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Ted Strodder

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

Marin Market Marches Ahead, Are “Stupid Low” Interest Rates Balancing Buyer Hesitation?

March is here and whoa, what exactly is going to happen this month? We’ve seen stock market gyrations and global health news before here, but never to such extremes and never at the same time. So I’m asked constantly, “What’s going to happen with home prices and sales”? My answer is simple, “Nothing. Yet, anyway”. Nothing will happen immediately, and in fact the market has been busier in the last few weeks than any February on record. Multiple offers abound as people always need a place to live and interest rates are “stupid low”, likely softening the blow of uncertainty to any would be home buyer. But what happens here long term depends on what happens nationally and globally going forward. As we’ve seen in the short run, offers will be submitted, escrows will close and buyers will move into their new homes as it appears that any economic or health scares are going to be relatively short lived. But as each day brings new (and news) updates, things may change. It’s just not clear in which direction. 

As with any real estate market, we won’t know what the trend is until we’re past it and able to look back. But in my experience, long term uncertainty tends to freeze people in their tracks from making big short term decisions. They can click and trade stocks in an instant, but real estate purchases are much more long term and people tend to look forward, months or years from now. While every day can be  a revelation of further virus outbreaks or wild stock market swings, those could be good revelations, not bad, with fewer virus outbreaks and ultimate control of the disease. We just don’t know yet. It’s way too soon.

All that said, the past month revealed multiple cases of multiple offers, with three escrows of my own all having 3-4 buyers on each one. Smart sellers price to move their homes quickly, not fight the dreaded DOM (Days on Market) and are often rewarded with whopping offers with no (or very limited) contingencies. Remember, it’s not always the higher offer that wins. It’s usually the best offer and if that “best” is a slightly lower price but contingent-free, a sure bird in the hand for the seller usually takes it. Keep that in mind as you choose to write it up this spring. Get your financing all 100% in place and review comprehensive Disclosure Packets up front. You can then write a clean offer that could very well put you at the top of the stack, if there is a stack to compete with. Just know that any bad headlines are soon to disappear and things will be right back to where they were. These are very interesting times for all of us, but the dynamics of supply and demand in Marin are still in place. Nothing has changed here, yet anyway. 

Let me know of any questions. I’m here to help. Meantime, enjoy March wherever you are and as always, thanks for reading.