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

Marin Luxury Homes | Real Estate | April 2013 Report

Marin County sellers enjoyed the best of both worlds in the first quarter of 2013: Their homes sold quicker than they have in years, and median sale prices rose considerably. For buyers, it was another story. The supply of homes for sale continued to shrink and multiple offers were common – they often faced over a dozen offers for desirable, well-priced properties. In particular, first-time buyers (e.g., buyers who required financing) were disheartened as their bids were overcome by all-cash offers time and again.The tight market prompted a rise in off-market deals – transactions that close without ever being listed on real estate websites or multiple listing services. So far in 2013, I have had several properties close in this manner.Tiburon was especially active in all price points, especially the market for homes priced at $2 million and higher. In Novato, homes priced at $800,000 to $900,000 sold as soon as they became available, and sales rose noticeably in the $2 million-plus market. Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Corte Madera were also busy in the quarter.We also experienced fewer distressed homes coming to market. In recent years, the number of short sales, foreclosures, and bank-owned homes had been on the rise, but that supply has mostly sold. Investors remain active in the market, though their numbers are not as high as in 2011 and 2012.

Looking Forward: We expect to see more homes coming on the market in April and continuing through the summer months. Multiple offers will remain the norm throughout the second quarter, although a greater supply of homes will bring more balance to the market.

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Contact Kyle Frazier for sales data relating to these communities.

Sellers, Start Your Engines!
After record-breaking results in 2012 for units and volume of residential real estate, activity in the first quarter suggests 2013 will once again reach new highs. Local trends drive the dynamics of our markets, but overall we expect 15 to 17 percent increases in units sold in the Bay Area and price appreciation of 4 to 9 percent.The single most important dynamic driving this growth is our healthy regional job market. Economist Stephen Levy noted that the Bay Area led California job growth in January, with San Francisco at the forefront and the Oakland, Napa, Santa Rosa, and Vallejo metro areas all posting gains far above the state and national average.These are high-quality, high-paying jobs in the technology and professional services sectors. We believe confidence in jobs and business in general is driving consumer confidence and the intense pent-up demand for residential real estate. 2013 may be the last year of this cycle that money (mortgage interest rates) remains on sale as real estate prices lift from the bottom and consistent appreciation returns for a sustainable period of time.Intense demand is occurring even as the supply of available homes remains constrained, and coupled with modest price appreciation is driving the return of equity into homes. This may allow more sellers to realize gains, sell existing homes, and trade up to new dream homes or neighborhoods.These dynamics are occurring in nearly every one of the markets Pacific Union serves, and we expect it to entice move-up buyers to act – making them a likely source for new, mid-tier inventory.
 

The Sellers’ Market Heats Up

It has been a bitterly cold few years for would-be sellers in the Bay Area, but spring is bringing welcome warmth for both home values and buyer activity.Home prices have been rising for a year across all of Pacific Union’s eight regions in the Bay Area and Tahoe/Truckee. In San Francisco the median sales price of homes rose nearly 30 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, and double-digit increases were recorded in all other regions as well.In a recent Wall Street Journal survey economists agreed that home prices will continue rising at least through 2017, and the Bay Area’s strong economy suggests price increases here will outpace those in most of the rest of the nation.Those rising values translate to greater equity, and many homeowners who believe they are “underwater” – owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth – may be surprised to learn that they’ve regained equity based on recent sale prices for comparable homes in their neighborhood.Why the lift? In part it’s because a persistent shortage of homes for sale has created a veritable army of aggressive and highly motivated buyers who are willing to outspend the competition. For example, in our East Bay offices, 90 percent of transactions in the first quarter involved multiple offers; on average, homes sold for 13 percent over asking price.Homes in the Bay Area sold within weeks of coming on the market, frequently in all-cash deals, and multiple bids pushed sales prices above asking prices in all regions, much to the delight of sellers.
Click to view larger chart.
 

