September Marin County Real Estate Market Outlook

Posted by Alex Narodny on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 6:19am.

60_garden_rock_san_anselmo_ca_400Kids are back in school, some on campuses that have grown in number of students. Although there is concern with the budget cuts, one of the great aspects of living in Marin is that the kids don’t suffer like some other areas because of the tremendous local support for the different school districts by various foundations. Foundations like the Yes Foundation raise enough money to keep programs like music and art and help build facilities to better the standard of education. Without this great sense of community and pride and the ability to contribute, Marin would not have these incredible schools, which is one of the reasons why it is one of the most desirable places to live in California.

In marin real estate there is always a flurry of activity after Labor Day and in the three days after, 76 homes come on the market. Total inventory now stands at 1492 properties of which 31% is in escrow. The vast majority of homes - 83% - that have sold are under $1 million, 13% between $1 and $2 million and 4% over the $2 million mark. We will see buyers coming out and taking advantage of some incredible buys at interest rates that are even better – 5.1% for 30 year conforming and 6% for 30 year Jumbo, and 4.6% for a 5 year jumbo.

There is reason to be cautious of the appraisal process when it comes to getting the loan because the rules have changed and many a deal falls apart because the home didn’t “appraise out”. Nevertheless, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the fall out and that is just one more advantage of working with an experienced agent.

So there is optimism for housing in Marin and both sellers and buyers have to carefully evaluate their choices. For sellers where a move is important but they cling onto the hope that “maybe next year” prices will go up, don’t bet on it. This economy still has some thick woods to get through and when the tide comes in, all ships rise. This means that when there is that spark of rising prices, what you pay for a home will rise, both for the home itself and in what you pay for the loan – remember when interest rates were 18%?. For buyers, we see some playing the waiting game as well and they often decide to rent instead of buying. If you run the numbers, renting versus buying makes no sense if you have a down payment, what with interest rates where they are, the tax advantages, and the inevitable appreciation which will occur in the future in Marin.  And yes, there are a number of Marin foreclosures and short sales that you can pick up for a song.

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