The rally in US Treasuries set a new record this summer with benchmark 10-year yields falling to an all-time low of 1.32%. Since then mortgage interest rates have slowly trended upward in reaction to strong US job gains and news the Fed will raise rates at their next meeting in December.The Fed last raised interest rates one year ago. Though it began the year with the intention of increasing rates several times, it ended up leaving them unchanged.
However, all signs now point to inflation acceleration as the October jobs report showed a 2.8% rise in average hourly earnings which represented the single strongest reading since June 2009. All told the US economy has experienced 80 straight months of job creation – the longest streak of total job growth on record. Home prices in the United States have recovered nearly all their losses from 2006, which represented the all-time national high. Real housing prices (home prices adjusted for inflation) have risen by 25% since 2012 alone. September was surprisingly slow, but October showed a rebounding seasonal uptick. Sales increased from 139 homes to 196, a healthy jump. This absorbed some of the growing inventory. The highest priced sale increased from $5 million to $6.5 million. There were two sales over $5 million, one in Ross and one in Tiburon, both sold by Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty. Both the Median and Average Sale Price increased.
Number of Homes Sold
Inventory levels have been historically low, however, declining sales volume reduces absorption and more homes are available relative to the declining sales volume. While October had nearly the exact number of sales as the previous year, overall the number of sales is declining as we seem to be reaching a new level of price sensitivity by buyers. Comparing this year-to-date, January through October, with the same period in previous years we see declining sales in units: 2014 at 2,040, 2015 at 1,938 and 2016 at 1,671 single family home sales in Marin. This is a drop of 18% in the last two years.
Average Price Sold
While the Average Sale Price is up, the Median Price can provide a clearer view of the changes over time, which is less affected by individual sales at high price points. Comparing the January through October year-to-date with the same period in previous years we see the price appreciation slowing with Marin single family homes as a Median Sale Price of $1,000,500 in 2014, a 10% increase to $1,100,000 in 2015 and an 8% increase to $1,200,000 year to date.
In Contract by Area
Greenbrae sales are the highest relative to the inventory, and in October, every home was in contract. In contrast, no Ross homes were in contract although there were 9 available. The next most active market was Novato (59%), then Larkspur (56%). The number In Contract in San Anselmo and Kentfield increased from last month to 39% and 33%, respectively. Tiburon, Sausalito and Ross saw decreases with Corte Madera exhibiting the greatest decrease, at 33%, down from 62% in September.
Sales by Area and Price Point
San Rafael, Novato and Mill Valley continue to see the highest Number of Homes Sold at 52, 37 and 26, respectively, all of which are above September levels. Average Days On Market ranged from a swift 12 in Stinson Beach, to 211 in Belvedere. The majority of homes available were between $1-2 million. Under $1 million the Months of Inventory is lowest. There were a total of 29 homes available over $5 million; we represented the only two sales in that price point.