Novato Real Estate Market Update (December 2008 Home Sales Report)

December 10, 2008 by  

“Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!” Never thought Walt Whitman would appear in a real estate article? Neither did I. Yet, this past year’s real estate market in Novato evokes a poetically disjointed and disarticulated scene from Leaves of Grass. It’s been 20 years since I read the book, but I recall the broad themes carrying despair and hope within and between stanzas of its several poems. Those same themes echo metaphorically within our Novato market.

On the one hand, as prices dip back to 2003 levels for condos and entry level homes, those who bought these properties with 100% financing are often finding themselves well underwater. And those positioned to buy are now snapping up Novato’s value properties at previously unfathomable prices. By way of example, earlier today I e-mailed some clients about a Novato condo they sold  in 2006 for $420,000–it is currently a short sale priced under $200,000. Alternately, the number of Novato’s upscale homes in escrow equates with the rate of the traditionally stronger Southern Marin market. As such, Novato “contain[s] multitudes.” 

Although the number of single family homes on the market in Novato is well down off its high earlier this year–there are currently 172 active single family home listings–there are many outstanding values out there as Sellers now understand and appreciate the need for aggressive pricing. The relatively large foreclosure inventory in Novato continues to deflate values in most neighborhoods. Of course, some neighborhoods have been hit worse than others. However, the general condition and the stringent sales requirements forced upon buyers of these homes continue to repel many buyers who refuse to be bullied or take on potentially expensive repairs. Additionally, the rock bottom pricing strategy often utilized are leading to multiple offer situations which are anathema to many buyers who have no inclination to compete.  

While 2 years ago, there may have been 2-5 homes priced under $600,000 in Novato at any given moment, there are about 10 homes in Novato priced under $400,000 right now. Unbelievable? My investor clients agree that Novato is the “Valhalla of Value” in Marin County.

Certainly, we are seeing young and old alike flocking to Novato where the stringent requirements of lenders can more easily be met as compared to the higher priced communities of Southern and Central Marin. About the same as in November 2008, we currently have 32 homes listed under $500,000 and an amazing 60% of these are in escrow. There are a total of 96 single family homes today priced under $600,000 (with 23% in escrow). At the top end of the spectrum, Novato’s $1 million-plus market has slowed, but still boasts a respectable 15% of homes in escrow–right in line with Novato’s southerly neighbors. 

Twenty-seven Novato homes were sold in November 2008–down by 9 from October 2008. These homes averaged about 103 days on market, were about 1,977 sq. ft., and sold for an average sales price of $608,000 (roughly $320 per sq. ft.). Homes in Hamilton Field, Pointe Marin, Country Club, Rush Creek, and Bel Marin Keys generated the most calls and showings this past month. If you are thinking of buying, please call my office at (415) 350-9440 as I have a long list of people who would like to sell their homes, but are not quite ready to list their home officially.


Price Range

Total Homes

Pending Listings

Up to $500K



$500K – $600K



$600K – $750K



$750K – $1 mil.



$1 mil. & Up




For a brief explanation of the importance of the statistic addressing the percentage of “Pending” listings, click HERE. If you would like me to run the exact numbers on your neighborhood, just give me a call at (415) 350-9440. It is always my pleasure to be of service.


One Response to “Novato Real Estate Market Update (December 2008 Home Sales Report)”

  1. Novato Real Estate Market Update (December 2008 Home Sales Report) | Marin Real Estate -- Homes For Sale on December 11th, 2008 10:25 am

    […] As such, Novato “contain[s] multitudes.” [click here for the rest of the article, courtesy of]. […]

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