Marin median home price up year-over-year at $900,000

Marin median home price up year-over-year at $900,000 By Janis Marajmara@marinij.com@jmara on Twitter 18 Feb 2015, 05:36 PM Marin home prices jumped and sales dropped in January, a pattern that has been in place for more than a year, a real estate information service reported Wednesday. The median price of a Marin home was $900,000, a 7.5 percent increase compared with last January, and 118 homes sold in the county compared with 126 the year before, according to Irvine-based CoreLogic DataQuick. Condo prices soared 15 percent, from $425,000 in January 2014 to $488,250 this January, and 42 condos sold, compared with 44 last year, the data service reported. A dearth of homes on the market — “a kink in the hose” of supply, as one real estate agent recently put it has driven prices up and sales down for about two years for Marin. “Challenges such as inactive groups of buyers and sellers” continue in the market, said Andrew LePage, an analyst with CoreLogic DataQuick. While there are many eager buyers competing for homes, “credit remains moderately tight so that’s a problem for certain groups of buyers,” LePage said. In the wake of the mortgage meltdown in 2008, lenders have returned to stringent income and credit rating standards, acing many potential low-end buyers out of the market. In the months to come, the analyst said, “More job and income growth coupled with low mortgage rates could fuel demand this year in a market still running short on supply and struggling with affordability constraints.” As an indication of how much the supply has diminished, 237 new homes came on the market in January 2014, while only 154 came on the market in January 2015, according to a Trendgraphix analysis of data from Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, the multiple listing service used by Marin County. Price increases ‘more moderate’ “Prices are still going up, though it’s more moderate,” said George Crowe, an agent with Zephyr Real Estate in Corte Madera. The most dramatic-seeming recovery was in 2012 and 2013, because the year-to-year comparisons referenced years when there were many foreclosures and short sales — when a home is sold for less than what is owed on it — on the market. “In some areas, it feels like things have relaxed a little bit,” Crowe said. “In San Rafael we have seen recently a couple of houses not getting as high prices as we expected. “Different areas are different. Mill Valley, for example, is still superheated,” Crowe said. “There’s still tons of demand, especially in southern Marin and Mill Valley.” “I’m also not seeing the craziness we saw last year,” said Cathy Youngling of Paragon Real Estate. “It seemed like the overbids were bigger than I’ve seen this year.” ‘High season’ approaching fast As spring approaches, “People are getting their properties ready to sell, staging them, cleaning them up. Typically the first of March through when schools let out is high season,” said Suzanne Dwight, an agent with Bradley Real Estate. “After that, people start going on vacation so things slow down. Activity will be up through even June, but July and August tend to slow down. “Everyone is getting ready for the spring push,” Dwight said. In the tight market, “If people want to move up and get a bigger house and sell their old house, they are reluctant to do that because they fear they won’t be able to find a house,” said Blaine Morris, an agent with Pacific Union International and past president of the Marin Association of Realtors. “So it’s feeding on itself,” Morris said. “There’s a fear about finding a replacement property,” Youngling said. “Sellers are like, ‘Where am I going to go?’ “You don’t want to be on the street,” Youngling said. Skyrocketing rents make that option less desirable as well, the agent added. “I’m representing a good neighbor friend now (in the rental market) and the kind of rents I hear are crazy. “It’s difficult looking for a home in Marin County right now,” Morris said. David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 www.tamrealty.com Serving all of Marin County

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