Many people are confused about the state of the Marin Real Estate market, in part because of media reports. Off the top, we can tell you that the Marin home market remains healthy. Here is an overview, comparing home sales in 2019 to those in 2018.
Single-Family Home Sales
- The number of single-family homes sold was the same in 2019 as in 2018 (2,204 versus 2,192).
- The median sale price was down 3%, while average price per square foot was down only 0.5%.
Condo and Townhouse Sales
- The number of condos and townhouses sold was down 3% (577 versus 595).
- The median sales price was down 4%, while average price per square foot was down only 1%.
Looking at the Numbers
The numbers for 2018 and 2019 indicate that home appreciation has leveled out. Median sales prices of single-family homes show consistent home values over the last 15 months, with the usual seasonal fluctuations. This is a welcome development, as the housing price inflation that we have seen for the past several years may be unsustainable.
Unusual Market Trends
This year, we noticed unusual housing market trends that may tell us more about our local market.
High demand for high-end homes to $12M and higher
As part of the Top Agent Network of Marin, we have seen many requests from other Realtors for high-end properties. This is a summary of the requests that we have seen over the last four months:
|Location||Number of Requests||Requested Price in Millions|
|Anywhere in Marin||10||$3.4M||$12|
Indications from this data
- Buyer interest and budgets remain high.
- Many buyers are looking for high-end properties, primarily south of San Rafael.
- There are not enough properties on the market to meet the demand.
The Marin MLS reports official price reductions as they occur. We took two snapshots of the active properties in October and November. The number of price reductions for single family homes varied from 7 to 10%. The reductions for condos and townhouses were from 8 to 16%.
You might expect that this unusually high number of price reductions would result in lower sale prices. However, sale prices have been relatively stable. The best explanation is that initial list prices were too high. Some sellers could be assuming the same rate of inflation that we have seen for the last few years. However, the market is not supporting expected higher prices based on the previous rates of appreciation.
Attractive homes in Southern Marin are selling at prices over the list price and with multiple offers. Generally, these are homes that are beautifully remodeled, well-staged, located on flat lots, and in superior school districts. These homes are attracting the most interest and sell quickly.
Perceptions and Reality of the Marin Real Estate Market
The news media has we varied reports on the health of the real estate market. These reports are often based on data from statewide and national reports, which may not apply directly to Marin.
There are two overriding factors that strengthen the Marin housing market:
- There is a shortage of homes for sale and many willing buyers. Supply and demand make this a sellers’ market.
- Due to the strong Bay Area economy, there are many highly qualified buyers. Many of them offer all-cash for purchases.