Archive for April, 2008

28 Percent of Marin Homes Sold for Under $600,000

Monday, April 28th, 2008

First time buyers have not seen numbers like this in years. For the past few years (looking at the first quarter of the year for single family homes in MLS), 2005, 2006, and 2007 specifically; only 7% to 9% of Marin County homes sold for less than $600,000. For the first quarter of 2008 28% of homes sold for under $600,000.

It is an interesting number because it is more difficult for new buyers to get loans.  Most buyers tend to spend as much as they can afford when buying a home which means these were not buyers looking at $700,000 homes and then deciding they could get what they wanted for under six.

Where are these buyers coming from?  There is not a statistic to answer that question but here is my take.  In the past there were so few homes available at that price and those that were on the market did not offer much appeal.  Now when a buyer goes looking for a home and can’t spend over $600,000 they have some nice homes to choose from.  In Marin the lower price homes were hit the hardest with the mortgage mess.  This put price pressure on sellers to lower prices and they have.

If you thought you could not afford a single family home in Marin that may not be true any longer.

Warren Carreiro, Broker 

San Rafael & The Real Estate Meltdown

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Reading the newspaper and watching television I could assume that my home town of San Rafael, California has experienced a meltdown as well.  Well, I hate to pop your bubble but the Marin County B.A.R.I.E.S (MLS) statistics don’t show that has occurred as you can see from the chart below.

Does this mean this is the best time to buy San Rafael real estate? As a real estate broker you would expect me to say, don’t wait, this is the best time to buy Marin real estate.  Well, I don’t want to disappoint but I don’t know when the bottom (or top) of the market has hit.  I recently heard someone say that those who will make money in real estate in the next ten years will be buying in the next two years and I agree with that.

Additionally, why are you buying a home, is this going to be a place to put your roots down and stay for many years or are you trying to flip it with perfect timing?  When I purchased my home in 1992 prices were soft for a couple of years after.  If my intention was to flip it I would have lost money.  That was not my intention, I was looking for a home for my family. The home has increased in value tremendously and has been a fantastic investment. It really did not and does not matter if the value goes up or down for a few years because I am not selling, this is my home.

So, if you are in the market for a home and plan on spending over five years there, Marin history says it will also be a great investment. If interest rates were to rise, and they are still low, it would make that purchase all the more difficult.  If you are waiting for the “bottom” of the market we may already be there and if you wait until the market turns it is too late to negotiate while you still hold the cards. 

Here are the statistics for single family homes in Central San Rafael (zip 94901) for the past three years

Single Family Homes First Quarter2006 First Quarter2007 First Quarter2008
Number Sold 55 59 32
Median Price $956,000 $875,000 $982,500
Median Sq. Ft. 2,023 1,914 2,125
Days on Market 37 45 86


Homes are are taking longer to sell and if you can qualify for loan, you have great negotiating power.

Warren Carreiro, Broker