National existing-home sales remained low in March after tumbling in February due to historically low supply levels and steadfast price growth in several sections of the country. The volatility of the stock market has a disproportional impact on high net worth individuals who have increased exposure in the market as the income bracket increases. This has had a cooling effect on luxury sales on a national basis. There are some exceptions; Sotheby’s International Realty represented the largest US Ranch sale, the W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas, which was listed for $725 million, and closed in March setting a brand record.
In Marin County, the inventory of homes for sale in March increased from 215 to 281, still remarkably low at 72% less than the inventory level in 2007 at the Peak. The added inventory was welcomed by frustrated buyers and supported the increase in sales and properties in contract for the month.
Home Sales in Marin by Area
March marked an increase in the number of homes sold in Marin County, 126, from 93 in February. Novato and San Rafael continued to see the highest number of homes sold at 35 and 36, respectively. The most affluent communities of Ross and Belvedere, had the fewest sales after West Marin, which had no sales in March.
Homes in Contract
Larkspur and Corte Madera led Marin County in March for the highest percentage of homes in contract at 67% and 65%. Fairfax, at 60%, saw the highest increase in homes under contract from the February level, at 20% percent. San Anselmo and Belvedere also had strong month-on-month increases. Greenbrae had half the number of homes in contract, 20% percent, compared to February’s 40% percent. Sausalito and Tiburon also saw slight percentage increases, a healthy market indicator given the higher price-points in those markets.
Average Sale Price
In contrast to Marin County averages in February where listing prices decreased and sale prices increased, March saw a subtle decrease in average sale price and a small reduction in the average listing price. This leveling effect with only a small seasonal increase, may suggest that the market may have peaked and is softening.
Home Sales and Market Activity by Price
Homes priced from $1 to $2 million remain the most active market in Marin County with 59 sales in March. Homes under $1 million followed closely with 46 sales. There was an increase of active homes priced between $2 – $3 million, and $3 – $4 million, at 51 and 26 percent, respectively. Active homes priced from $5 – $7 million doubled from February levels.
Number for Sale and Sold
Marin’s low inventory saw a healthy increase in March as we enter listing season, up 25 percent from February, though levels are 22 percent below the same month last year. The number of homes sold in March increased from February yet remain well below the number sold during the same month last year. Home sales in March represent less than half the month’s Active inventory level.