On November 9, 2017

Marin County Home Prices & Market Trends

2017 has been a high demand, low supply market in Marin and throughout the Bay Area, with median sales price increases pretty much across the board. As mentioned in earlier reports, the greatest pressure of buyer demand has generally been focused on the more affordable market segments, as defined within each overall county market. The recent terrible fires in the wine country will only add to pressures on both the resale and rental markets in the county, especially in its northern communities. Typically, and we will see how it plays out this year, the market begins to go into hibernation just before Thanksgiving and does not really wake up until mid-January – this is especially true of higher-end home segments – but the mid-winter slowdown period can be a good time to buy, as we discuss further in this report.

Median Home Price Appreciation Trends
for Selected Cities & for the County Overall

Average Dollar per Square Foot Trends
for Selected Marin Cities & Towns

Let us know if you would like trend data on a city or town not included on the charts above.

This chart below based on CoreLogic S&P Case-Shiller data compares the appreciation of the more expensive Bay Area home markets (blue line) – such as most of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo – to the overall national trend (green line), going back to 1987. It is interesting to see where our local appreciation rates have diverged from national rates: The divergence since 2012 has been particularly striking.

Note that the numbers on this chart all refer to a January 2000 price of 100. So, the latest Bay Area reading of 238 means that home prices here have appreciated, according to Case-Shiller, by 138% since January 2000. National home prices appreciated by 95% during that period.



Market Overviews
The largest market segment in Marin is that for 3-bedroom houses.
(In San Francisco, the largest segment is of 2-bedroom condos.)



Luxury Home Sales

Luxury home markets generally cooled around the Bay Area from late 2015 to autumn 2016 – due to all the financial market volatility (Chinese stock market crash, oil price crash, Brexit) and political uncertainty during that period – but recovered in 2017, just as the stock market has surged dramatically higher since the presidential election.



Market Statistics by City & Town

Corte Madera, Greenbrae and Larkspur continue to occupy the sweet spot in the Marin market due to a number of issues, including the combination of being less expensive than some adjacent communities, and having easier commutes to the city than more affordable towns and cities further west or north. (Of course, they are also lovely places to live, but that applies to just about anywhere in the county.) Note that market heat is a matter of degree: Almost every community market in Marin is very strong when compared to historical trends. The statistics of several other cities and towns are very close to those of Corte Madera, Greenbrae and Larkspur, and small differences are not particularly significant when working with general analyses such as these below.

As noted on several of the charts, it is not unusual for the highest priced markets to have somewhat softer statistics: The pool of qualified buyers is much smaller, and luxury homes are typically more prone to overpricing, both of which affect buyer response, time on market and so on.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI)
The lower the MSI, the stronger the demand as compared
to the supply of home listings available to purchase. Most of
these MSI readings are very, very low .

Percentage of Listings Accepting Offers
The higher the percentage the hotter the demand.
Most of these percentages are very, very high.

Average Days on Market
Generally speaking, the fewer the days on market, the stronger the demand.

Market Heat by PRICE SEGMENT
as Measured by Months Supply of Inventory



Seasonality & the Real Estate Market
Listing activity, buyer demand and price reductions
all ebb and flow dramatically by season.

Advantages to Buying during the Mid-November to Mid-January Slowdown

Just before Thanksgiving the market typically begins to rapidly subside until starting to revive about 7-8 weeks later. Many buyers simply check out during this period, but there are good reasons for staying engaged – mainly the possibility of getting a much better deal. In late October and November, sellers begin reducing prices in large numbers as they try to capture the attention of buyers before the big slowdown: Buyers should treat these as brand new listings and take a new look. Competition between buyers drops dramatically during the mid-winter period, and since competitive bidding is the biggest single factor behind higher prices, its decline can mean significant savings. Fewer buyers also mean that sellers are often more willing to negotiate: Throw offers in at whatever price you feel is right and see where they go. It is true that the number of new listings coming on markets plunges, but there are still hundreds of listings to consider for those willing to stay in the game.

It is unclear at this time, how the wine country fires may affect market dynamics during what is usually by far the slowest season of the year.

Three Suggestions: As recent events have reminded us, disasters can arrive suddenly and with little warning, so: 1) Contact your insurance agent to make sure your policy is updated to cover the full, current value of your home and possessions. 2) This website contains useful information on being prepared and having a plan in the event disaster strikes: Disaster Preparation Guide & Resources. 3) Many communities now have early-warning communications programs that can automatically email, text or call you in the event of a disaster, and then provide useful ongoing updates on the situation. Check with your county and city governments to see what is available, and sign up ASAP.

Please let us know if you have questions or we can be of assistance in any other way. We have dozens of other analyses specific to the Marin County real estate market.

All our Bay Area real estate analyses can be found here: Paragon Market Reports

It is impossible to know how median and average value statistics apply to any particular home without a specific, tailored, comparative market analysis. In real estate, the devil is always in the details.

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Median and average statistics are enormous generalities: There are hundreds of different markets in the Bay Area, each with its own unique dynamics. Median prices and average dollar per square foot values can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value. Longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term.

© 2017 Paragon Real Estate Group

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