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

Marin County Real Estate (Q3 2013)

Marin County: Q3 Results
July was a very busy month in our Marin County region, followed by a seasonal lag in August and early September. The number of homes for sale remains constrained, keeping prices high and buyers scrambling, although we saw a slight uptick in the number of available properties in September.Homes priced $800,000 to $1 million saw aggressive bidding, and those priced above $1.6 million also saw robust sales, but the overall market calmed down somewhat after several quarters of increasingly overheated activity. The furious bidding that we saw in June had settled by September. Still, homes that are priced correctly and in popular neighborhoods – the Mill Valley market remains strong, for example – sold quickly.Investors remained eager to buy lower-priced properties, although that market tightened considerably in the third quarter. This is due in part to fewer foreclosures and short sales entering the market after months of rising home prices helped many underwater owners regain equity.

Looking Forward: We expect to see very strong sales in October and into early November – particularly if the inventory of available homes continues to expand – before activity slows as the holiday season approaches. Rising interest rates remain a wild card, constraining sales or perhaps prompting buyers to move fast.

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the charts below includes single-family homes in these communities.

Median Sales Price
The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.
Click to view larger chart
Months’ Supply of Inventory
The months’ supply of inventory is a measure of how quickly the current supply of homes would be sold at the current sales rate, assuming no more homes came on the market. In general, an MSI below 4 is considered a seller’s market; between 4 and 6 is a balanced market; and above 6 is a buyer’s market.
Click to view larger chart
Average Days on the Market
Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.
Click to view larger chart
Percentage of Properties Under Contract
Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.
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Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price
Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.
Click to view larger chart

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.

Pacific Union – Christie’s International Real Estate | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (January 2013)

Pacific Union – Christie’s International Real Estate | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (January 2013). The new year dawns with bright prospects for an active and successful 2013 in Bay Area real estate. But 2013 comes after an awkward year of recovery. Buyers, champing at the bit after a half-decade of retrenchment and recession, were forced to compete with each other for a limited supply of homes as sellers held out for higher prices after years of declines. Bidding wars became commonplace. However, prices drifted only slightly higher despite excruciatingly low inventory. Here’s a look back at the busy year that just ended:

JANUARY — The latest jobs data shows the first signs of economic recovery, with California’s unemployment rate falling to 11.1 percent in December 2011, the second month in a row the number declined. (Quick jump ahead: by November 2012 the unemployment rate had dropped further, to 9.8 percent.). Pacific Union International’s Q4 2011 Real Estate Report is released. In it we declare that 2012 “could be one of the finest times in the past twenty years to be a buyer of real estate,” with low home prices and exceptionally low interest rates. We were right on the money.

FEBRUARY — Sellers are urged to “join the party” as the number of homes under contract jumps significantly. In Marin County, homes under contract were up an astounding 82 percent from the start of the year. A look at the math shows that historically low interest rates give homebuyers an extra $100,000 in purchasing power. (And it still holds true today.)

MARCH — Rental rates are rising precipitously across the Bay Area — up 16 percent in San Francisco — making buying a home an even more attractive option.

APRIL — Pacific Union gets kudos from our peers with the release of a Real Trends survey showing that our real estate professionals are the fifth most productive in the United States and a report from Real Estate Magazine naming us one of the nation’s top “Power Brokers.” Buyer demand in the first quarter drives an increase in the number of homes sold in all seven of Pacific Union’s Bay Area regions. The upcoming America’s Cup yacht races are fueling a boom in San Francisco real estate as buyers jockey for homes with commanding views of San Francisco Bay.

MAY — Homes are more affordable than ever, according to a report from the California Association of Realtors. The percentage of households that could afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in the Bay Area rose to 45 percent in the first quarter, a record high. Rising home sales and prices make clear the housing recovery is on solid footing in the Bay Area, according to our own monthly market analysis and a report from the California Association of Realtors. Pacific Union expands in Northern California with the opening of offices in the North Lake Tahoe area.

JUNE — The Bay Area housing market and overall economic scene continue to set the pace for the national recovery, and sometimes that means standing in contrast to gloomy national reports. We’re pleased to report that Pacific Union is expanding again, this time launching Pacific Union International Property Management Inc. Kudos continue: A list of the top 1,000 real estate professionals and teams in the United States includes three from Pacific Union. Reports in the national news media declare that “the housing bust is over,” which comes as no surprise to homebuyers and sellers in the Bay Area.
JULY — Pacific Union’s exclusive interview with economist Stephen Levy makes clear that the economic recovery has reached all corners of the Bay Area and is enduring. Our Q2 Real Estate Report shows home sales are up more than 30 percent across the Bay Area, foretelling a strong year ahead.