Overall, the increased velocity of real estate activity in the first quarter of 2013 was nothing short of remarkable.This means that sellers looking to trade up to a higher-priced home may now make significant gains in the current market. For example, consider a homeowner whose property was valued at $300,000 in 2006 but dropped 20 percent in value to $240,000, for a loss of $60,000. That same 20 percent drop in value for a higher-priced home – say, a $450,000 home now valued at $360,000 – gives a trade-up buyer savings of $90,000, or a net gain of $30,000 on the new home.Today’s low mortgage rates also offer serious savings to trade-up buyers. In 2002, when the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 6.5 percent, the monthly payment on a $500,000 loan was $3,160. At current rates, which hover around 3.6 percent, approximately the same loan payment would buy a home with a $700,000 mortgage – a net gain of $200,000.The benefit won’t last forever, so prospective sellers should move quickly: A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that rates will average 4.4 percent by the end of 2013. That 0.8 point rise will add $230 to the monthly payment on a $500,000 mortgage.So if you’re thinking about selling in this blazing market, don’t get burned by waiting too long. And count on the expertise of a real estate professional who knows the local market to help assess your home’s current value and prospects. Looks like it’s shaping up to be a hot season for sellers!If you have any questions or would like a custom market analysis of your home’s current likely sales price, please call me.

My name is Kyle Frazier. I am a Broker, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) with Christie’s Great Estates | Pacific Union International Realtors.

And if you are a buyer, I am also a member of the Top Agent Network (Top 10% in Marin County) and the Marin Platinum Group (Top 100 agents in Marin County). These are elite agent networks with access to dozens of homes being marketed informally and not on the MLS. It is always my pleasure to be of service. Call me at (415) 350-9440.

Marin Luxury Properties Report Pacific Union International – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (March 2011)

Pacific Union Int’l – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (March 2011) — As anticipated, February 2011 luxury home sales were limited to just 7 trades (there were 9 in January 2011). While international events of the past several weeks weigh on our hearts and have had some impact on the stock market, many believe that the overall economic and housing environments are improving, particularly in the Bay Area where the recovery in real estate is being spearheaded by San Francisco. Indeed, there are extraordinary opportunities available right now for buyers as pricing in the marketplace (especially for homes that have remained on the market through the Winter months) is soft and “value” is evident in virtually every segment of the luxury segment. In line with normal seasonal adjustments, the inventory of luxury homes for sale is very low — just 123 homes total on the MLS over $2 million in Marin (this is up from last month and will continue to rise through the Spring).

Marin County cities recording luxury home sales between $2 million and $4 million in March 2011 included: Sausalito (2), Tiburon (1), Kentfield (1), and Mill Valley (1). These homes averaged 192 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.671 million (roughly $711 per square foot), with an average of 3,783 square feet.

Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) accounted for two sales last month and there are currently eight more of these homes in escrow. This is a big shift from last month, when at the time of writing my monthly update on this market segment, this strata of the market was comatose. Both of the ultra-luxury homes that sold last month were in Kentfield, had over 5,500 sf of living space, and sat on large parcels (one sat on 1.1 acres and the other sat on 2.5+ acres).

Note: As a member of the Top Agent Network (top 10% in Marin) and the Marin Platinum Group (Top 100 agents), I have access to a database with several dozen luxury homes not currently on the MLS, but discretely offered for sale off-market. Please contact me regarding your specific desires.

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Christie’s Great Estates. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in Marin County, California (the San Francisco Bay Area’s “North Bay”).

Pacific Union International – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (January 2011)

Pacific Union Int’l – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (January 2011) — With 6 trades in December 2010, the luxury property real estate market in Marin County (properties and estates over $2 million) experienced one of its slowest months. This, despite the fact most economists and consumers feel that that the overall economic and housing environments are improving. Indeed, for real buyers there are extraordinary opportunities available right now. Pricing in the marketplace (especially for homes that have remained on the market through the Winter months) is softer than ever and “value” is evident in the luxury segment. In line with normal seasonal adjustments, the inventory of luxury homes for sale is very low.

