We are certainly counting our blessings as we approach this 2017 holiday season. While there is strength in the economy, and real estate prices are holding steady, there are so many other uncertainties that are affecting our world today, all that we can say is perseverance is key for our future — whether rebuilding, refreshing, or renewing, our new favorite motto is to simply “Keep Moving!”



For real estate that means keep searching for properties for our buyers and keep listing properties for our sellers that are well prepped, marketed and ready to go! In Marin, we are still impacted by a market with tight inventory (and even further impacted with a higher demand due to the North Bay fires), but there are still bargains to be had out there – properties that may have been mispriced out of the gate, or maybe those that withdrew for various reasons but still have motivation to sell. Interest rates remain favorable, and seem to be holding steady for the time being and, at present, all of our real estate tax incentives are still in place – more on that final legislative bill and its projected impact to be shared in the coming weeks.

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What will the New Year hold for us? While we can’t be 100% sure, we can probably guess that we will continue to be inventory challenged in the Bay Area for 2018, and prices will likely hold steady without any major foreseeable economic disasters looming. Interest rates will begin to rise at some point, which could have an impact on demand, but the fact remains that we have an ever-growing population here in California and are always in need of new housing. People simply need places to live. And, while it never seems to be the perfect balance of a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, deals still manage to happen for those who press on.  Keep Moving!
But, before interest rates rise, before tax incentives go away and while there is still strong demand, we do believe that NOW truly is a good opportunity for sellers to put their homes on the market and make room for a new generation of Marin homeowners or, at least, those upgrading or downsizing. 

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The overall market in Marin is up year over year by more than 13.51% at a median price of $1,050,000, which is significant, especially given the fact that there were more than 50 additional sales from this same period last year. But, prices are also down slightly from $1,055,000 in October and a high of $1,200,000 in May. Only Greenbrae (down 16.28%) and Sausalito (down 44.28%) saw declines, while others saw huge gains, especially the luxury markets of Kentfield (95% though half the sales of last November), Tiburon (53.7% with two more sales) and Stinson Beach (53.53% with two sales total). Mill Valley had solid price growth in November increasing its median price from $1,175,000 to $1,464,500 (almost 25%) with the same amount of sales.
Interestingly, while many homes in Marin sell for over $1,000 per square foot, only Stinson reached higher than that for an average price per square foot at $2,581, though again, a small sample size. Whereas Belvedere and Ross had zero sales in November 2016, they had three and six, respectively, in 2017, showing some year over year resilience in the luxury markets. San Rafael and Novato, being where most Marin single family homes are sold, each experienced price increases around 10% and San Rafael sold almost 20 more homes than this time last year.

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No surprises that the under $1 million price range is still hot, but we’re seeing even more growth in the $1 million to $5 million range, as well, with all segments experiencing a significant increase in number of sales contrasted with a decrease in days on market – you can see where this is going. Almost all price ranges are showing a tremendous amount of strength since last November and the upper end in the $3-5 million category sold almost 60% faster than a year ago today.
We will further analyze the number for 2017 in next month’s annual report and see how we fared comparing 2017 to 2016. All signs are pointing to another banner year, with lots to look forward to in 2018.  
Finally, just a note for those of you who are following the insurance stories arising out of the fires in the North Bay. Now may be a good opportunity for you to review your current coverage and make sure you have a policy in place that is best for you. For Marin, a home insurance policy with good coverage for flooding and fire and, perhaps, even earthquakes is extremely important. Please let me know if I can put you in touch with an insurance broker who might be able to assess your current policies and make recommendations for improvement.
Until next time, enjoy the holidays and by all means, do let me know if I can be of any assistance in helping you better understand the market and your specific real estate needs.