Marin Luxury Report (February 2010)

March 29, 2010

Marin County, California’s luxury home market continues to recover from the proverbial 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. Indeed, “value” properties are gobbled up quickly. Despite this apparent thirst for luxury digs, inventory levels remain 40% higher than two years ago. This trend is not unique to Marin, but prevails nationwide. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE.

The below chart reflects the number of homes in the $2 million to $4 million luxury price band which are in escrow (compared against the past 2 years). Note that the number of homes with accepted offers (not closed sales), is up 50% from 2 years ago and 450% from last year. This is a promising trend.

Another statistic that may not be readily apparent to casual observers is the fact that prices in the $2 million to $4 million price band are stabilizing as median sales prices countywide are down just 6% over the past 2 years. Of course, the impact of the downturn varies greatly by neighborhood and even within neighborhoods based on amenities.

[Click here for the rest of the article, courtesy of ImagineMarin.com.]

Marin Luxury Report (January 2010)

March 29, 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.

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com.]

Marin Luxury Report (December 2009)

January 19, 2010

The luxury home market in Marin County, California, which is vastly improved over a year ago, seems to have hit a comfortable level of activity. As reported in previous months, real buyers continue to homes in prestige locations with emphasis on views and lifestyle amenities (such as large usable yards, proximity to athletic clubs/shopping, reputable schools, and sensible scales). And they are seeking “value.” For the last 2 quarters, the Marin County luxury market has strongly favored homes priced under $3 million.

For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail or call me at (415) 350-9440.

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 popular cities in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield.

 
 
[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com]

Marin Luxury Report (November 2009)

January 19, 2010

Building on a trend noted in last month’s report, media coverage of the overall economy has improved. In particular, reporting on the housing market. Forecasters are predicting that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy (based on a survey by the National Association for Business Economics). According to that organization, home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year — over 80% of economists surveyed think the recession is over and recovery has begun. The Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann, predicts that sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, with sales of new homes climbing 21 percent.

But, perhaps more importantly, the Dow Jones has rocketed up past 10,000 and the tone of the W-shaped recovery dialogue has moderated. It was announced today that JPMorgan Chase plans to hire 1,200 mortgage bankers in light of improved housing market and signs of stability.

Finally, we know from past experience that in down cycles, once the San Francisco housing market recovers, there is a domino effect on surrounding communities. Accordingly, in our current cycle, we believe that our best leading indicator regarding a healthy, appreciating market (particularly in Southern Marin) will be the home sales environment in San Francisco. And there can be no doubt that the San Francisco market has improved dramatically in recent months. Additionally, as the banking institutions regain their footing and again provide bonuses to their employees, we will also see a surge in luxury home sales. In fact, if bonuses are significant and broad-based, I predict a very strong luxury sales market early in 2010 as buyers snap up the many “values” out there in the luxury and ultra-luxury sectors.

As reported in previous months, real buyers have become less numerous. They are placing emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale. And they are seeking “value.” The Marin County luxury market has favored homes priced under $3 million — although 5 homes traded over $4 million in November 2009. [For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail or call me at (415) 350-9440.]

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 “hot” locales in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield. Interestingly, while Belvedere continues to see asking prices drop, Kentfield and Mill Valley have seen asking prices increase over the last 4 months. Of course, asking prices do not necessarily closely reflect selling prices and in Mill Valley, there are lots of homes on the market in the higher price bands, which have not sold.

 

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% higher than last year for 6 months, but has dipped to about 15%. Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield is up 65% and Tiburon – Belvedere inventory levels are over 90% higher than last year.

Below is a new chart focusing on the percentage of homes that have experiencd price reductions and the depth of those price reductions, on average. This chart examines these trends in Mill Valley and in Belvedere – Tiburon. It is perhaps not surprising that nearly 35% of listings in Tiburon – Belvedere have experienced a price reduction and those reductions average about 12%.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com]

Marin Luxury Report (October 2009)

November 2, 2009

In our New Economy, real buyers have become less numerous and have placed increased emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale. As reported all year, the luxury segment remains weighted towards homes priced under $3 million — although 4 homes priced over $4 million sold in October 2009. First and foremost, the economy must give reason for optimism and the stock market must continue to win back gains lost over the past year. Once some of those gains are recaptured, affluent buyers will feel more comfortable with major purchases again.

Meanwhile, the media has been placing a positive spin on economic news coverage, which will hopefully result in a positive feedback loop. For example, a story run in the A.P. last week noted that economic forecasters are predicting that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy (based on a survey by the National Association for Business Economics). According to that organization, home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year and over 80 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE think the recession is over and recovery has begun. In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story last week regarding how low interest rates have spurred a modest increase in Bay Area home sales in September. Also concurring with the expectation of growth is the Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann, who predicts that sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, with sales of new homes climbing 21 percent.

For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click HERE. And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

The below graph tracks asking prices for 3 “hot” locales in Marin — Tiburon/Belvedere (they are combined here because they use the same zip code), Mill Valley, and Kentfield. Interestingly, while Belvedere continues to see asking prices drop, Kentfield and Mill Valley have seen asking prices increase over the 120 days. Of course, asking prices do not necessarily closely reflect selling prices and in Mill Valley, there are lots of homes on the market in the higher price bands, which have not sold.

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com].

Marin Luxury Report (September 2009)

November 2, 2009

Earlier this month marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the equities market meltdown, which profoundly impacted Marin County, California’s luxury real estate market. In our New Economy, real buyers have become less numerous and have placed increased emphasis on prestige locations, views, lifestyle amenities (usable yards, proximity to clubs/shopping, etc.), schools, and sensible scale.