Cities recording luxury home sales between $2 million and $4 million in December 2010 included: Belvedere (2), Sausalito (1), and Ross (1). These homes averaged 190 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.963 million (roughly $835 per square foot), with an average of 3,559 square feet.

Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) accounted for two sales last month, which averaged 233 days on market. Their average sales price was $9.125 million (roughly $1,958 per square foot), with an average of 6,000 square feet.

Note: As a member of the Marin Platinum Group, I have access to a database with several dozen luxury homes not currently on the MLS, but discretely offered for sale off-market. Please contact me regarding your specific desires.

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Christie’s Great Estates. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in Marin County, California (the San Francisco Bay Area’s “North Bay”).

Pacific Union International | Christie’s Great Estates is the leading broker for Marin County luxury homes.

Pacific Union International | Marin Luxury Homes Report (May 2010)

As with many of Marin County’s micro-markets, Marin’s luxury home market is showing signs of increased velocity and buyer optimism. As reported in previous months, “real buyers” continue to snap up homes in prestige locations such as Mill Valley, Belvedere, Ross, Kentfield, etc., along with “value” properties with locational upside, views of San Francisco (such as those in Sausalito), southern exposures, knolltop properties. In the $2 million to $4 million price band, sales have eclipsed last year’s low numbers, inventory is down significantly and the number of homes with accepted offers (in escrow) is very high. This combination of factors looks promising for continued improvement. And we are not alone — click HERE for a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. The below chart shows the dramatic increase in the number of luxury homes sold in Marin County, as compared with last year.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

True to last month’s prediction, sales were up significantly in this luxury segment (with 17 sales, we more than doubled last year’s total for the month). Incredibly, we have another 26 homes currently in escrow. Again, this is a leading indicator of increased sales next month. Certainly, buyers are feeling some urge to buy as it appears that the overall economic and housing environments are improving and pricing in the marketplace suggests “value.” Inventory remains relatively low at just 136 homes on the market last month.

Cities recording April 2010 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (2), Tiburon (4), Mill Valley (6), Larkspur (1), Ross (1), San Rafael (1), and Kentfield (2). These homes averaged 92 days on market. Their average sales price was just over $2.6 million (roughly $749 per square foot), with an average of 3,585 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band dipped dramatically and is down to approximately 4 months.

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The low inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) bumped upwards this month — we now have 63 homes for buyers to choose from.

Note: As a member of the Marin Platinum Group, I have access to a database with several dozen luxury homes not currently offered on the MLS, but available for sale. Please contact me regarding your specific desires.

The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced two such sales last month in this price band with an average sales price of $7.3 million (these homes averaged 9,290 square feet). As with sales in the lower luxury price band, we expect sales to pick up in the coming months as we head into the traditional selling season. We currently have six such homes in escrow (compared to zero this time last year). I look forward to coming months as this important segment of the Marin real estate market continues to improve.

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Pacific Union International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

Marin County Luxury Homes Report (April 2010–Pacific Union International)

As with many of Marin County’s micro-markets, Marin’s luxury home market is showing signs of increased velocity and buyer optimism. As reported in previous months, “real buyers” continue to snap up homes in prestige locations such as Belvedere, Ross, Kent Woodlands, etc., along with “value” properties with locational upside, views of San Francisco, southern exposures, knolltop properties. In the $2 million to $4 million price band, sales have eclipsed last year’s low numbers, inventory is down significantly and the number of homes with accepted offers (in escrow) is very high. This combination of factors looks promising for continued improvement. And we are not alone — click HERE for a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. The below chart shows the dramatic increase in the number of luxury homes under contract in Marin County, as compared with last year.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

Following a lackluster January 2010, sales in February and March 2010 increased quite a bit, with 9 trades. Incredibly, we have another 28 homes currently in escrow (there were just 16 in escrow last month). This is a leading indicator of increased sales next month. Certainly, buyers are feeling some urge to buy as it appears that the overall economic environment is improving, the DJIA has trended up over 11,100, and the pricing in the marketplace suggests “value.” However, inventory remains low (although higher than last month) at just 96 homes on the market.

