Marin home prices bubble up in August

POSTED: 09/22/17, 5:49 PM PDT | UPDATED: ON 09/22/2017

Author: Keri Brenner

Publication: Marin Independent Journal


Marin home prices posted a modest rise in August, with the median price hitting $960,000, a 6.9 percent bump from the $898,000 median price tag in August 2016, a real estate tracking firm reported Friday.

The number of new and resale homes and condos sold in Marin also rose slightly in August from a year earlier. In August 2017, 288 homes were sold, compared with 278 a year earlier, a 3.6 percent rise, Irvine-based CoreLogic said.

Marin’s numbers were in step with the rest of the Bay Area. The median price paid for all homes in the Bay Area in August 2017 was $742,000, up 11.6 from $665,000 a year ago.

“Inventory remained tight, but San Francisco Bay Area home sales reached a four-year high for the month of August,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst with CoreLogic. “Last month’s gain reflects the region’s severe mismatch between housing supply and demand, and, to a lesser extent, a shift in ‘market mix,’ in which a slightly higher share of sales this August were in mid- to high-cost areas.”

LePage said the 11.6 percent year-over-year gain was “the highest for any month in more than a year and a half — since it rose 14.4 percent in January 2016.”

Marin real estate professionals said the market is continuing its five-to-six-year-long upswing and strong sellers’ bent.

If there is a leveling off coming toward a more balanced state, it is not yet clear, since August is often a slow month with families going on vacation instead of listing their homes, they said.

“It’s hard to tell,” said Stephen Pringle of Zephyr Real Estate in Greenbrae. “This time of year, it (leveling off) happens anyway.”

Pringle said the sellers’ market is still robust after about five or six years of price increases, but “I think maybe it’s starting to top out,” he said. “Where there used to be eight or nine multiple offers, now there’s one or two.”

He said the real strong point for sellers will come in March, when those who waited all winter to list their homes will be able to get the highest price due to “pent-up demand” from buyers.

Patti Cohn, a broker with Pacific Union International Real Estate in Kentfield, said she was seeing a “really strong September.” She didn’t think the modest but healthy August numbers were necessarily indicative of any leveling off.

“We’ve had five years of rapid appreciation, and it’s still going strong,” she said. “It’s too early to tell what’s going on.”

Cohn said she doubted that a top off was near or on the way.

“Marin has more and more people wanting to come here for the beauty, the housing construction is limited by strict zoning, and the tech bubble is bubbling up to Marin,” Cohn said in listing the factors that push up Marin home prices. “I think the (strong sellers’ market) is going to continue for at least a year or two more.”

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