The median price of a single-family home in Marin County fell to $1.7 million last month as the market heads for a fall of economic uncertainty.
The number is down from $1.8 million in July and flat from August, according to the latest data from the County Assessor’s Office. Sales fell from 277 in August 2021 to 192 last month, down 44%.
Marin’s median price has risen 42% in just five years, rising from $1.2 million in August 2017. It broke through the $2 million mark in April and May of this year before drifting back down .
Scott Woods, a real estate agent for Compass, said the market is “definitely adjusting.”
Woods represented the seller of a four-bedroom home on Ridge Road in Tiburon that sold for $8.495 million last month. Six months earlier, he said the property had received multiple offers, but instead received three prospects and a single offer. According to real estate data company Zillow, it sold for $8.389 million.
“Sellers, if they’re smart, need to adjust their expectations and prices closer to where they’re going to sell,” said Woods, who has been an agent for 14 years. “The values are still there, but the activity is declining. Things have been sitting in the market for a while.”
Robert Eyler, chief economist at the Marin Economic Forum, said the forecasts point to a slowdown or contraction in the market. He said the recent bout of price increases has been followed by profit-taking by owners, buyer fatigue, rising borrowing costs and the exodus of workers.
“We should expect buyers not to have to jump at everything in the market,” said Eyler, dean at Sonoma State University.
However, he said the nature of Marin’s market is such that new building permits are mostly for apartments, condos and townhouses. He said this will provide some price protection for single-family homes.
“There is no reason to believe that we will see the same or a similar contraction as in 2006-2009,” he said. “We shouldn’t expect a 35% to 40% drop like we saw in the Great Recession.”
At the top end of the Marin market, three single-family homes in Belvedere sold last month for an average price of nearly $3.5 million; three were sold in Sausalito for a median of $3.4 million; and nine were sold in Tiburon for an average value of $3 million, according to the appraiser’s office. The median price in Ross was $3.795 million, but the number is based on a single sale.
Madeline Schaider, the agent who represented the buyer in the Ross deal, said some properties in Marin are unsold and some sellers are cutting prices. However, she noted that inventories remain low.
“There’s still a demand for homes,” said Schaider, who has been a real estate agent for more than 30 years. “However, buyers are definitely taking a break because of interest rates, the stock market and inflation.”
Elsewhere in Marin, average single-family home prices last month included $2.35 million in Mill Valley; Larkspur valued at $2.25 million; $1.925 million in Corte Madera; $1.9 million in unincorporated territories; nearly $1.5 million in San Rafael and Fairfax; $1.35 million in San Anselmo; and nearly $1.2 million in Novato.
In the condo and townhouse market, the median price in Marin last month was $875,000, down slightly from July and up about 9% from August 2021. The county reported 75 townhouse sales last month, up from 86 a year earlier.
According to the California Association of Realtors, the average single-family home price across the state last month was $839,460. That was up 0.7% from July and a 1.4% increase from August 2021. Home sales were up 6.1% from July and down 24.4% from August 2021.
In the Bay Area, the average single-family home price in August was $1.25 million, down 3.8% from July and down 1.2% year over year, the association reported. Sales were up nearly 10% from July and down about 29% from August last year.
“It’s encouraging to see the pace of sales increase to over 300,000 units sold per year in August,” said Jordan Levine, the association’s chief economist. “While we don’t expect a quick recovery as the Fed is expected to hike rates further to bring inflation under control, the monthly spike in completed and pending sales suggests the market may already be pricing in most rate hikes has date.”
The U.S. weekly average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.29% Thursday, according to Freddie Mac, the state-approved mortgage company. A year ago, the average was 2.88%.