November in Marin: Will Recent Power Outages Impact Home Values?
November is finally here in Marin, following a shaky last week of October. I don’t mean a Halloween Fright Night, I’m talking about 3-4 days of countywide power outages that tested the stability of our normally stoic neighborhoods. End result? We made it through, virtually unscathed, save for some perishables in the fridge. But those who had the foresight to grab some of the free ice handed out by local grocery stores avoided even that. Generally, it was a gigantic inconvenience. But as I told my kids, “It wasn’t that long ago that people lived here with no power at all, ever”. You could see their little technology-driven minds trying to wrap around that one. Like me, they were wondering why outlying, high-risk fire areas had their power cut along with busy shopping centers, gas stations and schools. PG&E apparently has such antiquated grids, they have to throw the big switch to entire towns and neighborhoods, instead of picking and choosing like Southern California Edison. They apparently can turn off one side of the street, while leaving the other with full power. (You can just imagine the extension cords running across from neighbor to neighbor, right?) But not so here and the three questions remaining seem to be:
1. Will it happen again? The media touted this as possibly being “the new normal” for many areas.
2. If so, how frequently? And, finally…
3. What will the impact, if any, be to our real estate market.
While the first two are in the misguided hands of PG&E, the third one I can take. We’ve networked this through some of the Top Agent groups and the answer seems to be a long one, but with solid optimism. Homes and neighborhoods in Marin that got thrown under the PG&E bus due to no smarter alternative will remain unscathed in value, especially the high demand, close to town properties. Even remote hillside homes here may not see any value loss either, as Marin is fairly cool and green, without a lot of dry vegetation to fuel a wildfire. But homes farther north in outlying Wine Country areas may not be so lucky. We’ve already heard of people wanting to move closer-in to the towns of Sonoma or Napa, where it’s mostly sidewalks and stucco buildings, without a lot of vegetation. The chances of getting stuck on a narrow road are nonexistent when you’re within a couple of miles of town, so watch for any homes in the flat neighborhoods continue to appreciate, much as they will here. So while Marin prices should hold their own (or continue up slowly) watch for the remote, hillside areas of our northern counties perhaps suffer value losses as residents look for safer, flatter locations. San Francisco, of course, will likely see no impact whatsoever. But let’s see how it plays out.
For the month, we saw 60 fewer home sales over last year, but prices were up 7% to an average of $1,540,000 and a median of $1,290,000. Multiple offers continued right through October with my last three listings getting swarmed with buyers who had cash or preapprovals in hand, ready to close in 3-4 weeks, often with all their due diligence done upfront. Smart sellers continue to prep their homes, with turnkey, move-in condition properties continuing to well outpace fixer uppers of any variety. If they order all their inspections and reports weeks before they sell, they likely will receive several clean, As Is offers with no last minute, unexpected negotiations. People are busy and seem to prefer to spend their time at home, enjoying their surroundings, instead of embarking on major fix up projects. This is a trend that’s likely to continue, so let me know if there’s anything I can advise on here. Getting top dollar is a specialty of mine and something I’m known for throughout the county. Ask me how to get you multiple offers. I’ll help you get it done.
Until then, enjoy November wherever you are and let me know what I can help with. Ask me anything. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll seek it out.
Thanks for reading,