Monday, October 15, 2007

October Marin Real Estate News

As expected, the credit crunch had a big impact on sales last month. Sales of single-family, re-sale homes fell 39.3% from the month before, and were off 33.3% year-over-year. Year-to-date, home sales are down 2.2%. We expect sales to be slow this month, then start to recover at the end of the quarter as the credit crunch is alleviated.

The median price for single-family, re-sale homes in Marin County fell 3.3% in September, compared to the month before, up 14% year-over-year. The average price rose 7.8% to set a new record, and was up 22.6% year-over-year.

The median price for condos soared 29% to $632,000, a new record, and was up 14.8%, year-over-year. The average price rose 11.2% to $704,114, up 18.4% compared to September 2006. With only 22 condos sold last month, these prices are certainly anomalous. Condo sales were down 52.2% from August, and off 60.7% year-over-year. Year-to-date, condo sales are off 17.1%.

Prices have not really declined here in Marin. What has declined is the number of sales as well as the percentage of homes under contract. As you can see from the numbers the average sales price has increased over the prior month as well as the prior year. The strongest segment of the market is the "luxury Market" those homes over $2 million. Buyers are still making offers on good properties.

The percentage of listed home in contract, "Pending listed ratio" is a good indication of the strength of each market. Anything between a 20%-25% ratio bodes a balanced market where we have an equal number of buyers and sellers. Anything less than 20% is pushing towards a buyer's market. As you can see from the numbers Marin is in a Buyer's market (see chart below), and has been there for at least the past 6 months. It is important to keep in mind that real estate in Marin is location specific, and you will need to drill down to each market segment before you draw a broad conclusion as some areas continue to have strength especially those towns in southern Marin with good school districts.

Buyers right now have the upper hand but if rates continue to move downward and the credit markets stabilize then the market will become more competitive for buyers. If you are pre-approved for a loan and are ready to make an offer now is as good a time as any to step in and test the waters.

Although the credit crunch is having an effect on home sales, there is money available at reasonable rates from portfolio lenders. These are lenders that loan their own money and do not bundle up the loans for re-sale on Wall Street. Some examples are ING, local credit unions, and some small local business banks. Also, Countrywide, and some of the bigger banks, are planning to keep more of their loans in-house.

The real estate market is very hard to generalize. It is a market made up of many micro markets. For complete information on a particular neighborhood or for an evaluation of your home's worth, call me.

If I can help you devise a strategy, call or click the buying or selling link in the menu to the left.

Monthly Statistics

Complete monthly sales statistics for Marin County are on my website. Monthly graphs are available for each city in the county. Just email me!

Read the entire October Marin Real Estate Newsletter October Newsletter

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