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Ted Strodder


415.377.5222
Golden Gate
Sotheby's International Realty
189 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Greenbrae CA 94904

Marin Real Estate Blog

October in Marin: Home Sales and Prices Rise Slightly, Defying Bay Area and National Trends

October is here in Marin and our beautiful fall weather is in full swing. As temperatures drop, the leaves turn and tumble to the sidewalks, yet we will no doubt also have a few Indian Summer stretches that are typical for the month. Call it a mix of cool and warm, much as we’ve seen in home prices and sales here. Values and sales are both up, albeit slightly, but so far no “fall” yet, at least in Marin County which continues to outpace the rest of the Bay Area, and country for that matter. 

Sales data here was just posted for October 1st, representing September. The figures were in line with what most busy agents saw here for late summer and early fall: a smattering of sales, but no great leaps by any means, which is also nothing new. July and August tend to be our slowest months, with things picking up after Labor Day. So what data trickles in is generally in smaller quantity. Still, enough properties sold (310 to be exact) to nudge into the green compared to the same month last year (305), while prices increased also, but ever so slightly. The median reached $1,007,000, up only .07% from the $1 mil even set a year ago. Given how September shaped up, I won’t be surprised to see similar numbers in October and November, which will be the real data points. If my own busy schedule is any indication, watch for Marin to continue into positive territory, albeit slightly. But again, that’s just Marin. 

Around the rest of the bay, the story wasn’t the same, let alone the rest of the country. The number of homes sold dropped overall in other Bay Area counties with some areas (like SF) dropping fairly dramatically. Prices also fell in most other counties, but remember this isn’t a good indicator, with people choosing not to buy or sell in July and August. How we look a few months from now will tell the tale, as we don’t know where we’ve been until we look back behind us. But I expect December thru February will just be the usual slow winter time blues, so those months too aren’t generally representative either. Where it starts to happen with home sales is in late February, continuing to strengthen right until the end of June. This year should be no exception, unless there’s a national (or international) event: economically or politically. 

Until then, enjoy October wherever you are and let me know what questions I can answer. Ask me anything. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll seek it out. 

Thanks for reading, 

Ted

ted@gomarin.com

Sales Rise Dramatically, Median Dips, Inventory Set to Rise as Fall Market Starts Now

September is here and what a great time to be in Marin or basically anywhere in Northern California. Both the weather and the real estate market warm up for the fall season if our typical Indian Summer and home sales ramp up are any guide. Sunny days and warm nights abound as the kids are all back in school, leaving mom and dad time to either put that home up for sale, or go out and look for a new one. The fall market starts now and these next few months are the time for people to make a move before the usual holiday slow down. But what should buyers and sellers do about offers or asking prices? Of course, it depends on many factors, but here’s the short version.

Recent data from last month show a strong, 15% uptick in Marin home sales, which is a surprise as July and August are typically two of our slower months. The median priced dropped a few points (3%) but that just means people bought more less-expensive homes, not necessarily that home prices are dropping. So the big question is, will sales continue up another 15% for September. “Probably”, if history is any guide. Buyers tend to step back in to try and close escrow well ahead of Thanksgiving or Christmas, as sellers like to get moved out for the same reasons. Winter and the holidays tend to be our regroup months in advance of the early spring market months of March and April with the “box checkers” getting the most activity. But let’s talk about that. 

Buyers usually have a Wish List of some kind, with their needs and wants often starting in order of importance. Typical list toppers are often (what I call) the three L’s: Lot, Location and Layout. These are the inherent, fixed attributes of any property and ones you can’t change. Yes, you can change the layout, but it’s often not worth the cost. But level land or a view, how far from town, schools and shops, along with one story or multi-level, these are the things many buyers look for. Sure, there’s sometimes the need for sun, a garden, a pool, four bedrooms or an open kitchen/family room. But these all fall within my Three L’s and they all add up to the “boxes” that buyers check, either literally or mentally off their lists.

