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
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
Marin County is known for its outstanding quality of life. To those of us that live here that means the vast amount of usable Open Space and public parks. We also enjoy clean ocean air from the Pacific Ocean which is just over Mt. Tamalpais. Most of our population is considerate to the environment which means we recycle as much as possible and you will find an unusually high percentage of Hybrid cars.
Our schools are some of the best in California and likely rank among the top in the United States as well. Combine that with low unemployment, proximity to beaches, San Francisco, the Wine County, culture, and great shopping and you can see why this is a great place to live.
If you would like to learn more about Marin, or Marin County Real Estate contact life-long resident and Real Estate Broker, Warren Carreiro at 415-846-7286 or warren@RealtyOfMarin.com .
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.
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:
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.
When looking for a new home put Short Sales at the bottom of your list. The reason most Short Sales fall out of escrow is the buyers get tired of waiting for the bank to accept their offer. In most cases it takes months for the Short Sale bank to respond to your offer and then you might find out they want to counter with a higher price. Or perhaps you have waited several months for the bank to respond they at the last minute a new buyer comes in with a higher offer than yours. At the very least I hope you keep looking for another “perfect” home while waiting for the bank to respond, and no, it is not legal to write offers on several Short Sales and take the first one that is approved (unless you disclose your intent on all offers).
Maybe everything goes along perfect, the bank accepts your offer and then you find out the sellers have changed their mind. Rather than go through with the Short Sale they will let the bank foreclose and live in the house for several more months without paying their mortgage.
Speaking of waiting, did you realize that you don’t lock your loan rate until the bank accepts your offer? This means you may write your offer when rates are in the 4% range and by the time the bank accepts your offer rates may have gone up close to 6%.
Don’t think you are getting a better price on a Short Sale either. Many times the bank will list the home for a lower price as an REO (foreclosed home) than a Short Sale offer they refused.