Marin & California Housing Market Forecast

2011 Housing Forecast *Mildly* Optimistic

The California Association of REALTORS® released its housing forecast for 2011 earlier this week. As we expected, predictions show very mild improvement overall.

“A lean supply of available homes for sale will drive prices up at the low end, but larger inventories and limited, less attractive financing will cause continued softness at the high end. There’s some indication that lenders will accelerate the number of foreclosures coming on market, further adding to the housing supply, but we do not anticipate that lenders will flood the market with distressed properties,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR’s Chief Economist.

We anticipate that recovery to be very location and price specific in Marin. In September 2010, the number of Marin homes on the market was up 16.6% over September 2009, while sales were down 11.6%. Sales were down almost 15% from the same time period two years ago.

All County Marin County Sales

As we drill down into price ranges you can see the numbers shift pretty dramatically, as we look at homes sold under one million dollars versus above one million.

Marin County Home Sales Under One Million

Marin County Home Sales Over One Million

We don’t expect to see a major shift in these trends as we head into 2011. Homes under one million continue to move as buyers move in to the county, taking advantage of low interest rates. Many homeowners who would traditionally move up to larger houses are staying put. We are starting to see more pre-foreclosures in the upper end, and expect more in 2011. CAR’s predictions are in line with what we expect–sluggish prices and more options in the upper end with continued movement in the lower price ranges.

What does this mean for home sellers? Well, that depends! We hate to say that, but it really does depend on your area, home condition, and how you price it.  We are still seeing the occasional multiple offer situation. Home buyers are picky and expect homes to be in prime condition unless they are a foreclosure situation. Proper preparation and pricing are crucial.

What does this mean for home buyers? Historically low interest rates and low home prices can make it a great time to buy for people with the means to do so, especially those buying for the long term. And for the first time in many years we’re seeing some possible “deals” where numbers actually make sense for investors to buy in Marin.

Considering making a move? Contact us to discuss the best options for you.