Currently there are 1480 homes on the market in Marin and 28% of those are pending. The inventory is going to drop further in December and yet buyers do come out and buy over the holidays, so the pending percentage will go up as the number of available homes drops. Under $1million there are 1002 homes of which 33% are in escrow. In the $1 -$2 million range there are 289 homes of which 22% are in escrow and over $2 million there are 193 homes, and only 12% are in escrow. This disparity is typical of all of California where there is far more activity in the lower price range. What is interesting is that in the luxury home arena, we are seeing easier qualifying for loans and several all-cash deals. There are some very qualified buyers in the higher price range that are looking at real estate as a sound investment in a very opportune market. In a recent survey of all of California, 23% of recent transactions were all-cash, an indicator that many of the buyers out there are investors.
In her recent annual economic update, Leslie Appleton Young, the chief economist for the California Association of Realtors reported that for all intent and purposes, the recession is over. The bad news is that consumer confidence is down and any recovery is going to take a long time. The lack of consumer confidence relates to the consumer's reluctance to take risks. She said that Marin County may take longer to recuperate because of "seller's reluctance to lower their prices." She said "In the upper end, we have unrealistic sellers who are very nostalgic." By this she meant that sellers are living in the past, and buyers are looking in the future. She went on to say that "excessive asking prices are having an outsized effect on high-cost markets such as Marin."