May 2015 Marin County Real Estate Report: Fast Start to Spring Market


What’s happening in Wine Country?….

Median Sales Prices; Luxury Home Sales; Housing Affordability Index;
Supply, Demand & Overbidding; Home Values by City; Bay Area Markets


Marin Median House & Condo Sales Prices
As the spring market accelerated, April’s median home sales prices – which mostly reflect transactions negotiated in March – hit new highs for both houses and condos in Marin.


Median House Sales Prices by City & Town

This chart gives an idea of comparative house values in Marin. Median prices often disguise an enormous variety of values in the underlying individual home sales, and can fluctuate for a number of reasons, such as seasonality, interest rates, buyer profile and significant changes in the distressed, luxury and new-home segments.


Marin Luxury Home Sales

Higher-end home sales are even more subject to seasonal fluctuations in market activity than the general homes market: Up in spring, down in summer, back up in autumn and way down during the winter holiday season. In Marin, luxury sales typically peak in in May. April’s sales were 26% higher than in April of 2014 and May might see a new record for transaction volume.

Of the Marin homes selling for $1.5 million and above in April, about half were in Mill Valley and Tiburon, with the rest scattered among other, generally smaller, southern and central Marin communities.


Overbidding List Prices

Perhaps the clearest sign of a competitive market is when homes sell for over asking price. In April, the average Marin home sold for 3% over asking price. In the last 2 years, this percentage peaked in May, mostly reflecting offers negotiated in April. (This analysis used transactions up to a sales price of $3m to limit the distorting effect of ultra-high-price sales on this statistic.)

To give an idea of the ferocious market in San Francisco, the average there in April was 10% over asking.

Supply & Demand

Days on Market, Months Supply of Inventory, Listing Activity





The 3 charts above illustrate supply and demand dynamics: The current days-on-market and months-supply-of-inventory statistics are classic indicators of what is usually called a strong “seller’s market.”

Housing Affordability


This CAR Housing Affordability Index (HAI) is calculated using median price, household income, interest rates and other financial criteria to determine what percentage of households can afford to buy in a given area. Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo have very low Index readings in comparison to other parts of the country – for example, the Index reading for the U.S. is at 59%. The HAI is a relatively clumsy tool because of the complexity and nuances of the issue, but one can’t argue with the general trend lines. When the market heats up and prices rise, affordability goes down; when the market goes into a recession (or crashes), affordability bounces back up. It might be argued that when affordability declines beyond a certain point, it becomes an indicator of an overvalued real estate market.

Comparing Bay Area Real Estate Markets


This is 1 of 10 charts from our report comparing different county markets around the Bay Area. The data is slightly out of date, since the spring selling season got started right after the analysis was completed, but the comparative realities between the counties are still valid and quite fascinating. Generally speaking, the counties of San Francisco and San Mateo, and to a slightly lesser degree, Alameda, constitute the red hot core of the overall Bay Area real estate market, with the heat radiating out and diminishing from there. The boom in high tech is the major factor behind this dynamic.

Note that the markets of counties surrounding the core are still very strong, just not quite as fiercely competitive.

The full report can be found here: Bay Area RE Markets Comparison.

These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. Statistics are generalities and how they apply to any specific property is unknown without a tailored comparative market analysis. Sales statistics of one month generally reflect offers negotiated 4 – 6 weeks earlier, i.e. they are a month or so behind what’s actually occurring in the market as buyers and sellers make deals. All numbers should be considered approximate. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

© 2015 Paragon Real Estate Group