I want to update you on what's going on with real estate prices recently. Home prices have rebounded in some areas, but not others. Part of this has to do with differneces in demand for different neighborhoods within each city. You see, real estate is extremely local when it comes to home values. That's why looking at prices by state, metropolitan area, county, or even city can erroneously skew data. In addition, median home prices can be misleading because of the mix of high-end homes and low-end homes that change hands, even in a specific neighborhood.
In other words, home prices are literally all over the map, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. However, it is worth noting that there are some trends that have developed when looking at various zip codes. In general, prices fell by the biggest percentages in lower-cost, outlying areas. One of the reasons is that more first-time home buyers bought homes with sub-prime loans in these areas, who then had their homes taken by banks and sold at cut-rate prices. Prices fell the least in high-end, coastal areas. This can be attributed to more affluent people living in these homes with greater staying power as a result of higher incomes, savings, family money, and/or lower cost loans.
Despite price rebounds scattered across various areas over the past year, current values are sharply lower almost everywhere compared with the market's peak in the summer of 2006. Again, prices are still falling and have also risen within each zip code. For example, San Rafael had an amazing price increase of 79% in the past year. San Anselmo was up 10.3%. Whereas, Belvedere-Tiburon dipped by double digits over the past year.
The Marin real estate market continues to show more activity as we get deeper into spring. As always, it's difficult to predict where the market will go from here, but perhaps the best deals will be found in the more stagnant high-end real estate market this year.
Jonathan B. Jacobs is a realtor who works with luxury home buyers and sellers as well as first-time home buyers and sellers. For advice on buying or selling your home in Marin, a free market analysis complete with comps, or to go see any of the listings found on this website, contact Jonathan B. Jacobs.