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

March 9, 2009 by  

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. We are currently experiencing 31% pending ratio for homes priced at or below $600K. Although not as strong a market segment as Novato, I would still characterize it as competitive price band.

Importantly, San Rafael’s bread and butter homes, priced between $600K and $800K continue selling at a rapid clip — 31% of these homes are in escrow (up 2% from January 2009). Low interest rates on conforming loans are helping many buyers in the lower price ranges attain home ownership. Meanwhile, 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 lower chart). But, the $8K tax credit for first time home buyers should also help pull buyers into the fray as value priced properties come onto the market. Amazingly, we have 15 homes currently being marketed under $500,000 (there were just 5 last month), and another 16 under $600,000. Overall, the number of homes on the market remains relatively low, with 153 homes (up from 142 last month). 

As many inquiries come in regarding the distressed market, the chart below illustrates the number of, and percentage of, distressed sales so far in 2009.

SFH Sales – January 1 – March 6, 2009






% of Total

Marin County








San Rafael & Novato








All Other Cities








Source:  BAREIS March 8,2009


Roughly 50% of the sales in Marin County this year were in San Rafael and Novato. Of these San Rafael and Novato sales, nearly 50% were distressed sales. In all other cities the distressed component of the market is roughly 17%. 

Despite the relatively high ratio of pendings in San Rafael, only 12 homes sold in February 2009 (granted, that is a short month), which is 33% lower than January 2009. The average days on market was 148 days, sales price was $673,000, square footage was 1,846–roughly $394 per sq. ft. San Rafael’s strongest micro-climate markets in were Terra Linda, Lucas Valley, and Peacock Gap. 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                    42 (up 2)                     40%

$600K – $800K

61 (up 9)


$800K – $1 mil.

35 (no change)


$1 mil. – 1.5 mil.

33 (up 6)


$1.5 mil. – $2 mil.

11 (down 1)


$2 mil. & Up

16 (up 3)


If you have any questions regarding the current real estate market in San Rafael, CA, please contact Kyle Frazier, Marin Realtor & CRS, Morgan Lane Marin Real Estate: (415) 350-9440. 

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