Cities recording March 2010 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (1), Tiburon (3), Mill Valley (1), and Kentfield (3). These homes averaged 141 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.627 million (roughly $660 per square foot), with an average of 4,062 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is approximately 10 months.

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The low inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) bumped upwards this month — we now have 50 homes for buyers to choose from, compared with 40 last month.

Note: As a member of the Marin Platinum Group, I have access to a database with several dozen luxury homes not currently offered on the MLS, but available for sale. Please contact me regarding your specific desires.

The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced just one sale last month in this price band — a $6.5 million all-cash sale. Such limited sales activity vitiates the possibility of meaningful analysis. Sales are expected to pick up in the coming months as we head into the traditional selling season.

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Pacific Union International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (February 2010–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

Marin County, California’s luxury home market continues to recover from the proverbial wasteland of late 2008 and early 2009 when it seemed as though the luxury home market would never recover. Yet, as reported in previous months, real buyers continue to snap up homes in prestige locations such as Belvedere, Ross, Kent Woodlands, etc. Indeed, “value” properties are gobbled up quickly. Despite this apparent thirst for luxury digs, inventory levels remain 40% higher than two years ago. This trend is not unique to Marin, but prevails nationwide. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE.

The below chart reflects the number of homes in the $2 million to $4 million luxury price band which are in escrow (compared against the past 2 years). Note that the number of homes with accepted offers (not closed sales), is up 50% from 2 years ago and 450% from last year. This is a promising trend.

Another statistic that may not be readily apparent to casual observers is the fact that prices in the $2 million to $4 million price band are stabilizing as median sales prices countywide are down just 6% over the past 2 years. Of course, the impact of the downturn varies greatly by neighborhood and even within neighborhoods based on amenities.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

Following a very strong November and December 2009, sales in January 2010 reflected our typical seasonal slowdown as Marin County recorded just 4 trades. Yet, we have another 13 homes in escrow. Certainly, buyers are feeling some urge to buy as it appears that the poor economic environment may be improving and the pricing in the marketplace suggests “value.” Inventory remains low (although higher than last month) at just 70 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording January 2010 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (1), Mill Valley (1), Kentfield (1), and Tiburon (1). These homes averaged 239 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.542 million (roughly $626 per square foot), with an average of 4,015 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is 17.5 months (which is high due to the low number of trades and increased inventory).

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The already low inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) held steady at 36 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced 2 sales last month in this price band — one was Sean Penn’s estate and the other was a one-of-a-kind supreme location estate which sold for $14 million. Both sales were in Ross and the latter was accomplished via a Morgan Lane buyer client.   

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Morgan Lane International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (January 2010–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

Home sales in Marin County, California’s luxury price bands continue to recover from the proverbial wasteland of late 2008 and early 2009 when it seemed as though the luxury home market would never recover. Yet, as reported in previous months, real buyers continue to snap up homes in prestige locations such as Belvedere, Ross, Kent Woodlands, etc. Indeed, “value” properties are gobbled up quickly. Despite this apparent thirst for luxury digs, inventory levels remain 40% higher than two years ago. This trend is not unique to Marin, but prevails nationwide. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE.

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 popular cities in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield.

Year over year luxury market inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% higher than last year for 6 months (and are now down to about 12%). Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 22% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 42% higher than last year.

Below is a new chart focusing on the percentage of homes that have experiencd price reductions and the depth of those price reductions, on average. This chart examines these trends in Mill Valley and in Belvedere – Tiburon. It is perhaps not surprising that approximately 17% of listings in Tiburon – Belvedere have experienced a price reduction and those reductions average about 8%.

