Market Update - Stephanie Witt's Blog on Marin County Real Estate

Market Update Week of 5/28/12

Stephanie Witt - Thursday, May 31, 2012

 

Current Real Estate Market Conditions for Single Family Homes

Summary

Report

This Week

The median list price in MILL VALLEY, CA this week is $1,285,000. Demand measured by the Market Action Index is increasing and days-on-market is holding steady. With more properties coming available, conditions are mildly positive.

Supply and Demand

Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks. While still a Buyer's market, prices seem to have responded by moving upward. If the demand trends continue, expect prices to keep marching upward, especially once we see a Seller's Market.

Current Real Estate Market Conditions for Condos & Townhomes

Summary

Report

This Week

The median list price in MILL VALLEY, CA this week is $569,000. Inventory has been lightening lately and the Market Action Index has been trending up. Though days-on-market is increasing, these are mildly positive indications for the market.

Supply and Demand

Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks. However prices have not yet stopped falling. Since the market is already in the Seller's zone, expect prices to level off very soon. Should the sales trend continue expect that prices could climb from there.

Market Update Week of 3/5/12

Stephanie Witt - Wednesday, March 07, 2012

 

Current Real Estate Market Conditions for Single Family Homes

Summary

Report

This Week

The median list price in MILL VALLEY, CA this week is $1,195,000. Demand measured by the Market Action Index is increasing and days-on-market is trending downward. Even as more properties come available, these are positive trends for the market.

 

Supply and Demand

Home sales have been exceeding new inventory for several weeks. While still a Buyer's market, prices seem to have responded by moving upward. If the demand trends continue, expect prices to keep marching upward, especially once we see a Seller's Market.

 

Recently Sold

3900 Old Rancheria Rd, Nicasio CA - $2,175,000

Current Real Estate Market Conditions for Condos & Townhomes

Summary

Full Report

This Week

The median list price in MILL VALLEY, CA this week is $459,000. Inventory is tightening and days-on-market is falling. The Market Action Index shows demand heating up. These are relatively bullish signs for prices.

 

Supply and Demand

Home sales continue to outstrip supply and the Market Action Index has been moving higher for several weeks. This is a Seller's market so watch for upward pricing pressure in the near future if the trend continues.


Recently Sold

160 Seminary Drive, Mill Valley CA - $360,000



Buying and Selling Season Begins After Super Bowl Sunday

Stephanie Witt - Thursday, February 09, 2012

First Posted on Mill Valley Patch February 5, 2012 at 5:58 am

First some nostalgia - Sweetwater is back and our beloved Masonic Hall (at least a portion of it) has been remodeled, recreated and is now in full swing! The Masonic was built in 1903 and served as a lodge for the Masons of Mill Valley, which my Dad, George Wickham, was part of many years ago. This is a piece of Mill Valley’s history and real estate. Refurbishing and renovating some of our downtown buildings without taking away from original facades is essential to the essence and home town feel that is loved by all who live in and visit our town. Good job to all who made this happen! Thank You!

Traditionally, the Spring selling season opens for business right after today's Super Bowl. Why is that? The holiday recovery is over, kids are back in school and life returns to a more normal pace.

BUYERS:

As I show property in February, buyers begin coming out of the city with a focus on Mill Valley and/or Southern Marin. This is mainly due to the proximity of the city where most work. If they do not find the perfect house in Mill Valley, they tend to move up the corridor into Corte Madera or Larkspur. Many of these young couples have a small child or are planning to have children within the next few years. Since Mill Valley is family centric, it is a good starting point. They move here from the city for schools and access to Mt. Tam and its trails for hiking and biking. Many of them tell me they come to Mill Valley on weekends to hike, bike and enjoy our village-like downtown.

They are also very focused on having a property that is ready to move into. Most do not have the extra money to buy and fix-up. Sellers should make sure their home has fresh paint, new carpets, redone floors, possibly new appliances and an inviting yard with some level area. Think model home and staging!

The Mill Valley buyers' demographic is fairly consistent: Between 32 -45, working in the city, athletic, concerned about lifestyle for their young families or soon to be young families. They begin their house hunting online either on Redfin, Zillow or Trulia. Once they hook up with an agent, they gain access to more informative websites.

While location is still top of mind for most buyers, I have found that when a home is pleasing to the eye and well-priced, it captures the highest and best price.

There are lots of buyers who are cautious about paying too much. They will pay more for a home that is remodeled or in tip-top shape. First impressions are very
important.  

With that said, for buyers, go to Sunday Opens and interview agents. Ask friends for referrals. Hook up with a good agent sooner than later. They are very helpful
to the whole process; from getting pre-approved, to knowing the inventory, to
whether a home is priced correctly or not, and most importantly in negotiating
on your behalf.

SELLERS:

Sellers should understand that all homes sell in a price range. Listen to your agent when pricing your property. If your agent is not well versed in a certain area, get several opinions. But do not choose an agent on pricing alone. Many agents will price high to obtain the listing and hope the seller will come down in price later. Not a good tactic. The more time on the market, the more price
reductions and you lose your opportunity for capturing the highest and best price.

Some good questions to ask an agent you’re considering to have represent your home:

The Nature of the Agent’s Business

  • How long have you been in the business?
  • Do you work full time?
  • Do you work primarily with buyers or sellers?
  • Do you have a full time assistant or buyer’s agent?
  • Do you belong to any agent networking groups?
  • Do you network in San Francisco?
  • What are your best skill and worst skill you bring to your business?