Even though we are a county with 75% of the homes being on a hillside, the demand for level land of any kind is often one of the first few boxes to be checked. To this end, smart sellers will invest wisely in lawns and irrigation, sometimes including a little garden or veggie area. We have terrific weather spring, summer and fall, so why not? Next box is often the location of where that lawn or garden may be: how far it is to town, the freeway, or the local market. And finally there’s the number of levels, with one story homes being in the highest demand, or at least a master on the main living level. Seasoned buyers know that rarely are all these attainable and that the perfect home likely doesn’t exist. But they compromise and use smart flexibility to get what they want. Given we have no new construction here and have basically a fixed-supply of homes, these are prudent words to live by and what propel our prices a little higher each year. Given all I know, this year should wind up as no exception to last with prices up in the 6%-8% range on average. We’ll see, but for now, all signs point to Go for a healthy September sales month here in Marin and throughout the entire Bay Area.. 

That’s it for now. Enjoy September wherever you are and stay in touch with any questions. As always, I’m here to help. 

Ted

c 415.377.5222

ted@gomarin.com 

Inventory and Sales Increase, Feds Cut Rates as Summer Real Estate Market Remain Steady

It’s August already and–wait, what? August? Where did  the summer go? Nowhere! It’s still here and these tend to be the best weather months for the Bay Area. After a fairly mild June and July, we’re looking for more of the same, despite the sizzling heat going on in the rest of the country. Outdoor activities will be at a peak this month as local residents scramble to get in their final days and weeks of vacation before the kids go back to school. Poor little guys, they really get the short end now with only nine weeks of summer, far less than the twelve weeks or more we got as kids. But of course, we never had a ski week or the numerous other extra mid-year days they get now. But what does all that have to do with real estate? Plenty, it turns out. 

As you may have read in this blog, many residents take off during the month of July. This includes home sellers and real estate agents, so inventory and activity both tend to drop significantly, but not always. Last year saw a busy July as smart sellers left (or even put) their homes on the market to capture family buyers who needed to lock into a school district. This year seems to be no exception as we have seen a 32% increase in the number of homes for sale and only a slight 5% drop in properties that went into escrow. So there remains plenty to choose from in all price ranges and buyer activity is off the charts high. I had over 200 folks through a new listing in Larkspur in the first four days just a week ago: from the Thursday Broker’s Open to the Saturday and Sunday open houses. The smart sellers spent a month fixing everything to make it a move-in ready home and were rewarded with four strong offers, all well over asking and two of them all cash with no contingencies of any kind. We closed in just 8 days, as seen here. Let’s see where the last half of summer ends up, but first an interesting note on the economy. 

Despite early fears of the R-word, it appears that a Recession may not in fact be in the cards, at least for this year and given what we currently know. I came across the following this week and found it interesting: If what Americans look for on Google is any indication, we’re nowhere near a recession. DataTrek Research examined domestic internet searches for words like “coupon” and “unemployment,” which were leading indicators of the Great Recession, and found that search volumes are down significantly. People search for the term when they fear a layoff is imminent. Google searches for “unemployment” started increasing in 2005 by more than 5% year over year. Google searches in June were basically flat compared to last year. April and May were slightly lower. “If the Federal Reserve looked at Google Trends they might not be so inclined to cut rates next week,” said one researcher. But cut them they did, with signals they may cut again before the year is over. 

The question now is, will that impact mortgage rates themselves and, in turn, the real estate market? Despite prevailing logic, The Fed does not control mortgage rates. They set the Fed Funds and Discount Rates for overnight loans from bank to bank or to member banks. And given that lower Fed rates can be good for stocks, investors often sell off mortgage bonds to invest in stocks. When bond prices fall, mortgage actually rise. As always, we’ll see what happens. 

That’s it for now. Enjoy August wherever you are and stay in touch with any questions. As always, I’m here to help. 

