Marin Real Estate (April 2010)

April 30, 2010

The sun is out and spring sports are underway – it is officially real estate season. We have reviewed cyclical and seasonal trends in MarinCounty in an effort to predict the balance of 2010. We are more optimistic today than we have been in twenty four months. It seems consumer demand for Marin and San Francisco real estate is regaining its stride. While some real estate decisions can be postponed, eventually buyers need to buy and sellers need to sell. New listings and new escrows are both up over 100% since the turn of the year.

April 2009 marked the inflection point when buyers began cautiously re-engaging with the Marin County real estate market. A year later, Q1 2010 results for volume ($) and units (#) are up significantly in the core of the market. Like the job market, the first quarter of 2010 may also indicate the stabilization of pricing; a required first step in our market’s recovery. As we look forward in 2010 we are encouraged by the recent increase in MarinCounty (and Bay Area-wide) new inventory (listings). Since March 1st, MarinCounty has seen over 450 new listings. Over 175 of these homes have list prices in excess of $1 million.

We continue to analyze buyer behavior and sense their confidence when properties are well priced, staged, and properly presented. Buyers are dismissive of homes that are “over-priced” in order for sellers to leave room for “negotiations”.

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Marin Luxury Report (April 2010)

April 30, 2010

Marin County, California’s luxury home market continues to recover from the wasteland of late 2008 and early 2009 when it seemed as though the luxury home market would never recover. Yet, as reported in previous months, real buyers continue to snap up homes in prestige locations such as Belvedere, Ross, Kent Woodlands, etc., along with “value” properties with undeniable upside. In the $2 million to $4 million price band, sales are up 300% over last year and inventory is down 25% — this combination of factors looks promising for continued improvement. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

The $2 million to $4 million price band  remains volatile with prices down 17% over the past 2 years. Despite this obvious and well-noted trend, many sellers have not adjusted their asking prices to reflect market realities. As noted in my columns over the past two years, a seller’s refusal to price correctly at the outset of the listing period is the single greatest mistake possible. Often, listing agents are willing accomplices however because they will “say anything” to obtain the listing. However, bottom line costs to sellers is very significant. I have developed a chart that show exactly just how bad it gets over time when Marin County sellers and their agents) overprice their homes — please call or e-mail me for a copy.

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Novato Real Estate Market Update (April 2010 Home Sales Report)

April 19, 2010

The Novato, California real estate market continues to exhibit strength across nearly all price bands (not so for homes priced above $1.5 million). March 2010 saw 43 sales (a huge increase from February’s 24 sales and one higher than the very high December 2009 total). The average sales price of Novato homes in March 2010 rose (again) to $653,072. These homes averaged 91 days on market, were about 2,293 sq. ft., and averaged roughly $298 sq. ft.

Novato’s price per square foot has hovered around $300 for a year now — in my mind, we are seeing the gradual recomposition of the market in the era of the “New Normal.” Prices have stabilized and are holding steady (at least at the entry level). I read that one bank has announced a 95% loan to value ratio for California last week — a product that has been almost entirely absent from the market for nearly 2 years.

Novato’s absorption rate (e.g., number of months’ inventory of homes for sale based on last month’s sales totals) shifted downwards into historically low levels for this time of year) — 3.05 months worth of available inventory overall (131 single family homes are currently for sale in Novato). Below are the percentages of homes in escrow in each of Novato’s major price bands:

  • 66% of homes priced under $500,000 (74% last month);
  • 48% of homes between $501,000 and $600,000 (54% last month);
  • 48% of homes between $601,000 and $750,000 (39% last month);
  • 32% of homes between $751,000 and $1 million (28% last month);
  • 16% of homes between $1 million and $1.5 million (23% last month);
  • 0% of homes between $1.5 million and up.

Amazingly, out of 39 homes on the market under $500,000, only 13 are not in escrow (and several of these hit the market less than a week ago) — this is simply amazing!

Of the homes that sold in March 2009:

  • 19 homes were priced under $600,000;
  • 21 homes priced from $601,00 to $1 million; and
  • 3 homes priced from $1 million and up.

Homes in Pointe Marin, Country Club, Hamilton Field, Rush Creek, and Bel Marin Keys generated the most calls and showings this past month. My listing at 94 Maybeck Street, Novato (South Gate at Hamilton Field) sold for 98.7% of list price in 10 days. If you would like me to run the exact numbers for your Novato neighborhood or if you have any questions about Novato’s many delightful communities, just give me a call at (415) 350-9440.

NEW HOMES: The 3 Model Homes being built at The Landing at Hamilton Field (I am the exclusive marketing agent for this project), located adjacent to South Gate, are expected to be completed in June 2010. We expect that the first homes will be ready for occupancy in August 2010. Pricing will begin in the mid-$800,000’s. Interest surrounding this new luxury community has been significant. Please call me at (415) 350-9440 for more information. Or visit our website at

Again, if you would like me to run the exact numbers for your Novato neighborhood or if you have any questions about Novato’s many delightful communities, just give me a call at (415) 350-9440. My name is Kyle Frazier. I am a Broker, Realtor, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), with Christie’s Great Estates | Morgan Lane Marin Real Estate (Pacific Union International). It is always my pleasure to be of service.