San Rafael & The Real Estate Meltdown

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 


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