AUGUST — The Bay Area continues to lead California’s economic recovery, and that’s good news for the region’s housing market. In a sign of how tight the housing market has become, the Oakland metro area is No. 1 in the nation for the greatest reduction of homes for sale. It’s also No. 1 for the shortest number of days on the market.
SEPTEMBER — Foreclosure activity drops sharply across the Bay Area, led by San Francisco, where notices of default — the first step in the foreclosure process — fall 71 percent from a year ago. The Bay Area’s red-hot real estate market continues to set records, with August home sales at a six-year high. Home ownership can bring big savings when compared with the cost of renting in San Francisco and Oakland, according to a report from the online real estate search service Trulia.
OCTOBER — The East Bay housing market has trailed San Francisco in its recovery from the recession, but recent reports suggest the region’s economy is poised for substantial growth in the coming year. Our Q3 Real Estate Report has plenty of good news in it: Home values are rising, foreclosures are dropping, and housing starts are increasing across the Bay Area. We’re on track to see the best year in housing since 2005 in many regions.
NOVEMBER — The monthly Case-Shiller home prices report confirms that home prices continue to rise at a steady pace across the Bay Area as well as nationwide, but a close look at the numbers also reveals much more: the extent of the housing market collapse five years ago and the strength of the recovery now under way.
DECEMBER —  The supply of homes for sale in the Bay Area remains severely constrained, but that hasn’t held back buyers. They’re snapping up properties at a pace we haven’t seen in at least six years. Tech companies like Pinterest and Square are increasingly choosing San Francisco over Silicon Valley for office space, and that’s having a direct effect on residential real estate in the city. The Bay Area continues to drive California’s economic recovery, with the state’s unemployment rate dropping below 10 percent for the first time in nearly four years. That’s a good sign for real estate markets.

Source: PacUnion.com

Kyle Frazier, J.D. & Broker, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Realtor with Pacific Union | Christie’s International Real Estate. 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”).

Marin Luxury Properties Report Pacific Union – Christie’s International Real Estate | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (December 2011)

Pacific Union Int’l – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (December 2011) — Luxury home sales have maintained a solid pace over the past three months (we had 10 sales over $2 million last month, same as November and October. It remains clear that buyers will act quickly in the luxury home market when they feel a particular home reflects clear value and/or possess unique sales characteristics. Extraordinary opportunities are literally around every corner for buyers who can stomach uncertainty. Pricing in the marketplace (especially for homes that started off overpriced) is fairly soft and “value” is evident in virtually every corner and every price segment of the luxury market.

In line with normal seasonal adjustments (we are in the middle of the slow season now), the inventory of luxury homes remains constricted with just 99 properties actively listed over $2 million in Marin. This inventory level is lower than years past as prices have declined substantially in many markets (e.g., such that homes that priced at $2.25 million in 2006 are now priced below $2 million). Moreover, to the extent sellers do not have a compelling reason to sell now, most are waiting for prices to recover rather trade in today’s market.

Marin County cities recording luxury home sales between $2 million and $4 million in November 2011 included: Tiburon (3), Belvedere (1); Mill Valley (1); San Anselmo (1); Sausalito (1); Kentfield (2). These homes averaged 80 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.7 million (roughly $735 per square foot), with an average of 3,978 square feet. Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) flat-lined in November as we saw no trades.

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. In addition, if you are looking for an agent to aggressively and intelligently market your home, please call me. I am a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist.

By: Kyle Frazier, J.D. & Broker, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Realtor with Pacific Union | Christie’s International Real Estate. 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”).

Marin Luxury Properties Report Pacific Union – Christie’s International Real Estate | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (October 2011)

Pacific Union Int’l – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (October 2011) — Luxury home sales slowed to 10 in September 2010. This reflects a seasonal lull as Summer travel takes center stage in August and home sales slow in Marin County). It remains clear that buyers will act quickly in the luxury home market when they feel a particular home reflects clear value and/or possess unique sales characteristics. Extraordinary opportunities are literally around every corner for buyers who can stomach uncertainty. Pricing in the marketplace (especially for homes that started off overpriced) is soft and “value” is evident in virtually every corner and every price segment of the luxury market.

