Recent nationally compiled data shows a 12 percent increase in year-over-year home sales with an increase in first-time home buyers representing 32 percent of the market, up 5 percent from Q1 2015. Nation-wide distressed sales also decreased from 11 to 8 percent within the year to date. Homes for sale in the West currently represent 23 percent of the national inventory.
California’s existing home sales posted their strongest performance in three years as year-over-year sales recovered from delayed escrow closings in Q4 2015. Year-over-year sales increased in the state’s major regions, including the San Francisco Bay Area at 6.8 percent.
February’s inventory of homes for sale in Marin County remained low at 215 though improved from a 10-year low in January. The month offered roughly two-thirds the average number of units for sale compared to February last year, just 21 percent of 2007’s record. This lack of inventory coupled with buyer demand is expected to continue raising average sale prices heading into listing season, which in February were up 22 percent from 2007 peak levels.
Buyers facing challenges in finding listing inventory can now use a new feature on our company website which provides a way to access our listings “Not on MLS.” To get the first update of listings on the market, we encourage you to find the off market properties under the Property Search menu at the top of our website.
Home Sales by Area
February marked a slight increase in the number of homes sold in Marin County, 91, from 89 in January. Mill Valley, Sausalito, Tiburon and San Anselmo home sales were nearly half their levels compared to January, while Novato and San Rafael showed the highest number of homes sold at 29 and 20, respectively.
Home Sales and Market Activity by Price Point
Homes priced from $1 to $2 million remain the most active market in Marin County with 45 sold in February, just over half the inventory on market at that price range. Homes under $1 million followed closely with 57 active listings. There were 42 active homes priced between $2 and $3 million.
Percent of Homes in Contract
Larkspur leads Marin County in February for the highest percentage of homes in contract at 75 percent. Novato followed with 62 percent, the Beach Cities at 44 percent and Fairfax, Greenbrae and San Rafael each maintained a healthy 40 percent. Kentfield, Ross and Belvedere saw a lower percentage of homes in contract due to the higher end nature of those markets at 22, 20 and 0 percent, respectively.
Average Price of Active Listings Compared to Average Price of Homes Sold
In contrast to Marin County averages in January where listing prices increased and sale prices decreased, February saw a subtle decrease in average listing price and a nearly 15 percent increase in sale price. The increase in sale price is a turning point since a slightly downward trend beginning last October, a foreseeable response to increasingly low inventory.
Number of Homes Listed and Sold
Inventory increased 25 percent from January as we moved into the nascent stage of listing season, though levels are 30 percent below the same month last year. The number of homes sold in February was nearly the same as January and slightly below the same month last year. Home sales in February represent half the month’s inventory level.