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The Anlyan Report 4.3.13. Market Sizzles. Buyers Battle. Sellers Sit and Wait??

Data Quick, a La Jolla, CA-based real estate information service, in a report dated March 14, 2013, noted the following about the Bay Area real estate market:

  1. February’s median home prices up 24.6% compared to February of 2012. The Service attributed about half of the gain to price increased, and the rest to “market mix”, meaning that fewer low-priced distressed-property sales were taking place.
  2. February foreclosure resales, at 13.6% of the Bay Area market, were down from 26.4% a year ago. Short sales, at 21.4% were also down substantially from the year-ago figure of 27%.
  3. Absentee Buyers (mostly investors, according to the article) purchased 28.2% of Bay Area homes in February, paying a median price of $303,000. This compared to the same time last year when they represented 25.6% of the market and paid a median price of $245,000.

A chart accompanying the article noted Marin County February home sales of 201 units--- just 2 fewer than in February of 2012. But the median price rose 21.4%, from $535,500 to $650,000.

The Marin County City by City Report, out this week, shows 5 of the 13 cities and towns we follow to be Very Strong Sellers’ Markets, with 56% or more of listed properties in contract on April 1, 2013. Corte Madera led the pack, with 15 of 19 listed properties in contract, an incredible 78.95%! Novato was a close second, with 71.6%, or 106 of 148 listed homes in contract. Greenbrae came in third, at 66.7% (8 of 12 homes in contract). San Rafael, 4th (106 of 169 properties in contract) at 62.7%, and San Anselmo rounded out the top 5, with 36 of 62 listed properties in contract, or 58.02%!

Mill Valley (54.88%), Fairfax, (54.55%), and Sausalito (54.29%) all tied for 6th place. Ross was slightly below at 47.06%, followed by Tiburon (37%), Kentfield (35%), and finally, Belvedere, at 19%. These last four figures probably reflecting the fact that jumbo loans are still more difficult to obtain than standard financing. Well-qualified prospective buyers for these high-end communities would do well to make a move now rather than waiting until the housing recovery pushes these properties further up the ladder and possibly out of reach.

Low Marin County Housing inventory continues to challenge would-be buyers, with only 287 Single Family Residences (SFR) and 60 Condo’s available as of March 31. This compares to 448 SFR’s and 111 Condo’s in February, and 837 SFR’s and 223 Condo’s in March of 2012! Current inventory is down to 1.6 months for SFR’s and 1.1 month for Condo’s. Last year, in March, it was 4.5 months for SFR’s and 3.9 months for Condo’s. At some point, it makes sense that basic economics of supply and demand would entice more sellers to place their homes on the market--- but it hasn’t happened yet. There were 227 new listings for SFR’s and 61 for Condo’s in March. This compares to 303 and 75 in March of 2012. Attractive, well presented, and well-located new listings are being snapped up by buyers, who are competing with one another and often bidding up prices by 5-10% or even more. It is not unusual to see 4, 6, 10, or even more offers on desirable properties. Potential sellers who are weighing the options may want to contact their local REALTORS to get an idea of the current value of their homes. It may be a pleasant surprise!

More next time--------

Until then, best wishes to all,


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