In line with normal seasonal adjustments, the inventory of luxury homes remains constricted with just 122 properties actively listed over $2 million in Marin. This inventory level is lower than years past as prices have declined substantially in many markets (e.g., such that homes that priced at $2.25 million in 2006 are now priced below $2 million). Moreover, to the extent sellers do not have a compelling reason to sell now, most are waiting for prices to recover rather trade in today’s market.

Marin County cities recording luxury home sales between $2 million and $4 million in August 2011 included: Tiburon (1), Belvedere (1); Mill Valley (3); Larkspur (1); Sausalito (1); Ross (1); Kentfield (1). These homes averaged a mere 58 days on market (very low). Their average sales price was $2.59 million (roughly $718 per square foot), with an average of 3,720 square feet. Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) accounted for one sale last month — a 2.2 acre estate in the flats of Ross.

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, J.D. & Broker, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Realtor with Pacific Union | Christie’s International Real Estate. 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”).

Christie’s Great Estates | Marin Luxury Homes Report (October 2010)

Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales — With 13 trades in September 2010, the luxury property market in Marin County (properties and estates over $2 million) again performed admirably in the face of uncertainty. As it is becoming clearer that the overall economic and housing environments are improving, real buyers are making legitimate offers. Pricing in the marketplace certainly suggests “value” and inventory is steadily increasing — there are now 163 homes actively on the market.

Cities recording luxury home sales between $2 million and $4 million in September 2010 included: Tiburon (4), Mill Valley (1), Belvedere (1), and Kentifield (2). In addition, Nicasio and Stinson Beach also recorded one sale appiece. These homes averaged 154 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.748 million (roughly $784 per square foot), with an average of 2,748 square feet.

Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) witnessed three sales last month. These homes averaged 100 days on market. Their average sales price was $5.06 million (roughly $1,177 per square foot) and 4,484 square feet. We currently have 60 homes for affluent buyers to choose from in this high end price band.

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.

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 San Francisco and Marin Counties.

Pacific Union International 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, 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 (September 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

Earlier this month marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the equities market meltdown, which profoundly impacted Marin County, California’s luxury real estate market. 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.

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As reported all year, the luxury segment remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million — while we had 3 sales of homes priced over $4 million in July 2009, yet August 2009 saw just 1 sale in this affluent price band. Among the sales last month, was a $5.1 million trade in Belvedere (an amazing home on a double lot on the Belvedere Lagoon) and an off-market $8 million Kentfield (both buyers and sellers were represented by my company). The reasons for the slowdown in sales is no mystery, so too are the reasons we will eventually return to normalcy. 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. And it looks like we are heading in that direction — last week, Ben Bernanke noted that the recession is likely over and the Wall Street Journal (a media source which is not-so-subtly slanted against real estate investment) noted that real estate “has rarely looked better” — click HERE for article. Also, for a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated September 13, 2009, 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 60 days (although still lower than last year at this time).

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 doubled this year compared with last year. In combination, Tiburon and Belvedere inventory levels are about 80% higher than last year.

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

$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 significantly, home sales in August 2009 were limited to seven. It seems that there is a lot of home shopping going on, but not a whole lot of sales (this August we had 62% fewer sales than one year ago). Inventory remains low with 133 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.
Cities recording sales in this price band included: Ross, San Rafael, Novato, Larkspur, Corte Madera, Tiburon, and Sausalito. These homes averaged 123 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.542 million (roughly $655 per square foot), with an average of 4,195 square feet. The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is up to 19 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 56 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, and Ross. As noted earlier, Marin County saw just two sales last month — a spectacular Belvedere Lagoon home which sold for over $5 million and an off market sale of a Kentfield estate. There is another Belvedere home currently in escrow. Marin cities and towns with homes priced over $4 million include Tiburon, Belvedere, Sausalito, Kentfield, Ross, Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Novato.

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

13

0

7

0

Belvedere

18

3

11

1

Tiburon

33

2

22

0

Mill Valley

30

3

5

0

Larkspur

3

0

0

0

Corte Madera

0

0

0

0

Kentfield

10

3

3

0

Greenbrae

1

1

0

0

Ross

9

1

6

0

San Anselmo

7

0

0

0

San Rafael

7

0

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).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.

For help finding the perfect home for your lifestyle, Click HERE, fill out the confidential Home Preferences Survey, and Kyle will personally call you for a consultation.

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.