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

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

Following a strong November, sales in December (a traditionally slow month) were also quite high given the typical seasonal slowdown. With 15 trades, this December was stronger than anybody may have anticipated six months ago. Additionally we have 12 more homes in escrow. Certainly, buyers are feeling some urge to buy as it appears that the poor economic environment may be improving and the pricing in the marketplace suggests “value.” Inventory is low, as is typical this time of year, with just 56 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording December 2009 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (1), Ross (3) Mill Valley (2), Larkspur (1), Kentfield (1), Tiburon (5), and San Rafael (1), and San Anselmo 1). These homes averaged 139 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.626 million (roughly $715 per square foot), with an average of 3,968 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is about 3.7 months (down from 13 months in November — this huge reduction is the result of seasonally reduced inventory levels).

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The already low inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) dipped to 34 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced just 1 sale last month in this price band. It was a $5.4 million Belvedere estate with great views: days on market – 315, price – $5.4 million, square feet – 7,300.  

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Morgan Lane International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

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

Building on a trend noted in last month’s report, media coverage of the overall economy has improved. In particular, reporting on the housing market. Forecasters are predicting that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy (based on a survey by the National Association for Business Economics). According to that organization, home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year — over 80% of economists surveyed think the recession is over and recovery has begun. The Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann, predicts that sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, with sales of new homes climbing 21 percent.

But, perhaps more importantly, the Dow Jones has rocketed up past 10,000 and the tone of the W-shaped recovery dialogue has moderated. It was announced today that JPMorgan Chase plans to hire 1,200 mortgage bankers in light of improved housing market and signs of stability.

Finally, we know from past experience that in down cycles, once the San Francisco housing market recovers, there is a domino effect on surrounding communities. Accordingly, in our current cycle, we believe that our best leading indicator regarding a healthy, appreciating market (particularly in Southern Marin) will be the home sales environment in San Francisco. And there can be no doubt that the San Francisco market has improved dramatically in recent months. Additionally, as the banking institutions regain their footing and again provide bonuses to their employees, we will also see a surge in luxury home sales. In fact, if bonuses are significant and broad-based, I predict a very strong luxury sales market early in 2010 as buyers snap up the many “values” out there in the luxury and ultra-luxury sectors.

As reported in previous months, real buyers have become less numerous. They are placing emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale. And they are seeking “value.” The Marin County luxury market has favored homes priced under $3 million — although 5 homes traded over $4 million in November 2009. [For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail or call me at (415) 350-9440.]

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 “hot” locales in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield. Interestingly, while Belvedere continues to see asking prices drop, Kentfield and Mill Valley have seen asking prices increase over the last 4 months. Of course, asking prices do not necessarily closely reflect selling prices and in Mill Valley, there are lots of homes on the market in the higher price bands, which have not sold.

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% higher than last year for 6 months, but has dipped to about 15%. Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 65% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 90% higher than last year.

Below is a new chart focusing on the percentage of homes that have experiencd price reductions and the depth of those price reductions, on average. This chart examines these trends in Mill Valley and in Belvedere – Tiburon. It is perhaps not surprising that nearly 35% of listings in Tiburon – Belvedere have experienced a price reduction and those reductions average about 12%.

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

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

As we begin to see the contours of the Winter market form, many feel we will have an active Winter. Many agents are noting (and this is backed up by the numbers) that we had our best month of the year in October. Buyer activity has picked up significantly. The number of sales (9) and homes in escrow (17) remain quite strong. There is a lot of home shopping going on as patient buyers have begun snapping up homes that they perceive represent “value.” I expect that next month will see a continued surge of sales. Inventory remains low with 108 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording sales in this price band included: Tiburon (1), Belvedere (1), Ross (1) Mill Valley (3), Sausalito (1), and San Rafael (2). These homes averaged 98 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.858 million (roughly $799 per square foot), with an average of 3,673 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is about 12 months (down from 18 months in October).