Ted

c 415.377.5222

ted@gomarin.com 

It’s August already and–wait, what? August? Where did  the summer go? Nowhere! It’s still here and these tend to be the best weather months for the Bay Area. After a fairly mild June and July, we’re looking for more of the same, despite the sizzling heat going on in the rest of the country. Outdoor activities will be at a peak this month as local residents scramble to get in their final days and weeks of vacation before the kids go back to school. Poor little guys, they really get the short end now with only nine weeks of summer, far short of the twelve weeks or more we got as kids. But of course, we never had a ski week or the numerous other extra mid-year days they get now. But what does all that have to do with real estate? Plenty, it turns out. 

As you may have read in this blog, many residents take off during the month of July. This includes home sellers and real estate agents, so inventory and activity both tend to drop significantly, but not always. Last year saw a busy July as smart sellers left (or even put) their homes on the market to capture family buyers who needed to lock into a school district. This year seems to be no exception as we have seen a 32% increase in the number of homes for sale and only a slight 5% drop in properties that went into escrow. So there remains plenty to choose from in all price ranges and buyer activity is off the charts high. I had over 200 folks through a new listing in Larkspur in the first four days just a week ago: from the Thursday Broker’s Open to the Saturday and Sunday open houses. The smart sellers spent a month fixing everything to make it a move-in ready home and were rewarded with four strong offers, all well over asking and two of them all cash with no contingencies of any kind. We closed in just 8 days. Let’s see where the last half of summer ends up, now to the economy. 

Despite early fears of the R-word, it appears that a Recession may not in fact be in the cards, at least for this year and given what we currently know. I came across the following this week and found it interesting: If what Americans look for on Google is any indication, we’re nowhere near a recession. DataTrek Research examined domestic internet searches for words like “coupon” and “unemployment,” which were leading indicators of the Great Recession, and found that search volumes are down significantly. People search for the term when they fear a layoff is imminent. Google searches for “unemployment” started increasing in 2005 by more than 5% year over year.  Google searches in June were basically flat compared to last year. April and May were slightly lower. “If the Federal Reserve looked at Google Trends they might not be so inclined to cut rates next week,” said one researcher. 

That’s it for now. Enjoy August wherever you are and stay in touch with any questions. I’m here to help. 

Ted

c 415.377.5222

ted@gomarin.com 

July in Marin: Home Prices Up Slightly, But Decline Elsewhere

July is here in Marin. The sun shines daily as residents flourish in the numerous outdoor activities that make our region so popular. Hiking, biking, boating, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, camping and a whole lot of other words that end in -ing abound, with a big one being “traveling”. July is a popular travel month for all Bay Area residents. As tourists flock here from all parts of the globe, local folks tend to go elsewhere, leaving the roads, trails, markets and malls somewhat empty. This makes it a great month to staycation also, taking in local spots you may not normally enjoy, like the beach, wine country, or even the cable cars of the City. Stay or go, everybody tends to celebrate July around here. But one thing they often tend not to do is buy houses.

While July is one of our busier travel and leisure months, it’s one of our slower home-buying months, historically anyway, as most people tend to be doing the other things we just mentioned. Not everyone though, as Marin is still very much a twelve month real estate market, but the sales volume always drops off from the frenetic months of March thru June. Buyers and sellers both tend to take a breather in July and into August, when the kids go back to school by month end. There’s another short pause thru Labor Day, then things usually pick up again right up until Thanksgiving. Then it’s typically slow holiday and winter market time up to February 1st, when the whole cycle starts over again. Usually, that is. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess as the annual uptick in home prices may have hit the “pause” button also. 

