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

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 (December 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis)

The luxury home market in Marin County, California, which is vastly improved over a year ago, seems to have hit a comfortable level of activity. As reported in previous months, real buyers continue to homes in prestige locations with emphasis on views and lifestyle amenities (such as large usable yards, proximity to athletic clubs/shopping, reputable schools, and sensible scales). And they are seeking “value.” For the last 2 quarters, the Marin County luxury market has strongly favored homes priced under $3 million. [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 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 15%). Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 40% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 60% 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 25% 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 very strong October, November sales were also quite high given the typical seasonal slowdown. Buyer activity has sustained through November. With 13 sales, this November was stronger than anybody may have anticipated (there were 9 sales in October). Additionally we have 14 more homes in escrow. Certainly, previously patient buyers are feeling some urge to buy now as it appears that the poor economic environment may be improving and the pricing in the markerplace suggests “value.” Inventory is low, as is typical this time of year, with just 70 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million.

Cities recording November 2009 sales in this price band included: Belvedere (2), Ross (1) Mill Valley (4), Larkspur (1), Tiburon (3), 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 5.3 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 slightly to 40 homes for sale (there was 47 such homes on the market in November 2009). The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon and Belvedere. Marin County experienced just 2 sales last month in this price band and these homes had the following characteristics: days on market – 107, price – $5.237 million, square feet – 4,906, price per square foot – $1,059. Note that Christie’s Great Estates agents represented all buyers and sellers in last months ultra-luxury market segment in Marin County. 

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.