Marin real estate market shakes off coronavirus slump
The median price for detached homes in Marin County, Calif., rose 5.3% in June over the prior year, marking the first solid gain since the coronavirus arrested the market.
The price ($1.45 million) was based on 254 sales last month, exactly even with the sales volume in June 2019. That reversed the steep declines in year-over-year sales volume for May and April.
In the condo and townhome market in Marin, the median price reached $730,000 last month, a gain of 7.5% over the prior June. Sales fell from 57 to 51.
The data are among the latest figures from the Marin County assessor's office. The median price is the point at which half are higher and half lower.
Patti Cohn, a Compass real estate broker based in Marin, said demand is brisk and buyers from San Francisco are "out in droves." Cohn said she has been getting interest on properties even before they are officially listed.
"If anyone thinks there is a housing crisis, think again," she said. "After a slowdown in the traditional spring real estate season, buyers are actively looking for homes to purchase."
At the higher end of the Marin real estate market in June, three homes in Belvedere sold for an average price of $4.42 million, according to the assessor's office. Five homes in Ross sold for an average price of $3.9 million. Nine homes in Tiburon sold for an average price of $3.78 million.
At the lower end, 15 condos or townhomes in Novato sold for an average price of $549,163 last month.
Properties on the market now range from an eight-bedroom home in Ross for $43 million to a mobile home in Novato for $75,000, according to the Zillow real estate service.
Cynthia Murray, executive director of the North Bay Leadership Council, a nonprofit consortium of business and civic interests, said she is not surprised to see a rebound in the real estate market. She cited low mortgage rates, a flow of families from the cities to the suburbs, and the increase in telecommuters who can live farther from company headquarters.
"The demand for housing still greatly exceeds the supply," said Murray, a former Marin County supervisor. "The housing crisis pre-pandemic has gotten worse and now we have a great push to get everyone housed to reduce the spread, which is pushing the demand higher."
Robert Eyler, chief economist for Marin Economic Forum, said market observers offer growth forecasts of about 2.5% to 5% over the next year in Marin.
"So we may see some slow down in price growth if the economy flattens a bit in its attempt to recover, but for right now indicators are showing a good market through 2020," Eyler said.
"The lower interest rates and potentially some workers with portable jobs and wanting out of the cities may be driving behavior here also, and there is a short-term element to that given Marin County pricing," he said. "However, the desire to be close but out of the city may drive demand in Marin County for years to come where that is not new, just moved up a notch with COVID-19."
Statewide, the median price for a detached home reached a record high of $626,170 last month, up 6.5% from May and up 2.5% from the prior June, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday.
In the Bay Area, the median price for a detached home in June was $1 million, up 3.6% from May and 4.2% from June 2019, the association reported.
"Home sales bounced back solidly in June after hitting a record bottom in May, as lockdown restrictions loosened and pent up demand driven by record-low interest rates roared back," said association president Jeanne Radsick, an agent in Bakersfield. "While the momentum is expected to be sustained as we kick off the third quarter, the resurgence in coronavirus cases remains a concern and may hinder the market recovery in the second half of the year."