Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Prices Up--Way Up!!

Well, I've said it before and with the latest stats on the market, I'll say it again. Prices are UP!! What's more, they're continuing to increase, on average, by double digit percentages compared with a year ago. There are two things driving this current Marin market: lack of inventory and continued low interest rates.
Taking the latter first, while rates have increased from their all-time lows of last summer, they are still staying well below four percent for 30 year fixed rate mortgages. With 30's that low, 15 year money is obviously even cheaper! So buyers are out there, able to get financing that allows them to buy more house than they could at the rate levels of just over a year ago.
More important, the supply, or lack of it, is fueling a surge of buying that is matched only by the intensity of the first half of the last decade. Starting in 2010, the number of homes on the market in Marin County has dropped each successive year. What has made this even more intense is that even though total inventory last year was the lowest it had been in years, statistics for the first three months of this year show an even further reduction in the number of homes available on the market.  They are at less than half of what the total was a year ago!
So what does this mean for you and selling your home? Well, if it's priced properly, regardless of the level you're at, you'll very likely get a lot of attention, probably followed by an offer--or as we're seeing again in increasing numbers of cases, multiple offers.Is this 2005 all over again? Probably not, but the fact is, there are many buyers out there, cash/mortgages in hand and not enough property to go around. It's a great time to be thinking of selling your home!
What's your home worth? Give us a call and we'll provide you with a free valuation, based on the very latest the market has to offer. The numbers are: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091. As you've probably seen for quite some time now, we follow the market very closely, using its latest info for our very popular quarterly newsletter, The Richmond Report. If you haven't got the latest copy, check our website: . You can also receive it by email--just call us and give us your email address.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Marin's Market--FLAMING!!

Well, it isn't exactly 2005 again, and I sincerely hope it doesn't become that. However, the market has, over the past year and change, gotten beyond red hot for sellers! In fact, almost anything in any price point, with the possible exception of the super expensive ($10,000,000 and over--some would say over $5 mill) is, assuming it's priced properly and habitable, disappearing almost as quickly as it hits the market! We are seeing multiple offers again, just as we did before the bubble burst a few years ago. What we don't appear to be seeing from that previous insane market is no-doc loans and securitization of loans that helped drive the run-up which preceded the collapse in 2007.
So, you ask, what is driving this hot market this time around? Well, it is a combination of things--two things, to be more precise. continued near record low interest rates and a severe shortage of inventory to sell at almost all value levels. Now the first you should be aware of because I have been talking and writing about this situation for almost a year now. While rates are not setting new record lows on a weekly basis as they did for a time last year, they still continue at near record lows, with loans available in the three's and low four's for 30 year fixed money, and below 3% for adjustable loans. They have gone up a little bit since last year, but the Fed does seem to be succeeding in its plan to hold rates down through 2014.
However, the other issue--lack of inventory--is what's really driving this market even further upward. Although the trend of fewer listings actually began in a meaningful way in 2010, with March 2010 listings totalling 1244, followed by March 2011's 1082, it really plummeted last year. March of 2012 showed listings down by over 47%, at 573. As bad as that drop was, it continued into the first quarter of this year. Current listings are at 358, a further 37.52% drop from a year ago.
Now, when the economy is doing poorly and fewer folks are financially in a position to buy a house, this may not be such a big thing. But here we have a recovering economy, more people working and, yes, those low interest rates, and relatively speaking, little or no inventory to show them. So, what happens? Just like any other supply and demand situation, prices start to climb!
Now, will this lack of product ease, and, if so, when? I have no definite idea. I am talking with clients about listing their homes, and, have, in fact, added a couple of homes for the market later this spring and summer. Other agents I talk with are making noises about 'maybe' bringing such and such home, or homes, to market "later this year". But no-one seems to say with any conviction that there will be such and such home listed at such and such time, or that the overall supply will turn upward in any meaningful way by a specific date.
So, this brings up the question, if you are trying to decide on selling, "what do I do?" Well, with circumstances as I have noted above, if your house is ready to sell, or can be made ready to go in a short period of time, and if you are willing to live, if it becomes necessary, in a rental for a number of months, then I would strongly recommend that you get the house on the market NOW (or as soon is reasonably practicable).
Not sure of value or what it may need to prepare for market or how to go about readying it? Call us! We've been doing this here in Marin for a long time (collective experience over 40 years), and we know what works! We'd be happy to assist. Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091. Do it now!