Marin median home price now back up to $1.7 million


San Francisco Window Replacement

If you can believe it, the median price of a detached home in Marin County is $1.7 million again, even in a market that seems to be against buyers.


As recently reported in Mercury News, the price, which is based on county assessor data from February, marked an 11% increase over the previous year. The prices varied from a median of $6.65 million in Ross to $1.1 million in Fairfax.


With little inventory available, the number of detached home sales in Marin decreased by 12% over the same one-year period, from 162 to 143.


In the Marin condo and townhome market, the median price in February was $732,000 on 64 sales. The previous year, the median was $665,000 on 71 sales.


In Marin, the median for detached homes went past the $1.7 million threshold back in May, went up to $1.8 million in July and remained above $1.7 million in August and September before going back down a bit.


This year, the market outlook is dealing with rising inflation and interest rates. For perspective, the U.S. weekly average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.72% according to Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage company. It was 3.13% a year ago.


Patti Cohn, a Marin real estate agent with Compass, said that rising mortgage rates typically tend to lower home prices. However, under the current market conditions with several baby boomers moving, millennials buying homes and homeowners purchasing second properties, “the old rules don’t apply anymore.”


“It’s kind of a market where all bets are off,” she said.


Stefan Schermerhorn, a Marin agent with Holmes Burrell Real Estate, was the agent for the sale of a home at the February median price. He initially marketed the property, a four-bedroom home in Tamalpais Valley, through a private network of agents. Then, just when he was about to list it publicly at $1.495 million, he received a $1.7 million offer through the private network.


The price was a 57% gain in less than six years for the agent who sold that property, according to Zillow, the real estate data firm.


“I think it’s volatile now,” Schermerhorn said of the market. “I do think interest rates are affecting people’s ability to borrow. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but there’s still a lot of money and cash.”

“It’s still a gross sellers’ market, an extreme sellers’ market,” he said. “It’s an interesting market. It’s not going to last forever.”


Across the Bay Area, all of its counties reported double-digit price growth year-over-year in February, according to data from CoreLogic, a real estate market research firm. The median price for that region rose 17% from the prior year, hitting $1.1 million.


Home sales dropped almost 20% from last February, with the biggest declines in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco, according to CoreLogic.


“It’s actually sad for buyers,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, a real estate agent in San Jose. “It’s so competitive, so expensive.”


Slowing sales is what resulted from rising prices. San Francisco went down 27%, Santa Clara decreased by 25% and San Mateo fell 24% from last February. Condo and new home sales also dropped.


Bay Area agents say rising prices and a low supply of homes for sale has sent some potential homebuyers out of the market. Some are holding off until there are better conditions and selection, while others have looked to townhomes and condos. Whether to stay or leave the Bay Area is something on the minds of many prospective buyers.


CoreLogic economist Selma Hepp said demand remains strong, with about eight in 10 homes selling above their listing prices.


“It’s just the lack of inventory,” she said.


With prices and interest rates rising steadily, buyers might be caught up in a fear of missing out, she said.


“We thought there would be less demand at this point,” Hepp said.


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