Archive for the ‘Market Trends’ Category

Marin Real Estate Better This Year

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The Marin Independent Journal front page headlines was a story about real estate tax valuations going down for the first time since Proposition 13.  Somewhere in the article it mentioned that the actual bills were still higher than last year thanks to all the “add-in” taxes.  This shows what we all know, home values have come down.

Of course the property tax rolls are a trailing indicator.  Just yesterday I was helping a client that wanted to have their assessment value reduced.  The assessor wants comparable sales for January-March of this year, (If you were getting a bank loan an appraiser would consider those comps too old).  This means as values fall your home is assessed too high and conversely as values rise you get the benefit of an under-assessment.

I ran the numbers for home and condo sales year-to-date this year compared to the same period last year and the results might be surprising to those that rely on the newspaper for this information.

Marin Sales January 1 through September 29:

Single Family Homes             (2010)                            (2009)

No. of sales                           1,359                                   1,139

Median Price                     $799,000                          $769,000


No. of sales                           355                                         350

Median Price                     $360,000                           $322,450

Marin real estate does not seem to look as bad as some headlines would lead you to believe.

Warren Carreiro, Broker

Home Sales PLUNGE: Not for Marin

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

It is all over the news this morning; home sales PLUNGE to levels not seen in 15 years.  While this may be true nationwide the saying “real estate is local” definitely applies to Marin.  Sure we have taken our hit on prices and sales and I do feel badly for those homeowners that are underwater or have lost their homes to foreclosure, however, our sales did not plunge in July.

According to the report on Huffington Post sales nationwide are down 27% from last July.  In Marin sales were down 3% from last July.  Year-to-date sales of Marin County Real Estate are up 21% compared to 2009.  The Marin median price is also up 5% so far this year.

Even Belvedere which has a high number of listings (47), with only 2 in contract, and believe me those numbers yell OVERPRICED, is doing better than last year.  So far this year there have been 18 sales compared to 13 for the same period last year.  The median price is down to $808 per square foot from $941 but because it is such a small town with few sales the statistically base is too small to mean much.

Warren Carreiro, Broker

Is Marin high-end real estate about to tumble?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Something is amuck with the high-end housing market in Marin County.  By high-end I mean homes selling for $2,500,000 or higher.  The following information was gathered from Marin MLS (BARIES) so does not include off-market sales.

Listings are up and sales are down which means something has to give.  In the past week alone two months of listing inventory have been added to the market.  The 111 listings represent 17 months of inventory.  In 2007 there were 181 sales of these high priced homes but in 2009 just 78 sold; off 57%.  If we look at the same time period for homes under $2,500,000 sales are off 15%.

It is also interesting to note that the median price of homes under $2,500,000 is 25% down from 2007 to 2009 while the homes over $2,500,000 have only dropped 15% for the same period.

So prices have not dropped nearly as much on the high end but inventory is growing.  I feel this is because many of the owners of high-end homes have/had a larger cushion and would hold out for the price they wanted.  The buyers did not agree with that strategy and home sales declined.   At some point the inventory will get large enough that if someone really does need to sell they will have to price it so it stands out and says “hey buy me, look how low my price is”.  Once that happens we have a new comp which hurts the house next door.  After all, more listings and fewer sales does not leave many options.

Warren Carreiro

Sales of Single Family Homes up 50% in Marin

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

This has not been making the newspaper headlines yet but the sale of single family homes has taken off the first couple of months of 2010 up 50% from the same period last year. Perhaps more disheartening to first time Marin buyers is just 18% of those homes sold for $500,000 or less (compared to 22% for the same period last year).

The focus here is single family homes because they are currently hot. This is not permanent as condo prices tend to leap-frog homes when the price differential is great. That is to say when condo prices approach house prices people tend to say lets buy the house, it is just a little bit more and does not have an association fee. The jump to single family home purchases cause prices to go up creating a price difference large enough that condos look like the better deal. As condo sales increase prices go up and thus the leap-frog of prices. This is true of neighborhoods too, when Greenbrae is just a little more expensive than San Rafael that is where the buyers go. Once the price difference is great San Rafael looks more attractive.

For the first two months of 2010 there were 199 single family homes sold and 18% were $500,000 or less. For the same period in 2009, 22% of the 133 homes were $500,000 or less. All the information for this post comes from the Marin County BARIES MLS, which does not include “off market” sales.

For more information contact:

Warren Carreiro

DRE# 01031805


REO’s can be a great deal

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Most banks don’t want to hold an inventory of foreclosed homes (REO’s) so they are priced to sell quickly which usually equates to a good deal.

Looking at the year-to-date sales of Marin County single family homes $500,000 or less (which is the low end for Marin County real estate) the numbers show that REO’s have sold for less than a traditional sale. One thing these numbers don’t take into account is the condition of the property.  Most REO’s need paint, carpet, and minor repairs.  There are no disclosures to speak of on REO’s so it really is buyer beware because you don’t know the history of problems.

Of the 105 REO’s sales year-to-date ($500,000 or less) the average price was $382,000 with an average of 1387 square feet.

Of the 119 sales that were NOT REO’s the average price was $411,000 with 1239 square feet.

Does this mean every REO is a good deal?  No, but be sure to look at them if you can stomach not having disclosures (which usually means you should get more inspections) on your new home.

Marin Real Estate Is Hot Again!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The Marin County real estate market is hot again. We are seeing multiple offers on many homes and condos. It looks like the deep price reductions along with first time home buyer tax credits and historically low interest rates have buyers bidding in droves.

One measure of how “hot” a real estate market is what percentage of homes on the market are in escrow. A common formula is:

Buyer’s Market: less than 25% of home in escrow

Neutral Market: 25 to 40% of homes in escrow

Seller’s Market: more than 40% of homes in escrow

The hot price range in Marin is anything $600,000 or less. That is where we have 52% of available listings in escrow. The next price jump from $600,000 to $800,000 is also doing well at 33%

As we move up the price range the picture changes. From $800,000 to one million the figure is 22%, a buyer’s market. Homes at one to one and one half million are 17% and over 1.5 million just 9% are in escrow.

Those numbers include condominiums and homes combined. When we lump all price ranges together Marin has 28% in escrow which is higher than we have seen for well over a year. I don’t know how this will play out with the “talked about” last wave of foreclosures but Marin has not been hit nearly as hard as other counties anyway.

My view is if you are looking for a high end home the prices are dropping but if you are in the lower price range waiting to buy will just cost you more money.

Warren Carreiro

Novato Housing Market is Hot

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Novato housing market is on fire, the inventory can’t keep up with buyers. At least that is the case for single family homes priced between $400,000 and $500,000. For those that don’t know that is the lower end in Marin County.

A majority of those homes are receiving multiple offers. When agents outside the area visit Marin they tell us our market is booming. The newspapers give a different impression, one that says real estate is still in a slump, and it is for most of the country and many areas of Marin.

What is it about Novato that is drawing all the buyers? Well for one, Novato got hit on prices much more than most other towns. Just a year or two the $400,000 homes were selling for close to $700,000. Novato has a history of pricing volatility both up and down. One January just a few years ago prices increased 10%. Then late last year it seemed you could not price your home low enough to attract buyers.

Today there are 26 single family homes priced between four and five hundred thousand and 20 of those homes are in escrow. That is 77% in escrow which is defined as a strong sellers market. The buyers of those homes are typically investors or first time homeowners.

While Novato may be enjoying its hay day the high priced homes in Marin are taking price reductions daily. There just are not that many buyers willing to spend a couple of million for a home.

Warren Carreiro, Broker