The theory of yin and yang tells us that eventually everything changes into its opposite, and the Marin County real estate market is in the process of doing just that! The traditional late summer/early fall market rally has hit. Significantly more homes are being sold than there are new listings to replace them and our months' supply of inventory (MSI) continues its southward journey. Frustrated buyers compete for a shrinking inventory of desirable properties while many potential sellers seem unaware of the dramatic market turnaround of the last few months. For those who have been waiting, now may be the best time in the past few years to list your home for sale. Contact a local REALTOR who is knowledgeable about your neighborhood to get an opinion on the value of your home.
Inventory of Single Family Residences (SFR) for sale in the County was 544 at the end of August. This compared to 1003 in 2011, and 1242 in 2010. The current inventory represents a 2.3 MSI vs. 5.7 months in 2011 and 9.0 months in 2010. The numbers for condominiums are similar: Inventory on August 31 was 107 Condo units, or a 1.6 month supply. This compares to a 6.2 month supply, or 359 units, in August of 2011 and 379 units in August, 2010, representing a 10 month supply based on market conditions at that time.
New Listings are down, with only 189 new SFR listings and 58 new condo listings in August. In August of 2011, there were 239 SFR and73 condo listings, and during the same period in 2010, the numbers were 276 for SFR and 82 for condo's.
The number of homes sold for the month of August is up, with 236 SFR's sold during the period this year, compared to 175 in 2011 and 138 in 2010. For condo's, the numbers were: August, 2012- 65; August 2011-58; and August 2010-38. This represents an increase in the number of homes sold in August of 2012 over August of 2011 of about 29%!
Average sales price has not shown dramatic gains, but it is important to remember that it is a reflection not just of market value, but also of market mix. What this means is that different homes are selling this year than last year so we can't directly compare the prices. What we can look at, however, is the ratio of sales price to list price, which is now over 100% in both the SFR and Condo markets. This reflects an excess of demand over current supply, resulting in multiple-offer situations and sales prices in excess of listing prices. (Potential Sellers---see paragraph 1!)
A September 14 article from, DataQuick, a La Jolla, CA-based real estate information service stated:
"-The Bay Area posted its strongest home sales for the month of August in six years, the result of low mortgage interest rates, an improving economy and increasing demand in mid- to move-up market segments." The article went on to quote DataQuick's president, John Walsh: "Most economists agree that the housing market is off bottom. But there's a big gap between the market being ‘off bottom' and being normal, which it's not. The single biggest bottleneck is still the dysfunctional mortgage lending market. It'll be interesting to see how yesterday's announcement that the Fed is going to buy mortgage-backed securities plays out".
With continuing bargain interest rates, and low housing inventory, "interesting" is probably an understatement. More later. Until then, best wishes to all,