Several local media articles documented only a slight increase (or even slight drop) in the median home price over the last year, off from the frequent double digit appreciation we saw in 2012-2018. Marin was basically flat, up to $1,200,000, or just over 1%, with the exact same number of homes sold year over year (exactly 372) as were many other counties. But look at our stalwarts of tech-heavy Santa Clara and San Francisco counties. Both were down an average of 5%, with the number of homes sold in Santa Clara down 11%. That’s fairly sizable, considering that both areas (and Marin) saw an increase in population. Obviously, many people opted to rent, either by choice or necessity, but likely due to affordability, according to many experts. Rising home prices, combined with rising mortgage rates in 2018, plus limited federal and state tax deductions led to fewer buyers being able to afford our home prices. Read the Marin IJ article here, just know this only addresses the median home price, not the average, which is approx $350k higher at $1,550,000, or the luxury ranges, which saw good activity in the last few months. There have been 22 sales in the $5 mil-$10 mil range this year alone, with 2 others in the $10 mil-$13 mil range. If you’re interested, the high sale was James Hetfield’s place (think: Metallica) at 104 Laurel Grove in Ross for $12.4 mil. 

Where we go from here is anybody’s guess, though the on and offline chatter seems to favor a further slowing right through July. However, if you’re looking to buy or sell in the low price range of any of our twelve towns, the market will remain active, so don’t wait. Sellers, get your place move-in ready and hit the ground running anytime after July 8th. Just be smart and stay with market-value pricing, if not just a hair below to attract multiple buyers. Pretend you’re a fisherman, casting a line out there, into the depths, with a piece of bait on your hook. Do you want a small piece to hook a small fish, or a big one with a big whopping offer? If it’s the latter, price it right and they will bite!

Buyers, you could be in the driver’s seat this month and into next, but be smart and manage that expectation well. Don’t underbid if the property meets most of your requirements. There’s usually very little to choose from in any price range here, so don’t miss out on 10-20 years of memories by trying to be the Super Shopper and losing out to a more realistic buyer. It happens far too frequently, believe me, and kicking yourself on “the one that got away” is no fun.   

That’s it for now. Enjoy July wherever you are and stay in touch with any questions. I’m here to help. 

Ted

c 415.377.5222

ted@gomarin.com 

Home Sales Rise, Bay Area Prices Stay Steady

June is here in the Bay Area, finally ending a long, drawn out winter and bringing longer, warmer days to grateful residents eager to enjoy the outdoors. It’s also Graduation Month, as they say, with all schools from Pre-K to Dominican University hosting ceremonies to kick start summer for students and propel them on to the next chapter in their lives. Cardboard hats get tossed into the air, photos get taken, hugs abound…now what? For the older students, that could mean continuing on with grad school, taking time off or taking a job and starting at it. Intern salaries at Google average at $90,000 for the first year, on up to $125,000 for certain skill sets. Just slightly higher than the $19,000 a year I made at my first job after UCLA.

By chance, or irony, the average home price back then was just around the average starting salary, making housing “affordable” for those willing to take the leap. Thankfully, income for hard workers has increased over time, but the cost of housing has exceeded that ten-fold, at least around here in the Bay Area. The average home price in Marin is over $1.5 mil, making that first house often out of reach for many, if not for most. But as salaries continue up, will the cost of a home do the same, or will housing appreciation slow down or even drop. Given the rate of population growth in our area, it’s doubtful, but let’s look at that further. 

Besides economic factors like mortgage interest rates, stock market swings and often the headlines that day, real estate is pretty much a supply-and-demand economy. The more homes there are for sale, the cheaper the prices are. Generally speaking, that is. In the Bay Area, the core or nucleus of the housing market for single family homes is basically fixed. Sure they add new high rise units in SF and Oakland, but for a buyer who wants a front yard instead of an elevator’s front door for access to their home, we are pretty much built out. They took all the best lots first, way back when, leaving no more room to add new housing, not unless you go to the outreaches of the east bay.