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) remained virtually unchanged with 47 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, Sausalito, and Ross. As noted earlier, Marin County experienced 5 sales last month and these homes had the following characteristics: days on market – 111, price – $5.86 million, square feet – 5,030, price per square foot – $1,011. Note that Christie’s | Morgan Lane agents were involved in three of the five sales in this price band last month.

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Morgan Lane International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

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

In our New Economy, real buyers have become less numerous and have placed increased emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale. As reported all year, the luxury segment remains weighted towards homes priced under $3 million — although 4 homes priced over $4 million sold in October 2009. First and foremost, the economy must give reason for optimism and the stock market must continue to win back gains lost over the past year. Once some of those gains are recaptured, affluent buyers will feel more comfortable with major purchases again.

Meanwhile, the media has been placing a positive spin on economic news coverage, which will hopefully result in a positive feedback loop. For example, a story run in the A.P. last week noted that economic forecasters are predicting that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy (based on a survey by the National Association for Business Economics). According to that organization, home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year and over 80 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE think the recession is over and recovery has begun. In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story last week regarding how low interest rates have spurred a modest increase in Bay Area home sales in September. Also concurring with the expectation of growth is the Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann, who predicts that sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, with sales of new homes climbing 21 percent.

For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 “hot” locales in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield. Interestingly, while Belvedere continues to see asking prices drop, Kentfield and Mill Valley have seen asking prices increase over the 120 days. Of course, asking prices do not necessarily closely reflect selling prices and in Mill Valley, there are lots of homes on the market in the higher price bands, which have not sold.

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% higher than last year for 6 months. Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 80% and Tiburon / Belvedere inventory levels are over 90% higher than last year.

Below is a new chart focusing on the percentage of homes that have experiencd price reductions and the depth of those price reductions, on average. This chart examines these trends in Mill Valley and in Belvedere / Tiburon. It is perhaps not surprising that nearly 45% of listings in Tiburon / Belvedere have experienced a price reduction and those reductions average about 12%.

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

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

Heading into the Fall, it is generally expected that sales will wane. Yet, buyer activity has picked up significantly. The number of homes in escrow in this price band is up 33% from last month. It seems that there is a lot of home shopping going on as patient buyers have begun snapping up homes. I expect that next month will see a large surge of sales. Inventory remains low with 128 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording sales in this price band included: Tiburon (1), Mill Valley (3), Kentfield (2), and Sausalito (1). These homes averaged 113 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.683 million (roughly $813 per square foot), with an average of 3,340 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is about 18 months.

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes

The inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) remained virtually unchanged with 53 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, Sausalito, and Ross. As noted earlier, Marin County experienced 4 sales last month, doubling the previous month’s output.

By: Kyle Frazier, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Broker Associate, Realtor | Christie’s Great Estates — Morgan Lane International. Call Kyle Frazier at 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information in San Francisco and Marin Counties.

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

Marin County, CA’s luxury real estate market segment continues to take shape in the aftermath of the equities meltdown of Fall 2008. In our New Economy, buyers are placing emphasis on prestige locations, sweeping views, grand appointments, compelling “estate history,” and impressive scale. The luxury market in Marin remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million, although we did have 3 sales of homes priced over $4 million in July 2009. The number of sales in July 2009 is off by 74% from July 2008. The news is not all negative, however, as we had several significant properties trade last month and another 30 luxury homes are currently in escrow. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated August 2, 2009, click here. 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.

Buyers remain dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year median asking 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 Fall as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not necessarily “Luxury” territory here in Marin (although declining prices are putting some very nice homes into the sub-$2 million price bands), a sizable segment of buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers). The chart below indicates that across the trend in Marin’s luxury segment is for lower prices — 10-25% lower than last year in Mill Valley, Belvedere, and Kentfield. 

