Marin Real Estate update

Marin median home sale price passes $1 million in 2015; experts see a strong 2016 By Janis Mara 23 Jan 2016, 04:00 PM Realtor Jeff Birkenseer, with Holmes Burrell Real Estate, prepares for an open house of his listing at 55 Edward Ave. in San Rafael on Thursday. (Robert Tong/Marin Independent Journal) The median price of a Marin single-family home passed the $1 million mark in 2015, jumping 10 percent from the previous year, and real estate mavens predict that 2016, while not as robust, will also be a strong year. The median price of a single-family home was $1.1 million in 2015, up from the 2014 median of $999,000, according to the Marin County Assessor’s Office. The office reported that 2,484 homes sold in 2015, compared with 2,530 in 2014 — essentially flat sales. “The market has most certainly rebounded from the crash of 2008,” said Jeff Birkenseer, an agent with Holmes Burrell Real Estate. “I’m not sure it (prices) will continue to go up at that rate, but buyers are still in the market and it’s looking to be another strong year.” Robert Eyler, head of the Marin Economic Forum, concurred. Like Birkenseer, Eyler said he did not foresee double-digit growth in 2016. In addition to stock market turmoil, interest rates are rising. The Federal Reserve Bank on Dec. 17 raised interest rates for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. When interest rates go up, the amount of a buyer’s potential monthly payments go up as well. This could have a chilling effect on prices. Nevertheless, Eyler said, “My feeling is Marin County is in pretty good shape for 2016 because there is a regional demand to live in Marin County. “Marin County is always going to be a desirable place to live, based on its quality of life, amenities, climate and proximity to the robust, bustling metropolitan area that is San Francisco,” Eyler said. Soaring rents are likely to drive sales in Marin, Eyler said. “A rule in real estate is the rental-home price conundrum. If you are looking at $5,000 a month rent for a three-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, when you can buy a two-bedroom home in Marin and pay the same amount, what is stopping you?” he asked. Some industry figures, including Kenneth Rosen of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, have talked about a coming correction. If the economy takes a hit, the housing market could also feel the pain. “If the turmoil in the stock market continues for a period of months, which we don’t know will happen, that could slow down our market activity,” said Tom Dreyer, president of the Marin Association of Realtors. “But it’s too early to say.” Eyler noted, however, it would “take a couple of years of consistent negative data to start dragging down the Marin housing market.” Moderate price rise As the recovery has continued, earlier whopping price increases have moderated. Prices rose 25 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year; 20 percent in 2013, compared with the previous year; and 13 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year. “Don’t get caught up too much on the percentage growth rate versus the actual characteristics of the market,” Eyler said. “The 10 percent increase in home prices in Marin is not a signal of a slowdown. The numbers are getting bigger, so it’s harder to see a really amazing surge.” Eyler was referring to the fact that prices hit rock bottom after the 2008 crash, and when they began to come back, comparisons with previous years yielded far higher price increases. Lack of inventory — a dearth of homes on the market — has plagued Marin and other Bay Area counties for at least three years now. Matt Hughes, past president of the Marin Association of Realtors, said he expects the low inventory to continue for the next two to three years. “Lack of inventory has kept the median pretty high,” Hughes said. With fewer homes for sale, buyers are willing to pay more for the few properties available. While the frenzied bidding wars of 2013 and 2014 have lessened, competition continues, Hughes said. Gene Laico, a Bradley Real Estate agent, agreed with Hughes about the lack of inventory. Good, but ‘difficult’ “It was a good year, but it was also a difficult year for buyers. You had multiple offers (on a single property) at times and frustration for buyers trying to find a home and not getting it,” Laico said. Presently, there is less than one month’s worth of inventory on the market. This means that if no new homes went up for sale, it would take less than one month to sell every home on the market. Normal inventory is about four months’ worth. “I think 2016 is going to be challenging in terms of not enough homes for the number of buyers, just as 2015 was,” Laico said. Here are the median single-family home prices for Marin cities: Belvedere 2014: $2,700,000 2015: $3,695,000 Corte Madera 2014: $1,195,000 2015: $1,275,500 Fairfax 2014: $800,000 2015: $810,000 Larkspur 2014: $1,425,000 2015: $1,622,500 Mill Valley 2014: $1,594,000 2015: $1,700,000 Novato 2014: $749,000 2015: $800,000 Ross 2014: $2,600,000 2015: $2,754,500 San Anselmo 2014: $880,000 2015: $1,007,000 San Rafael 2014: $869,500 2015: $949,000 Sausalito 2014: $1,462,000 2015: $2,000,000 Tiburon 2014: $2,493,000 2015: $2,381,250 by Taboola Sponsored Links From The Web Are You A Travel Junkie? Find Out With This Quiz Lonny Harry Potter Cast: Grown Up & Gorgeous Your Daily Dish 23 Cringe-Worthy Supermodel Stumbles Flipopular This Teen Heartthrob Looks WAY Hotter Now Zimbio David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 Serving all of Marin County

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