There’s no exception here in Marin, however. We are pretty much a zero growth area as you’ve seen in this blog over time. And with the Bay Area population projected to grow an additional 1% a year on up to 2040 (don’t ask me why they stopped there), you don’t need to be a trained economist to see that prices of homes here will likely just keep going up, slowly but surely, at least in areas where they can’t add more housing, like Marin County. You can read the full article here, but prices don’t always go straight up. They often flatten out, as we just saw in the last year. The median Bay Area home price was nearly the same last month as it was a year ago, as seen in the SF Chronicle. The article notes a rise of nearly 8% from the previous month, but basically flat from March the previous year. April and May are two big months for home buying, so we’re likely to see that number increase. But still, maybe the market is balancing out to favor both buyers and sellers in the median arena, not just the latter. The luxury end may see a change though, if the recent IPO boom news is any indicator. Too soon to tell on that one, as many shareholders continue to be under a 3-6 month lock up and unable to sell. But what does all that mean for buyers and sellers?

For buyers, I’d say, look to the reason you’re buying. If it’s to stop wasting precious money on rent and build some future wealth, you’re tired of being under your landlord’s thumb, you want to make changes and improvements to your own home or you just want to be in control of your own future, then buy. Don’t do it because you think you can become instantly rich, buy low, then sell high, or any similar jackrabbit wealth-building plan. Buy for the long term (more than three years) and enjoy your new found economic and emotional appreciation for what you have. As the state adds more than 300,000 new residents a year, many of them will want to live where you do (some, literally), pushing prices higher, despite you thinking you “paid top dollar” or “our home will NEVER be worth more than…”. Just watch. Buyers were saying that to me (again, literally) back when the average price here was $250,000. They NEVER expected prices to crest over $500,000. Never, even though they’re now closer to $1,600,000 on average. 

Sellers? Prepare it and price it right, they will come. Get unrealistic or have too high an expectation? They will not. In fact, you’ll actually sell below market value. Buyers here are well-trained, well-prepared and ready to go. Your home will see its highest activity in the first 5-7 days. After that, it levels off, then very slowly starts dropping in value. Granted, the higher price ranges take longer than that. But for the most part, things happen fast here, so why leave money on the table by expecting too much, or by wanting the market to meet your expectations, instead of the other way around.  

That’s it for now. Let me know of any questions, but enjoy June, wherever you are. Stay safe and thanks for reading!

Ted

c 415.377.5222

ted@gomarin.com 

April in Marin: Market Springs Forward From Winter Hibernation

After a very rainy March (and February, and January…), the skies finally cleared up at the end of the month for one of the first clear weekends in a long time. Out popped the buyers like flowers in a Super Bloom as the Open Houses were bustling and busy. Were they curious neighbors, casual lookers or serious buyers? That will be determined in the days to follow as we wait to see if listings change from Active to Contingent or even straight to Pending, meaning no contingencies. That’s a smart strategy for some, offering to buy with no Loan or Inspection Contingency. But is it for everyone? Let’s talk about that.

If you’re buying your first house or your last house, you have to offer a price, but you also have options when it comes to a couple of major negotiating points: the contingency periods for Inspections and for Financing. You want to be the successful bidder, whether or not there are other buyers and multiple offers. If it’s early in the going, the seller may want to take a pass if your offer feels weak, or less than what they’re expecting. This doesn’t just mean on price, which is only one component of your offer. Even at full price (or more), most CA real estate contracts are written for the buyer and really just an opportunity to “tie it up”, as you hear often. Given nearly all buyers are well-approved in advance for a mortgage these days (unless they’re paying all cash), this mostly comes down to an Inspection contingency, lasting usually from 7-14 days.

The buyer secures price and terms, then proceeds to do inspections. Once receiving their reports, they can opt to move forward, back out or renegotiate the terms of the deal. Sound like the buyers hold all the cards? They do. But sellers know that and often can hold a few cards of their own.

First way to avoid this as a seller? Get all your reports up front: Termite, Home, Sewer Lateral, Roof, Pool if you have one. The buyer can take a week to review all these prior to writing an offer, or ask for a 3 day “Review” period as part of their Inspection Contingency. But either way, you know what you’re selling and they know what they’re buying right up front. The chance of the deal being renegotiated or the buyer walking away are now basically zero.