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% since May 2009 (much improved from a nearly 60% inventory increase in February 2009). Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield has rocketed nearly 90% higher this year compared with last year. In combination, Tiburon and Belvedere inventory levels are about 70% higher than last year. Prediction: Kentfield and Tiburon / Belvedere prices will continue to recede through Q4 2009. Indeed, we can see that trend has set in dramatically in the above chart which tracks asking prices of homes currently for sale.  

Among the sales last month, was a $9.8 million trade in Kentfield after just 3 days on the market. Our agents are noting a more focused approach by buyers. In addition, Carlos Santana’s San Rafael estate sold last month after just a couple of weeks on the market. Indeed, 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, although asking prices appear to have leveled in all 3 towns.

 Below is a new chart focusing on the percentages of homes in Tiburon and Mill Valley that have experienced price reductions, as well as a look at how deep those reductions have been, on average.

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

The definition of this market stat is: “Percentage of homes on the market that have decreased their asking price at least once over the past 90-day period.” In any market, even in strong seller’s markets, there will always be some number of properties that will decrease their listing price. These may include sellers that drastically overpriced their homes just “to see what they could get” or homes that simply entered the market at a price level above what the market will bear.

Even in strong seller’s markets, the Percent Price Decreased will be 10-12%, so some repricing of individual properties is common in any market. In weaker markets, this value begins rise into the teens, 20%, 30%, and higher. Percent Price Decreased is an incredibly insightful gauge of demand levels in the residential housing market. This statistic illustrates how many listed properties may be behind the “price curve” – listed at a price above what the market is willing to pay for similar properties. However, “Percent Price Decreased” alone does not indicate the overall health of a particular market. This statistic should be combined with other market stats to determine the overall direction of a market.
 
$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes
Summertime is a traditional slow season for Marin real estate because many families focus more on vacations than on home buying. While buyer activity has picked up over the past week, home sales in July 2009 were limited to six. It seems that there is a lot of home shopping going on, but few sales. Inventory has dipped to 126 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million (down from 135 last month, but up from 110 in March).
 
Quick recap of 2009: 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). Then, by February 2009, sales dipped to just 2. As things began to improve in April & May 2009, sales bumped up to 8. And June 2009 was relatively strong with 16 sales. Although that number fell to just 6 in July 2009, I believe we will pleased in coming months with sales numbers. Today, there are 25 homes in escrow in this price band. That portends stronger sales months to come.  
Cities recording sales in this price band included: Belvedere (2), Kentfield (1), Ross (2), and San Rafael (1). These homes averaged 61 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.993 million (roughly $747 per square foot), with an average of 4,177 square feet. As noted above we also have a stockpile of homes in the escrow pipeline, including homes in Belvedere (5), Tiburon (4), Sausalito (2), Mill Valley (4), Corte Madera (1), Larkspur (1), Ross (3), and Kentfield (3), and San Rafael (1). The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is up to 21 months. Most sellers seem to understand that they must position their home at the head of the line when it comes to pricing if they want to sell. 
$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes
The inventory level of Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) remained static with 54 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, and Ross. Recent activity in this price band is improved. Marin County saw three homes sell last month, including a $9.8 million sale Kentfield, Carlos Santana’s San Rafael estate, and a spectacular Belvedere home. Moreover, there are an additional 5 homes currently in escrow in this price range (including 2 in both Belvedere and Ross). 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 is 18 months.  

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

12

2

7

0

Belvedere

26

5

10

2

Tiburon

20

4

21

1

Mill Valley

30

4

4

0

Larkspur

2

1

0

0

Corte Madera

0

1

0

0

Kentfield

11

3

2

0

Greenbrae

2

0

0

0

Ross

6

3

8

2

San Anselmo

6

0

0

0

San Rafael

6

1

1

0

Novato

5

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)

Call Kyle Frazier, Marin Realtor & CRS, Member of Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, Broker Associate, Morgan Lane Marin Real Estate, Pacific Union International, Christie’s Great Estates of Marin, 415/350-9440 for more luxury home market information. You can also e-mail Kyle at mailto:Kyle@ImagineMarin.com.