Marin County Real Estate Market Blog | Marin Market Trends

While much of the eternal rent vs. own dilemma can be funneled into economic equations based on current market conditions, the only way to determine a “good investment” is through guess and check.

Economists have a long-held view that the choice to own or rent is shaped by putting assets and liquidity under a microscope and making a calculation about costs of owning vs. renting after controlling for alternative investments.

The prospective homeowner can use a complex user-cost equation that captures all these variables that influence their decision:  house price appreciation, opportunity cost of making a down payment, cost of capital adjusted after deductions, operating costs, insurance, mortgage, etc.

For prospective renters, you simply calculate

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Every year, the Gallop Organization releases the “Economy and Personal Finances Poll”, which asks Americans to rank the best options for long-term investments.

 The Gallup Poll contrasted Real Estate with Gold, stocks/mutual funds, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds to determine where most Americans are most confident putting their money. Given high consumer confidence and a steady appreciating market, it’s no surprise that Real Estate came out on top.  Here are the numbers:



Real Estate, however, didn’t always wear the investment crown. Gold was the most popular investment among Americans in 2011. Gold was not yet an investment option in

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Investor profiles are very different from the days of old. One of the fastest growing buyer profiles are, not surprisingly, single women.

According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, Single Women represented 16% of the population of recent home buyers, compared to 9% that were single males. Let’s see how else they topped their male counterparts:

Single Women Represented

-       16% of First Time Home Buyers (11% - Single Men)

-       15% of Repeat Home Buyers (8% - Single Men)

-       56% of Homeowners that Live Alone (47% - Single Men)

-       25% of Homeowners that spend over half their income on housing (10% - Single Men)

This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. The number of women in

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Many people have the misconceptions that a Real Estate Agent’s job is easy and they can save thousands by selling their house without help. The reality is that without the marketing strategy, transaction guidance, and negotiation skills from a Real Estate Agent, sellers are more likely to net less money from the sale of their house.

Let’s address the very first thing to consider when selling a residence: a powerful marketing plan. As a seller, how will you cast a wide net to local and international buyers? Considering that 92% of buyers begin their search for a house online, what will be your targeted online approach? How will you reach the area’s top agents and their clients without access to the local MLS? These things cost money, time, and a specific

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With holidays around the corner and fresh into a new school year, sellers get very weary about putting their house on the market. However, low inventory and high buyer demand still tip the scales heavily in the seller’s favor.  It’s never going to be convenient to get your home sale-ready, but here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity this Fall:

1. Less Competition – Inventory is still at historic lows. Simply put, there are not enough homes to satisfy the number of buyers looking. A fresh supply of inventory is expected to come to market soon, so it would be wise to put homes on MLS while there are still bidding wars.

2. Meet your terms – This market is urging buyers to please sellers when they write their offers. This means

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Millennials (ages 18-29) make up the future’s home-buyer population. As the economy continues to strengthen, it’s important to know where future buying demand is headed. How do these youngsters prioritize real estate investment?

A recently released report by the Demand Institute (“Millenials and Their Homes: Still Seeking the American Dream”) unveiled many myths about these generations and their perception on owning property. Not so glum after all:

-       48% of Millennials plan to switch from renting to owning in the next 4 years

-       75% view home ownership as an important long-term goal

-       73% believe that home ownership is an excellent investment

-       60% plan to purchase in the next 5 years

Here are some other surprising facts

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Should I become a homeowner or should I continue to pay rent? This question continues to be prevalent in today’s market, especially for young people and first time home buyers. Aside from obvious budgetary restraints that prevent one from purchasing a home, the advantages of buying a home now heavily outweigh the disadvantages to waiting and continuing to fill your landlord’s wallet:

-       LOW RATES AND AFFORDABILITY. Mortgage interest rates haven’t been this low in decades. Why would you pay rent when affordability is at an all-time high? Buyers from 2000-2010 would give up a kidney to buy in today’s market instead. 

-       WHERE IS YOUR RENT MONEY GOING? Paying to live somewhere must be treated the same as any other investment. There is no

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Parents are willing to pay more for their kids to attend good schools. In some cases, quality of education is #1 on the list of criteria for buyers looking to invest in real estate. While water views, location, and attractive floorplan are important contributors to market price, a respectable school district might be the most substantial indicator of value and buyer demand. Marin County is no exception to this rule.

Let’s take an example that’s close to home. The Narodny Team just sold a home in San Rafael for $1,800,000. Take the same house, same flat street, same views, same ammenities, and give it a Kentfield address. The house would sell for $2,700,000+. Why? According to the Academic Performance Index, an organization that measures academic

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Are you looking for a way to touch the flavor of the wine country without going all the way to Napa. I know about a hidden treasure. Of course, nothing can replace Napa but if you have kids or restless family members try this one.


Take HWY 37 just inside Novato limits, (about 15 minutes from Mill Valley) then HWY 126 towards Sonoma and Napa. You will pass the Racetrack on your left and then Viansa on your right. Go about another 2 miles and you will see Gloria Ferrar on your left. Go there, sit on the deck, sip champagne and have some small bites.  Next stop is right across the main road at Cornerstone, Sonoma.


Sonoma Wine Tasting at CornerstoneThere is a wavy, wacky picket fence and a giant blue plantation chair at the entry. You can’t miss it.  There is a lovely deli, an amazing

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Despite the summer slowdown, the Marin market keeps moving ahead at a hot pace.  

Currently, there are 814 homes on the market of which 43% are in escrow and this is indicative of the ongoing challenge of a low inventory.  Approximately 71% of homes get multiple offers, and we continue to see a seller’s market with an average of 45 days on market. More high-end homes are selling with 26% of homes in the $1-$2 million range, 19% in the $2 -4 million, and 10% over $4 mill. The appreciation in value has put many homeowners in an equity position (market value exceeds debt) which has allowed sellers to sell without  a loss., and a huge reduction in distressed sales.

We are seeing many sales as investor purchases – approx 20% of the market - and more

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