The other option is to just sell it As Is, with no reports or inspections, but you may just get lot value, or low offers, neither of which benefits the seller, only the buyer.

That’s it for now. Let me know of any questions, but enjoy April, wherever you are. Stay safe, thanks for reading.

Ted

415.377.5222
ted@gomarin.com

March in Marin: Will Rains Continue to Dampen Buyer Enthusiasm or Do We Spring Forward Again?

A series of powerful storms brought more rain to Marin over the last two months, along with up to fifteen feet of new snow to the sierras. Okay, so our reservoirs are full and the snow pack will easily take us through next year, great. But all that water from the sky isn’t just a blessing. Many areas of the north bay saw rising creeks, flooding, and even power outages lasting several days (like on our own home in Greenbrae). When these things are going on, people tend to spend less time on planning vacations, home buying or selling, focusing instead on their immediate safety and well-being. If the data is any indicator, that’s exactly what happened last month as rains dampened home sales, starting January 1st and continuing right until the end of February. But you can’t always blame the weather.

Rising mortgage rates, stock market volatility and a 35 day partial government shut down all seemed to add up to a reluctance for winter buyers to brave the storms and go look at real estate, let alone buy it. Most of us busy agents were, well, not very busy: not just because there weren’t a lot of active buyers, but there also weren’t a lot of new active listings to go look at. The result was 5% fewer home sales and only a .5% increase over the same winter period last year. Make no mistake, these numbers should both change dramatically as we enter the home buying season this month, assuming we don’t get even more rain. As I sit here typing this on March 1st, however, I see a series of storms lined up that could do just that, but more on our seasonality in Marin and other parts of the Bay Area.

March thru June is typically our strong home buying/selling season here and in other desirable areas of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Silicon Valley and the East Bay. All neighborhoods see a general uptick over these four months, but certain areas (or even streets) see a dramatic jump in activity and home prices. This continues right up until July 5th, when things slow down and typically stay slow right until the next following March. That’s why many agents say we achieve our annual appreciation in these months, and spend the rest of the year trying to hang onto it. I agree, but will this year be any different?

It’s way too soon to tell, but ask me in a month. We never know where we are in our real estate market until we’re able to look back and see where we’ve been. Only then can we begin to guess where we may be going. But this year, I often hear that “It’s anybody’s guess” where we go in this market. We could stay in the winter doldrums right into the summer, or spring to life this month, as we have for the last eight years running. We don’t need to wait four months to know, but we do know month to month how it’s looking. For any questions on how that looks, let me know.

That’s it for now. Let me know of any questions, but enjoy March, wherever you are. Stay dry and stay safe, thanks for reading.

Ted

415.377.5222
ted@gomarin.com

February 2019 in Marin: Winter is Here and the Market Starts Now

Winter is officially here in Marin as a series of powerful storms brought more rain and sierra snow in the first week of the month. Northern California typically sees this late start to our winter, but not so the housing market. Call that an “early” start as the For Sale signs now start to pop up in early February, kicking off a very early home buying season. The market starts now and the undercurrent momentum we’re seeing indicates it could be another good year, albeit with some signs of caution.

After another year of slow and steady appreciation, local homeowners saw the average home price rise 6%. Not hare-quick, but tortoise-healthy, which generally is a good thing. But with sales slowing in the last half of the year nationwide, some are seeing that as a red flag, even suggesting we’re headed back to the challenges of 2008. This isn’t the case, as the statistics prove the current market is nothing like the one that preceded the housing crash last decade.

The previous bubble was primarily caused by unhealthy levels of mortgage debt. New purchasers were putting down the minimum down payment, giving them little reason to buckle down and hold on during the tough times ahead. At the same time, other existing homeowners were using their houses as ATM’s, drawing from their hard earned investment, leaving them with little (if any) equity.

When prices started to fall, many homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation, with their mortgage(s) higher than the value of their home. When this happened, they often found themselves in negative equity situations, which caused them to walk away. And so a vicious cycle formed and it took years to recover. In fixed supply/high demand areas like Marin, that was a scant three years, but other areas took more than twice that, with prices only recently recovering above where they were in 2008. Today, the equity situation is totally different.

