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

Marin Median Home Price: 5 Year History

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

The number of sales and median price of Marin county single family homes has fallen dramatically over the past five years. All the numbers below are from January 1 to May 18 (YTD) for each year.

While single family sales overall are down 55% from 2005, for homes one million or more sales for the same period are down 74%. For home $500,000 or less the number of sales are up 1,300% (6 to 78).

So when we read the headlines “Median Price Plummets” don’t just assume that every house has lost half its value (some have). The truth is prices are down but what really is affecting the median price is sales at the low end have jumped while sales at the high end have plummeted. When the median price is calculated it does not take into account which homes are selling.

Number of Single Family Sales January 1 to May 18 for past five years

Year # Sales over 1M # Sales all prices # Sales under 500k
2009 107 403 78
2008 266 516 32
2007 399 755 3
2006 334 728 2
2005 414 897 6

Source: BARIES Marin County MLS

Median Marin County Price for January 1 to May 18 for each year

Year Single Family All Sales Condos
2009 $740,000 $625,000 $275,500
2008 $1,037,500 $875,000 $500,000
2007 $1,024,000 $880,000 $558,000
2006 $963,000 $865,000 $550,000
2005 $949,000 $840,000 $537,000

Source: BARIES Marin MLS

Information deemed correct but not guaranteed.

Do not refinance your home!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

 If you are up-side-down on your home (owe more than it is worth) and are considering foreclosure or a short sale you need to know the ramification each option has.

If you purchased your California home in the past couple of years with 100% financing and the home is worth less than your purchase price foreclosure may be your best option.  This may also only be true if you have NOT refinanced your home.  You see, in California, in a foreclosure the bank has no recourse on your assets beyond your home (original purchase money only- does not apply to refinanced property).  So if you want to walk from the house -give it back to the bank, the hit you take is on your credit rating for seven years.

Option 2 might be to sell your property and ask the bank to forgive the difference between your loan and sells price.  Even if the bank will not forgive you the difference this is called a short sale.  In a short sale your credit is not hit as bad as a foreclosure.  However, the bank will likely come after your other assets AND (this is a big one) the IRS will tax you on any amount forgiven by your lender.  Don’t forget when the IRS wants your money they get it.

If you want to refinance your property to keep the payments low that will be hard to do at 100% financing and it may take away the best foreclosure on original purchase money has to offer.

Because this subject has such legal and financial ramifications if this article applies to your situation get professional legal (attorney) and financial (CPA) advice.
Warren Carreiro