DataQuick, the La Jolla, CA-based real estate news service noted in an August 15 report that the number of homes sold in the Bay Area in July was the highest since 2005. According to the article, the 9,339 homes sold represented an increase of 18.3% from the previous month and a 13.3% increase over July of 2012. The article quotes Data Quick’s president, John Walsh, characterizing the current market not as a “frenzy”, but as a market that is in the process of “re-balancing” itself and “regaining lost ground”. According to the article, Mr. Walsh noted that increasing prices would eventually attract more sellers, and the increased supply of homes for sale is expected to moderate future price increases.
Here in Marin County, there were 224 Single Family Residences (SFR) and 68 Condo’s sold in the month of August. This compares to 250 and 76 in July, a decrease of around 10.5% for both categories. Sales mostly limited by lack of inventory, still following a long southward slide as many potential sellers continue to be reluctant to place their homes on the market and await further price appreciation. Inventory of homes for sale at the end of August was just 430 SFR’s and 74 Condo’s. This compares to August of ’12, when there were 822 SFR’s (66.1% drop) and 218 Condo’s (47.7% drop) available for sale. The supply of homes for sale in the County, characterized as Months’ Supply of Inventory (MSI) continues to decrease. At the end of August, it was 1.9 months for SFR’s and 1.1 months for Condo’s. This compares to 2.6 months (SFR) and 2.2 months (Condo) in July, and 3.5 months (SFR) and 3.2 months (Condo) in August of 2012. Days on Market (DOM) are also dramatically lower. The current 63 days for SFR’s and 47 for Condo’s represents a decrease of 29% (from 89 days) for SFR’s and 55% (from 105 days) for Condo’s compared to August of 2012. Prices continue to increase as buyers compete for a limited number of listings. Price per square foot at the end of August averaged $527/sf for SFR’s and $400/sf for Condo’s. Compared to August of 2012, this represents an increase of 19% (from $443/sf) for SFR’s and 25.4% (from $319/sf) for Condo’s. At the end of August, the average SFR was selling for 100.9% of asking price, while Condo’s sold, on average for 104.4% of asking price.
This is the long way of saying that the current real estate market in Marin is very competitive, with a shortage of homes available for sale compared both to demand and to historical inventory levels. As a result, many buyers are paying 4 or 5 percent or more over asking price. Even 10% is not unusual. In spite of this, qualified buyers who are persistent are finding and buying homes, often after making several offers. Sellers who have been waiting may find that the current market offers the opportunity they've been seeking. Recommendation for both Buyers and Sellers: Call an experienced local REALTOR---- an invaluable asset this market!