Marin Real Estate (February 2009)

February 13, 2009 by  


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.

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