbrae

0

0

0

0

Ross

1

1

5

0

San Anselmo

9

0

0

0

San Rafael

6

0

2

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.

Kent Woodlands, Kentfield (Marin County)

Kent Woodlands is an unincorporated residential community located in Kentfield, Marin County, California. Kent Woodlands consists of approximately 550 residential lots located at the base of Mt. Tamalpais in the Ross Valley.

 

The neighborhood, with a population of about 1,700, is characterized by its large, heavily wooded home sites. It derives its name from the family of influential Marin pioneer William Kent (1864-1928), a three-term Republican congressman and friend of John Muir who played a leading role in creating both Muir Woods National Monument and Mount Tamalpais State Park.

 

Kentfield is blessed not only by good weather (when it is foggy in San Francisco and Southern Marin, it is sunny in Kent Woodlands), but also by low crime and some of the best schools in California, such as Bacich Elementary School. Hiking, biking, and fishing are right here–there is a string of lakes in the Tamalpais Watershed with virtually unlimited access.

Kent Woodlands is one of the Marin enclaves coveted by leaders of industry, actors, musicians, and sports figures.

Links of Interest:

If you have any questions about Kent Woodlands, Kentfield, or the Marin County luxury homes market, please let me know.

My name is Kyle Frazier. I am a broker and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Frank Howard Allen Realtors (the biggest and best firm in Marin County). And it is always my pleasure to be of service. I can be reached any time at (415) 350-9440.