Marin Luxury Real Estate (February 2009)

February 14, 2009

Over the past few months, notable slowing of the luxury real estate market was apparent nationwide, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Marin County. This past month a slight up-tick has emerged in the Marin market as the number of homes in escrow has increased and buyer enthusiasm is improved. Open houses have been busy. Offers are being written. And agents who work the luxury market are noting a more focused approach by buyers. Meanwhile, the national numbers are generally flat or declining. For a detailed accounting of national trends, click here for the February 2009 Market Report from Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Note, if you would like a similar report relating to any town or zip code in Marin or San Francisco, e-mail me and I will send you a pdf of the report(s)–it is my pleasure to be of service.


The graph below reflects a 90-day rolling average of asking prices for homes in the topmost quartile (e.g. prices of the most expensive homes) in 3 touchstone Marin County cities: Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Kentfield. As you can see, over the past year, prices have declined in each. 

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research

Note however, that a few homes in Kentfield marketed early last year were priced at the extreme high end, resulting in an exaggerated shift.

$2 Million to $4 Million Luxury Homes

There are 102 homes on the market between $2 million and $4 million (as predicted this is way up from last month’s 69). Sellers are anxious to get their homes on the market early this year in hopes of getting jump on the market. We’ll see if this pays off. Certainly the number of sales fell off the cliff following the Septemer meltdown — there were 18 sales in October 2008 (these buyers were well into their escrow periods at the time of the meltdown) and just 5 in January 2009 (up one from December 2008).

[Click here for the rest of the report, courtesy of]

Marin Real Estate (February 2009)

February 13, 2009


As of this writing, the Stimulus Bill and its apparently watered down home buyer tax credit is being finalized. Yet economists and consumers are grim. Ergo, the Marin County, California real estate market continues its slow and steady march into the teeth of a tireless media storm of negativity. Yes, the market overall is fairly slow, but not as slow as it may appear. Sales in Northern Marin’s Novato were up 30% January 2009 over January 2008–as I like to say, “Give Yourself a Raise–Move to Novato!” 

The chart below shows a 90-day rolling average of Mill Valley’s new listings and absorbed listings (e.g., sales), comparing current numbers with those of last year. Note that the while the numbers for new listings are about the same, the number of absorbed listings is up in 2009 over 2008. Again, while the wheels of the real estate market are sticking and squeaking, they have not fallen off (although sellers are advised to wear seat belts). If you would like a similar chart for any other town or city in Marin or San Francisco, please let me know.


Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research


Obviously, the more stringent underwriting policies of lenders are stifling demand. In addition, I am quite aware that some home buyers are continuing to wait for the perceived bottom, despite the FACT that interest rates are as low as could be realistically expected and prices in many Marin communities and neighborhoods have receded to 2003 or 2004 price levels. As evidenced by frenzied investor activity, particularly in Novato, there is definite traction at the low end. And once prices stabilize at the low end, the rippling effect upwards will follow.

[click here for the rest of this article, courtesy of].

San Rafael Real Estate Market Report (February 2009 Home Sales Update)

February 12, 2009

Following Novato’s lead, San Rafael’s real estate market is gathering momentum at the low end as foreclosures and short sales drive the market. With 40% of the homes for sale under $600K currently in escrow, we are looking at a pretty strong seller’s market in this competitive price range. Homes priced between $600K and $800K are also selling at a rapid clip — 29% of these homes are in escrow. While interest rates on conforming loans are super-low (again down to 4.75% as of today), the rates for conforming jumbo loans are a bit higher and apparently not being embraced by buyers as the San Rafael housing market is flat above $1 million (see below chart). At this time it is unclear what new benefits, if any, home buyers may reap from the new Stimulus Bill (click here for my recent article on this topic ). There are currently 5 houses on the market under $500,000, and another 19 under $600,000. Overall, the number of homes on the market remains low, with 142 homes (up from 114 last month). 

18 single family homes sold in January 2009 (same as January 2009), the average days on market was 105 days. These homes averaged about 1,864 square feet and sold for an average price of about $662,000–roughly $366 per sq. ft. San Rafael’s strongest micro-climate markets in were Terra Linda, Peacock Gap, and Lucas Valley. Finally, if you know anyone interested in an Atrium Eichler on a quiet cul-de-sac, please let me know as 25 Calafia Court in Terra Linda is currently active. 

Price Range

Total Homes

Pending Listings

       Up to $600K            40 (up 1)           40%

$600K – $800K

55 (down 24)


$800K – $1 mil.

35 (up 10)


$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

27 (up 6)


$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

11 (up 2)


$2 mil. & Up

13 (up 3)


If you have any questions regarding the current real estate market in San Rafael, California, please contact Kyle Frazier, Marin Realtor & CRS, Frank Howard Allen Realtors Marin: (415) 350-9440.