As predicted, real estate has slowed in July as residents head out on vacations and grab some time off from a stressful first six months. There are 1675 properties on the market of which 25% are in escrow which is a drop of 5% from July. None of this is surprising except that we usually see the big slowdown in August, but schools are starting earlier this year, the weather is inviting, and the travel deals are abundant. Although the higher end sales over $1.5 million have diminished, we are seeing many all cash transactions. One of the interesting side effects of a slowdown is the frustration from anxious sellers and thus more price reductions than we have seen in the past few months. When we advise a seller about the importance of accurate pricing, we look at the history of every town in each price range and how far from original list price a home was before it got an offer. For example, in Sausalito, the 4 homes currently in escrow (out of an inventory of 87) had an average price drop of $300k before they got an offer. That is substantial and yet if a home is priced accurately in the beginning, that home will sell for more than the one where the realtor just tells the seller what they think he wants to hear, just to get the listing. We see it all the time and some agents are famous for this tactic and those homes just won't get shown much.
So where are we heading? We see sales picking up from mid August and into September. With record low interest rates (4.5%!), and the realization that time is not our friend as far as any foreseeable boom in the market anytime soon. For sellers and buyers, the time is now. In the coming months we see serious sellers pricing their home accurately and the value conscious buyers snapping up those homes and getting on with their lives. We are so fortunate here in Marin with the limited growth and inventory and the unparalleled quality of live that it offers, that anyone moving into the Bay Area will look here first. The forecast for our market is far healthier than markets like Miami, Las Vegas and Phoenix and we are not nearly out of the woods when it comes to short sales and foreclosures. Although our crystal ball is broken, the forecast for the coming few months is nothing more than serious players taking action with an outlook of optimism for the future of our market in general and the economy as a whole.