As reported all year, the luxury segment remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million — while we had 3 sales of homes priced over $4 million in July 2009, yet August 2009 saw just 1 sale in this affluent price band. Among the sales last month, was a $5.1 million trade in Belvedere (an amazing home on a double lot on the Belvedere Lagoon) and an off-market $8 million Kentfield (both buyers and sellers were represented by my company). The reasons for the slowdown in sales is no mystery, so too are the reasons we will eventually return to normalcy. First and foremost, the economy must give reason for optimism and the stock market must continue to win back gains lost over the past year. Once some of those gains are recaptured, affluent buyers will feel more comfortable with major purchases again. And it looks like we are heading in that direction — last week, Ben Bernanke noted that the recession is likely over and the Wall Street Journal (a media source which is not-so-subtly slanted against real estate investment) noted that real estate “has rarely looked better” — click HERE for article. Also, for a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated September 13, 2009, click HERE.  And if you would like a hyper-local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.
[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com]

Marin Luxury Report (August 2009)

September 10, 2009

Marin County, CA’s luxury real estate market segment continues to take shape in the aftermath of the equities meltdown of Fall 2008. In our New Economy, buyers are placing emphasis on prestige locations, sweeping views, grand appointments, compelling “estate history,” and impressive scale. The luxury market in Marin remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million, although we did have 3 sales of homes priced over $4 million in July 2009. The number of sales in July 2009 is off by 74% from July 2008. The news is not all negative, however, as we had several significant properties trade last month and another 30 luxury homes are currently in escrow. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated August 2, 2009, click hereNote, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

Buyers remain dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year median asking prices in Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield). But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Fall as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not necessarily “Luxury” territory here in Marin (although declining prices are putting some very nice homes into the sub-$2 million price bands), a sizable segment of buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers). The chart below indicates that across the trend in Marin’s luxury segment is for lower prices — 10-25% lower than last year in Mill Valley, Belvedere, and Kentfield.

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% since May 2009 (much improved from a nearly 60% inventory increase in February 2009). Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield has rocketed nearly 90% higher this year compared with last year. In combination, Tiburon and Belvedere inventory levels are about 70% higher than last year. Prediction: Kentfield and Tiburon / Belvedere prices will continue to recede through Q4 2009. Indeed, we can see that trend has set in dramatically in the above chart which tracks asking prices of homes currently for sale.

[For the rest of this report, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com, click HERE.]

Marin Luxury Report (July 2009)

September 10, 2009

Marin County, CA’s luxury real estate market segment is slow and remains weighted towards homes priced under $4 million — just one home priced over $4 million sold in June 2009 and it was an off-the-market sale. The number of sales in June 2009 is off by over 40% from June 2008, yet the average price of sold homes is down just 3% from last year. In Marin, only the homes with special locations, views, or features seem to be getting significant attention. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated July 19, 2009,click hereNote, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440. Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is again improved this month. As earnings reports come in for Q2 and the stock market has found some hope in the numbers, it does not appear that such developments consitute the siren call buyers seek.

As noted last month, buyers remain dubious of price stability for good reason. But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, a sizable segment of buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers). The chart below indicates that across the trend in Marin’s luxury segment is for lower prices — 10% to 28% lower than last year in Mill Valley, Belvedere, and Kentfield.

The year over year inventory levels in Mill Valley have hovered at around 20% for the past couple of months. Meanwhile, inventory in Kentfield has rocketed to 60% higher than last year. Belvedere is 75% higher than last year. Prediction: Kentfield and Belvedere prices will continue to recede markedly through Q4 2009. Indeed, we can see that trend has set in dramatically in the above chart.

[For the rest of this report, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com, click HERE.]

Marin Luxury Report (June 2009)

July 10, 2009

As noted in prior reports this year, Marin County, CA’s luxury segment is slow and currently weighted towards homes priced under $4 million. In fact, not a single home priced over $4 million sold in May 2009 and just 2 are currently in escrow (although that could change in a moment as the domino effect is very real in home sales). Of course, the luxury home slump exists throughout the country as affluent buyers wait for a signal to buy. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing dated June 14, 2009, click here. Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is improved again this month. And while the stock market closed in the black for the year last week, this week has brought a correction. So, it appears we will continue to wait for the buying signal. Note, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

Buyers are dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year median prices in Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield). But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer er as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, many buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers).

[Click HERE for the rest of the article, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com.]

Marin Luxury Homes (May 2009)

July 10, 2009

Real estate sales in Marin County’s luxury segment are currently weighted towards homes priced under $4 million. In fact, not a single home priced above $4 million is in escrow (although that could change in a moment as the domino effect is very real in home sales). But, as it stands, the ultra-luxury home sales segment is flat-lining in Marin County, CA. For a detailed snapshot of current national trends from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, click here (May 17, 2009 Report). Note, if you would like a local report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, call me at (415) 350-9440.

Yet, the news relating to home starts and permit applications is improving: the West experienced a 42.5% jump in housing starts; the National Association of Homebuilders reported increased confidence (as high as it has been in 9 months); and construction and permits both rose last month (these are considered leading indicators on the macro level relating to housing stability). Nonetheless, the inertia of caution remains firm.

Buyers are dubious of price stability for good reason (see chart below reflecting year over year prices in Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield). But, increased conforming loan limits and a pronounced level of increased affordability across the board should help sales moving forward into the Summer as buyers with 25% down will obtain top-shelf financing for purchases of $1.6 million. While not “Luxury” territory here in Marin, many buyers of luxury homes must sell their current homes first (80% of buyers are sellers).

[Click HERE for the rest of the report, courtesy of www.ImagineMarin.com.]

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