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Marin County Real Estate Market Tracker

Median Sales Price
Avg. Days on Market
# Homes Sold
% List Price Received

A Look at the Past
Back in November, we identified lack of inventory as a critical factor in the competitiveness and price incline of the Marin market. As of December 1, inventory has dropped off even more steeply. The number of new condo listings is down 36.17% since November of 2014. The number of available single-family homes has dropped 26.8%. Along with this decline in inventory, the number of pending sales is rising. In November, the number of pending sales were almost double the number of new listings.

What’s a Buyer to Do?
This drought of inventory puts tremendous pressure on buyers, as they far outnumber the available properties. To make matters worse, the median number of days a condo will spend on the market is only 34. A single-family home will spend a median of 43 days on market, one of the lowest points in the last three years. To put this number in perspective, we can examine the Months Supply of Inventory, which is at the one month mark; this means that, if there were no new listings, we’d sell out in a month! Buyers must make decisions extremely quickly and have excellent credentials (pre-approval!) in order to be competitive. If time allows buyers should consider doing their inspections before writing and presenting an offer enabling them to write a non-contingent offer thereby making their offer more attractive. Buyer’s should also work with a seasoned real estate team with the connections necessary to give them an edge-the edge equating to knowledge of homes that are off market and homes which have yet to hit the market.

What Does this Mean for Home Ownership at Large?
It’s no surprise then that the median sales price (MSP) for both condos and single family homes continues to rise. The question, then, is what this means for the long term value of home ownership.

There is no doubt as to the advantages of owning real estate. But, as evidenced by the twelve-month MSP, attempting to turn a property within that first twelve months is not necessarily profitable. That said, the market can be idiosyncratic: over the last three years, condos have outperformed single-family homes. However, over the last twelve months, the price of single-family homes is up 11.34% while that of condos is down 1.73%.

A Glance into the Future
In January’s newsletter, we will be investigating that ominous word: “Bubble.” Here’s some food for thought. Right now, according to Sara Sutachan of the California Association of Realtors, “…the payment on the median-priced home would currently consume just shy of 55% of the median household’s income. That is higher than the ratio you see in most other states, but it is only slightly higher than California’s historical average of 50%. It is also far below the 90% of income that was being consumed in 2006, when prices were high AND rates were in the 6.5% range. It is also encouraging that these prices are at a much higher employment and population base to support them as well.”

There is also the fact that there is no inventory and people need a place to live. And additionally there is an overabundance of buyers often with large down payments who easily qualify for a home purchase even at Marin prices.


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