In a November 13 report, CoreLogic DataQuick noted that Bay Area housing market sales activity posted modest gains in October, increasing from 7,443 units in September to 7,693 in October, a 3.4% increase. To put this in perspective, the article states that a slight uptick in sales from September to October is normal but that, historically, volume has ranged from a low of 5,486 units in September 2007 to a high of 13,392 in 2003. The article points out that this October's sales were 9.7% below the average of 8,521 October unit sales since 1988. Further, the CoreLogic article speculates that sales activity remains relatively low due to a tapering off of investor activity and all-cash sales (20.5% in October, 2nd lowest since Nov 2008 when it was 20.2%, vs. 24.2% in October of 2013) as well as limited inventory of homes for sale and a mortgage environment that remains challenging, with strict lending guidelines. Charted sales figures presented in the article note 316 homes with a median price of $885,000 sold in Marin in October vs. 306 in October of 2013 with a median price of $805,000. This represents a 3.3% increase in unit sales and a 9.9% appreciation in sales price since last October
Here in Marin County, the market has shifted a bit in favor of buyers since last month. A December 1 scan of current listings on the MLS showed that of the 13 towns and cities we follow, 7 were in what we would characterize as sellers' market territory. This includes: Fairfax at 66.67% in contract; Larkspur, 60%; Corte Madera, 53.33%; San Anselmo, 50%; Novato, 44.06%; San Rafael, 43.28%; and Sausalito at 36.84% (Potential Sellers take note!).
Mill Valley, at 35.62% in contract would be described as a balanced market, while Ross at 30%, Tiburon at 28.89%, Kentfield at 28.57%, Greenbrae at 28.57%, and Belvedere at 14.29% are all buyers' markets at this time (Buyers Alert!!). It is important to understand that some of these markets are quite small, with only 10 or 15 listings, so a change in two or 3 listings can change the tenor of their statistics. Towns with greater numbers of listings (Novato, 143; San Rafael 134; Mill Valley, 73; Tiburon 45; and Sausalito at 38) have less volatile statistics since it takes more sales to affect the trend. Nonetheless, I think we can readily recognize that towns and cities with more homes in contract are the most challenging areas in which to negotiate price, while those with only a relatively few homes in contract present the greatest opportunities for buyers. Your experienced local REALTOR can help you identify market opportunities and give you specific comparable sales. For more information, feel free to contact the author.
More next time------------------
In the meantime, Good luck and Happy Holidays to all,