Kyle Frazier, J.D., Broker Associate Ι Pacific Union International | Christies International Real Estate | (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”).

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

Pacific Union Int’l – Christie’s Great Estates | Marin County, CA Luxury Home Sales (February 2011) — In line with expectations, January 2011 luxury home sales were limited with 9 trades (there were just 6 in December 2010). Of course, many buyers, most economists, and consumer sentiment are feeling bouyant about our the economic and housing environments. 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 96 homes total on the MLS over $2 million in Marin.

Cities recording luxury home sales between $2 million and $4 million in February 2011 included: Belvedere (1), San Anselmo (1), San Rafael (1), Tiburon (1), Kentfield (3), and Ross (1). These homes averaged 116 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.521 million (roughly $807 per square foot), with an average of 3,522 square feet. Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) accounted for zero sales last month and there are currently zero such homes in escrow.

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”).

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

As noted in prior reports this year, Marin County, CA’s luxury segment is slow and currently weighted towards homes priced under $4 million. In fact, not a single home priced over $4 million sold in May 2009 and just 2 are currently in escrow (although that could change in a moment as the domino effect is very real in home sales). Of course, the luxury home slump exists throughout the country as affluent buyers wait for a signal to buy. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated June 14, 2009, click here. Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is improved again this month. And while the stock market closed in the black for the year last week, this week has brought a correction. So, it appears we will continue to wait for the buying signal. 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 are dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year median prices in Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield). But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer er as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, many buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers).

 Curiously, inventory levels in Kentfield and Mill Valley have risen moderately (around 20%) over last year, while Belvedere’s inventory has skyrocketed by over 65%. Prediction: Belvedere prices will continue to recede markedly through Q4 2009. Indeed, we can see that trend has set in dramatically in the above chart.

Despite the apparent slowdown, open houses have been extremely busy. Offers are being written. And our agents are noting a more focused approach by buyers. We are also starting to see buyers lose out on properties they loved because they assumed there was no urgency in writing an offer. The graph below reflects a 90-day rolling average of asking prices for homes in the topmost quartile (e.g. prices of the most expensive homes) in 3 touchstone Marin County cities: Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield. As you can see, over the past year, prices have declined.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

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

Cities recording sales in this price band include: Tiburon (2), Belvedere (2), Mill Valley (1), and Kentfield (1), and Ross (2). These homes averaged 108 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.886 million (roughly $762 per square foot), with an average of 4,132 square feet. We also have a good number of homes in the escrow pipeline, including homes in Belvedere (3), Tiburon (4), Mill Valley (3), Ross (3), and Kentfield (1), and San Rafael (2). The absorption rate for Marin homes in this price band is approaching 18 months. Sellers 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 59 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, and Ross. There were no sales last month. We have 2 homes currently in escrow in this price range. Marin cities and towns with homes priced over $4 million include Tiburon, Belvedere, Sausalito, Kentfield, Ross, Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Novato. The absorption rate for these homes cannot be accurately stated as the number of sales is too low to be meaningful. 

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

13

0

6

0

Belvedere

20

3

11

0

Tiburon

27

4

27

1

Mill Valley

30

3

5

0

Larkspur

4

0

0

0

Corte Madera

2

0

0

0

Kentfield

13

1

4

0

Greenbrae

3

0

0

0

Ross

9

3

8

1

San Anselmo

9

0

0

0

San Rafael

4

2

2

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.

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

Marin County, California, Luxury Homes Report (April 2009–Sales and Inventory Analysis) Despite my self-imposed limited media diet, I do read headlines. And the headlines are becoming more optimistic. This is a prerequisite for increased buyer confidence. I remain convinced that with minimal social proof, buyers will return to the market and pent-up demand will create a surge in sales figures. Increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board is a recipe for sales. Buyers with 25% down (and who otherwise qualify) will be able to obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of a little over $1.6 million. While that is not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, many potential move-up buyers of luxury homes must sell their homes first (it is said that 80% of buyers are also sellers) and this will be a big step in the right direction. And interest rates are a full 1-point lower today than they were last year. Certainly, the pump is primed as there are nearly 60 active escrows on homes priced $1 million and up (again, move-up buyers typically need to sell their current home). For national trends, click here — April 2009, Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Note, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call (415) 350-9440.
As noted above, we are seeing greater activity so far this year as the number of homes in escrow has increased and buyer enthusiasm is improved. Open houses have been extremely busy in all price bands with 30-50 groups being reported for new listings in desirable locales. Offers are being written. And our agents are noting a more focused approach by buyers. We are also starting to see buyers lose out on properties they love because they figured 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 in each. Note however, that a few homes in Kentfield marketed early last year were priced at the extreme high end, resulting in an exaggerated shift.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com
$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

As we enter steam into the Spring selling season, inventory has climbed to 130 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million (up from 110 last month and 69 in February). Since the emergence of the “new economy,” post-October 2008, sales numbers in this price band are down. For example, there were 18 sales in October 2008 (a relatively strong time of year for sales and, of course, these buyers were well into their escrow periods at the time of the meltdown). In February 2009, we recorded just 2 sales. In March 2009, that number jumped up to 8 sales. Cities recording sales in this price band include: Tiburon (1), Belvedere (1), Mill Valley (1), Kentfield (1), Ross (1), and San Anselmo (2). These homes averaged 140 days on market. Their average sales price was $2.657 million (roughly $701 per square foot), with an average of 2,657 square feet. We also have a good number of homes in the escrow pipeline, including homes in Belvedere (3), Tiburon (2), Sausalito (1), Mill Valley (3),Greenbrae (1), Ross (1), and Kentfield (1).

$4 Million & Up Ultra-Luxury Homes
The inventory level in Marin County’s ultra-luxury market (homes priced in the $4 million and up range) rose to 45 homes for sale. The highest concentrations of homes in this price band are Tiburon, Belvedere, Sausalito, and Ross. There were 3 sales last month; 2 in Tiburon and 1 in Belvedere. The Belvedere home was a custom built 5 Bed, 6 Bath home on the Belvedere Lagoon with no expense spared — it sold for $4.9 million (an eye-popping $1,430 sq. ft.). The two homes in Tiburon were also impressive, including a $9 million sale of an estate with spectacular views of San Francisco and The Bay. Overall, these sales sold for an average price of $6.425 million, boasted an average of 5,822 sq. ft. (about $1,151 per sq. ft.), and were on the market for an average of 227 days. Other cities / towns with homes priced over $4 million include Kentfield, Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Novato.

Marin Cities & Towns

$2 Million — $4 Million

$4 Million & Up

Active

Pending

Active

Pending

Sausalito

5

0

5

0

Belvedere

16

4

6

2

Tiburon

36

2

16

0

Mill Valley

21

3

4

0

Larkspur

6

0

0

0

Corte Madera

2

0

0

0

Kentfield

13

1

2

0

Greenbrae

2

1

0

0

Ross

8

1

8

0

San Anselmo

10

1

0

0

San Rafael

10

0

2

0

Novato

1

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.