A cute new listing in San Rafael…for just $279,000?

Yes! We just brought on a 2 bedroom house in Santa Venetia, with charm, a nice yard, and a 2-car garage, with an asking price of $279K.  It’s a smaller house–950 square feet by the tax records–and it’s a short sale so the lender will have to approve any offer, but a nice opportunity for someone who wants to buy in Marin at a price point that’s rare for a nice house in the area. More info here.

Feds announce more help for some underwater homeowners

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced today some changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Basically, the idea is to make it possible for more people with loans backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to refinance to take advantage of low interest rates. The program has been limited to those who owed up to 125% of their home’s value, but they’re removing that limit so homeowners who are substantially underwater will be able to refi into lower payments, hopefully letting more people stay in their homes.

Of course if your loan isn’t backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, if you have a jumbo loan for example, this won’t be such exciting news.

You can read the official press release here.

New Listing: Sunny and Charming Fairfax Cottage

This week we brought on this super cute cottage just over the San Anselmo/Fairfax border. It has a flat lawn, tons of charm, and the location is great.  A stone’s throw to downtown and a block from the new Good Earth grocery store, but just far enough from Sir Francis Drake to avoid the road noise. First Sunday open house tomorrow!  www.20willowave.com

Pending rates for August

Here are the pending rates for August.  It’s traditionally a slow month, with people out of town, but there’s still been strong activity in some parts off the county.  Corte Madera, Greenbrae, and Fairfax continue to show a lot of demand relative to a small supply.

And here they are by price range. No surprise that the lower end continues to be stronger than the luxury market.

New listing alert: 30 Mountain View Rd, Fairfax

We brought on a really cool new listing in Fairfax this week. An updated, open floor plan, mid-century home in a beautiful setting. Only a couple minutes up the hill from downtown. We’ll have it open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, Aug. 13th and 14th, 1:00-4:00 pm. www.30mountainviewroad.com.

Marin could really use some more good listings

An interesting year continues, with things still a little wacky in the Marin housing market. We’re still seeing multiple offers on some homes, and then there are some listings that are sitting for months. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, one thing that’s pretty glaring is the continued lack of inventory, especially really desirable houses. Looking at the stats for June, the number of residential properties in Marin is the lowest it’s been in any June in at least the last five years. And the months supply of homes based on pending sales is the lowest it’s been in any month since 2007. It’s 45% lower than this time last year, and 17% lower than June 06!

The conventional wisdom says that July and August aren’t the best time to list a home since people are on vacation, but this could be a good time for sellers to throw that thinking out the window and take advantage of the lack of competition.

Things are still moving in Marin

Looking at the Marin County stats across all residential properties and price ranges through last month, pendings (houses going into escrow) ticked back up and inventory remained lower than any May since 2007. With all the doom and gloom in the media lately about the housing market nationwide, I guess we should feel good that Marin is looking like a different story right now.

With relatively low inventory and sales still pretty brisk the months supply is as low as it’s been in quite a while. It was at 3.4 in May, meaning at the current rate of homes going into escrow it would take 3.4 months to exhaust the current supply. That number was 4.9 in May 2010, and 3.1 back at this time in 2006.

As always, if you’d like stats for your particular town or price segment feel free to drop us a line at info@sfnorth.com.

Marin Housing Market Update

Time to look at the stats now that the April data is in. Inventory ticked up from March as expected, but is still substantially lower than it has been in April the last few years. These charts are for all single family homes in Marin County under 2 millon dollars.

Pendings (the number of homes going into escrow) have remained pretty constant from March, but months supply has ticked up a little because of the increased inventory. The market still feels more active than it has in a while, and we’re hearing the same from other agents, though it’s not across the board. Interest level in properties coming on still varies quite a bit depending on the nature of the home, how realistic the price is, and of course the location.

In 2010 we saw a lot of activity in the early part of the year, and then a decline from the beginning of Summer through the holidays. It’ll be interesting to see if this year things stay more consistent and if this feeling that the Marin market is heating up continues. As always feel free to drop us an email at info@sfnorth.com if you’d like stats for your particular area or price range.

The Return of Multiple Offers?

There’s a real feeling of renewed activity in the Marin real estate market so far this year, and we’re seeing more multiple offers than we’ve seen in some time. One Kentfield property listed by an agent in our office received eight offers last week, and that’s not an isolated case. Many homes are getting multiple offers, and others have been selling before most buyers even get a chance to view them, either before actually hitting MLS or before the Sunday open house.

Now this is certainly not what’s happening across the board. There are still plenty of homes sitting on the market, and we’re still seeing price reductions in many cases. But in the more popular areas, homes that have a lot of the features most buyers are looking for–and that are priced correctly–are getting a lot of activity. We’re not back to the way things were at the height of the crazy market in 2005, where even less desirable homes were selling fast and for too much money, but we haven’t felt this level of competition for good homes in years. We’ll have to wait and see how much this is function of the time of year and a low supply, or if it keeps up through the rest of 2011.

Here’s a look at the months of inventory based on pending listings for single family homes under $2 million in Marin, meaning how many months it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market based on the rate at which they’re going into escrow. It was down to 3.3 months supply in March, which was 11.4% lower than the supply one year ago, and 43.3% lower than March 2009. The numbers for April will be out soon and I’m guessing they’ll further reflect the increasing activity and relatively lean supply, but I’ll post some charts when they’re available to give a better picture.

If you’d like market info and stats for your specific area of Marin or price range feel free to email me at gcrowe@sfnorth.com.