According to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, more than 1-in-4 homes with a mortgage have at least 50% equity, even higher in areas like Marin and parts of the Bay Area where many people own their homes free and clear. Call that a comfortable cushion or a healthy sleep-at-night factor, but it’s yet one more reason to buy and hold onto real estate here. If you’re looking to trade up, down or sideways, now may be the time as the new inventory starts to hit MLS and mortgage rates have surprisingly dipped to new lows.

Let me know of any questions, but that’s it for now. Enjoy February, wherever you are. Stay dry and stay safe, thanks for reading.

Ted

415.377.5222
ted@gomarin.com

January in Marin: Will The New Year Bring a New Era For Housing?

The New Year is officially here in Marin, bringing a perennial chill in the air, along with much-needed rain and Sierra snow pack. The decorations are packed up, celebrations are over and the kids are getting back to school as the bustle settles and things return to normal. But how normal will real estate and the housing market be? Will the chill of last year continue? Let’s talk about that.

Given the repeated Fed rate increases, mortgage rates rose from a low of approx 3.3% in December of 2012 to 4.5% today. One point. That’s it. Hardly a reason for the market to slow, but we also saw new SALT and federal tax deduction limits, along with an increase in housing inventory. Naturally, sales slowed all last year, indicating there’s a good chance we may be entering a new era for the housing market everywhere, not just Marin.

My own prediction for 2019? I’ve had a year to watch and think about that. I’ve researched all the data, charts and graphs, along with some hefty feet on the ground canvassing. Using all these resources, combined with my thirty-two years of experience doing this, here’s what I’ve come up with: I honestly have no idea. This is a new era, apparently and 4.5% of a fixed interest rate is 1/3 of the 13% it was when I started. So what gives and where are we going?

Sorry to disappoint you, but my crystal ball broke years ago and until they come up with a new model with free shipping on my Prime account, I’m not investing in another one. The last ball I had gave me no warning of things to come back in the summer of 2007, so I’m hoping the new and improved crystal ball is much more helpful. But none of the big brains on CNBC, or any agents I’ve talked with have any inclination a crash is coming this time around.

At most the R-word may be of a new dynamic, but not drastic or long term. It could start slow and end quick, so they say, perhaps as early as later this year and into 2020. Probably. After that, it’s anybody’s guess but back to where that leaves us with real estate in Marin for 2019 with some short term predictions.

Inventory will swell early this year. It tends to be weather-dependent with many sellers holding off a week or two if a big storm is coming, but new listings should pop aplenty onto MLS this month and into February. Long gone are the days of a June 1st start date to the housing market here. It went from early summer to early spring, now becoming mid winter for the For Sale signs to sprout up from front yards. This will be a welcome sign (literally) for the droves of buyers waiting in the wings, preapproved or with all-cash in hand, ready to pounce and write up a strong offer. Even if a 30% increase in inventory takes place, that’s still a fraction of what it used to be. More people continue to want to live here than don’t and the supply/demand economics will stay in place, inching prices up perhaps, or keeping them flat at the very worst. Nobody I’ve talked to see’s a decrease, but that’s only here in our fixed supply/growing demand Marin market. I can’t say the same for Phoenix or any secondary home market, where my colleagues say it is very slow and slowing further, often dramatically.

Buyers, don’t wait too long and of course, we know you’re not waiting for that perfect house. I’ve yet to hear of anyone buying the perfect home here. It may be either the perfect location, lot or layout (Ted’s 3 L’s) but doubtful all three. Even if that’s the case, the condition likely won’t be perfect. Keep in mind, I don’t specialize in the $100m + properties though). But typically, home buyers get as close as they can, then make them their perfect home. Just be flexible and don’t expect prices to drop down on well-priced listings in “A” locations. Overpriced homes will still be aplenty though and they will definitely have to face reality if in fact the seller wants to sell. Many “are just trying it”, which is fine and often basically free to do. But if a property checks a lot of the boxes on your Wish List, don’t wait. Make an offer and make a move. You’ll never regret it, I promise.