Agent Sales Activity

  • What area(s) do you sell the most homes in?
  • How many homes have you sold in the last year?
  • What is the average price of the homes you have sold?
  • Which homes have you listed and sold in the last six months?
  • What homes have you listed in the last six months that either did not sell, or had multiple price reductions? Why?
  • Can you provide the names and phone numbers of recent clients?
  • How many listings do you currently have?

Determining Market Value/Listing Price

  • How do you determine price and what does your process entail?
  • How do you know this will be the correct price?
  • What is the current market trend in the area and specifically my neighborhood?
  • What is the range homes are selling at in comparison to their asking prices?
  • What percent of your listings sell for the listing price or above?
  • What is the minimum listing period you would accept?
  • What is your commission and how does the “split” work?

Representing and Marketing your home

  • Where will you market my home? 
  • Can you provide a specific marketing plan?
  • How do you typically find potential buyers?
  • Who do you think the buyer for my home is?

Here is to a good buying and selling season! Even though the front page news of the IJ was not great- prices down, sales up, buyers are out there, the inventory is low and sellers need to get ready. 

Market Update for January 16th 2012

Stephanie Witt - Friday, January 20, 2012

Single Family Homes: 

Median list price for Single Family Homes in Mill Valley: $1,195,000 

SUMMARY

FULL REPORT 


This Week 
The median list price in MILL VALLEY, CA this week is $1,195,000. 

The 55 properties have been on the market for an average of 167 days. 

Inventory has been lightening lately and the Market Action Index has been trending up. Though days-on-market is increasing, these are mildly positive indications for the market.
 
Supply and Demand 
The market has shown some evidence of slowing recently. Both prices and inventory levels are relatively unchanged in recent weeks. Watch the Market Action Index for changes as it can be a leading indicator for price changes. 

Condos & Townhouses: 

Median list price for Condos in Mill Valley: $498,000 

SUMMARY

FULL REPORT 


This Week 
The median list price in MILL VALLEY, CA this week is $498,000. The 15 properties have been on the market for an average of 187 days. Inventory has been tightening and days-on-market increasing recently. The Market Action Index has been basically flat, not providing strong indication for market conditions. 

Supply and Demand 
The market has shown some evidence of slowing recently. Both prices and inventory levels are relatively unchanged in recent weeks. Watch the Market Action Index for changes as it can be a leading indicator for price changes.

Third Quarter 2011 Market Update

Stephanie Witt - Monday, October 24, 2011

Pricing is Critical to Maximizing Sellers Proceeds!

 

The national and international news we are exposed to daily has been consistently volatile for the past three-to-four years. Q3 '11 marked both the worst quarter since '09 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 160% increase in the VIX (volatility index). In Fall 2008, we experienced similar economically jarring news temporarily (October - February 2008) stalling our local real estate markets.

 

The good news is real estate is a local business! We do not necessarily follow, react or respond to national trends. While our clients' confidence, job security and investment strategies are very much influenced by national and international news stories, our local real estate results are fairly stable and certainly do not reflect the volatility of the national, international, political or economic unrest.

 

It is our feeling that Marin County housing prices will remain fairly stable for the next 15 - 18 months. We expect mortgage rates to remain in the five-percent (5%) range (in some loan products lower). As of August 31, 2011, the Marin County unemployment index was 7.8% v the California average of 11.9%. This means 92.2% of all those looking for work in Marin County are employed. We recognize a market recovery will be led by quality job creation, which will be followed by an increase in our clients' confidence.  

 

Reflecting back to market conditions of Q3 '09 and Q3 '10, the Q3 '11 homes sold, average and median prices have remained fairly stable at +/- 10% changes (see chart below). In general,  Marin County real estate market conditions are well off the pricing and homes sold from '06 through the first half of '08, but buyers with a five plus year investment perspective are seizing attractive opportunities in the market every day.

 

 

 

We have certainly benefited from more realistic sellers in the marketplace. This may be a result of access to plenty of meaningful comparable sales in the market as well as great examples of over-priced homes. Time on the market is clearly not a seller's friend - statistics from the MLS confirm that homes on the market for over 90 days sold for 89% off their original listing price. This means -$110,000 under original asking price on a $1 million home. Conversely, homes that sell in less than thirty (30) days on the market enjoy a sale price of nearly 98% of the original listing price.  Pricing decisions in this market are paramount to achieving a timely sale and maximizing seller's proceeds.

 

Buyers in the market are very well educated, conversant on recent sales and new listing inventory - which by the way is well below last year's at this same time. We find buyers to be generally patient, focused, seeking value and not willing to make offers on overpriced listings. This makes the pool of qualified buyers keenly focused on the best priced inventory. Most buyers are approaching the primary home market as an investment in their home vs. speculation on an appreciating housing market.

 

We entertain ourselves internally by saying we feel like it has been Ground Hog Day every day for the past three years. However volatile the national and international news may be, we still see opportunity in our market every day for buyers and sellers. Real estate is a very local business - we have micro-markets in Marin County neighborhoods that are far more robust than others. I welcome the opportunity to visit with you about your specific needs, housing interest or the real estate markets in general.


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