That’s it for now. Enjoy January and 2019 wherever you are. Thanks for reading.

Ted

415.377.5222
ted@gomarin.com

January 2019 in Marin: Will The New Year Bring a New Era and a New Market?

The New Year is officially here in Marin, bringing a perennial chill in the air, along with much-needed rain and Sierra snow pack. The decorations are packed up, celebrations are over and the kids are getting back to school as the bustle settles and things return to normal. But how normal will real estate and the housing market be? Will the chill of last year continue? Let’s talk about that.

Given the repeated Fed rate increases, mortgage rates rose from a low of approx 3.3% in December of 2012 to 4.5% today. One point. That’s it. Hardly a reason for the market to slow, but we also saw new SALT and federal tax deduction limits, along with an increase in housing inventory. Naturally, sales slowed all last year, indicating there’s a good chance we may be entering a new era for the housing market everywhere, not just Marin.

My own prediction for 2019? I’ve had a year to watch and think about that. I’ve researched all the data, charts and graphs, along with some hefty feet on the ground canvassing. Using all these resources, combined with my thirty-two years of experience doing this, here’s what I’ve come up with: I honestly have no idea. This is a new era, apparently and 4.5% of a fixed interest rate is 1/3 of the 13% it was when I started. So what gives and where are we going?

Sorry to disappoint you, but my crystal ball broke years ago and until they come up with a new model with free shipping on my Prime account, I’m not investing in another one. The last ball I had gave me no warning of things to come back in the summer of 2007, so I’m hoping the new and improved crystal ball is much more helpful. But none of the big brains on CNBC, or any agents I’ve talked with have any inclination a crash is coming this time around.

At most the R-word may be of a new dynamic, but not drastic or long term. It could start slow and end quick, so they say, perhaps as early as later this year and into 2020. Probably. After that, it’s anybody’s guess but back to where that leaves us with real estate in Marin for 2019 with some short term predictions.

Inventory will swell early this year. It tends to be weather-dependent with many sellers holding off a week or two if a big storm is coming, but new listings should pop aplenty onto MLS this month and into February. Long gone are the days of a June 1st start date to the housing market here. It went from early summer to early spring, now becoming mid winter for the For Sale signs to sprout up from front yards. This will be a welcome sign (literally) for the droves of buyers waiting in the wings, preapproved or with all-cash in hand, ready to pounce and write up a strong offer. Even if a 30% increase in inventory takes place, that’s still a fraction of what it used to be. More people continue to want to live here than don’t and the supply/demand economics will stay in place, inching prices up perhaps, or keeping them flat at the very worst. Nobody I’ve talked to see’s a decrease, but that’s only here in our fixed supply/growing demand Marin market. I can’t say the same for Phoenix or any secondary home market, where my colleagues say it is very slow and slowing further, often dramatically.

Buyers, don’t wait too long and of course, we know you’re not waiting for that perfect house. I’ve yet to hear of anyone buying the perfect home here. It may be either the perfect location, lot or layout (Ted’s 3 L’s) but doubtful all three. Even if that’s the case, the condition likely won’t be perfect. Keep in mind, I don’t specialize in the $100m + properties though). But typically, home buyers get as close as they can, then make them their perfect home. Just be flexible and don’t expect prices to drop down on well-priced listings in “A” locations. Overpriced homes will still be aplenty though and they will definitely have to face reality if in fact the seller wants to sell. Many “are just trying it”, which is fine and often basically free to do. But if a property checks a lot of the boxes on your Wish List, don’t wait. Make an offer and make a move. You’ll never regret it, I promise.

That’s it for now. Enjoy January and 2019 wherever you are. Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year

Ted

415.377.5222
ted@gomarin.com