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Thinking about moving to Marin? 2015 market recap

The Marin County Real Estate Market in 2015

If you’ve been thinking about moving into Marin this year, here is a recap on the performance of the market in 2015. If your following my predictions, you are already aware I believe the Marin & East Bay markets will ease considerably this year. I also think a lot of San Francisco owners will see the opening and make a move by capitalizing on the equity in their homes. If a move is something you’ve been thinking about, lets sit down and review your options.

Despite anxiety about interest rates, stock markets, housing affordability, unending international crises, and over-valued, high-tech unicorns, 2015 was a solid year of appreciation in Marin: The median Marin house price rose 15% from Q1 to Q4 2015. Despite its rising prices, Marin real estate is still, generally speaking, distinctly more affordable than in San Francisco, and that has been bringing new buyers to the county. Of course, there are also many excellent quality-of-life reasons why people want to live here.

Marin Home Values


Chart: Marin Home Prices since 1990

We’ve also recently updated our popular home price maps of Marin, San Francisco and the greater Bay Area: Marin Home Prices by City & Town & Bay Area and SF Price Maps


2015 Real Estate Market Details

The building of the Golden Gate Bridge was the defining moment in Marin County home construction, with the largest proportion of houses being built in the 4 decades following. After the big drought in the late 70’s, and with the coming of the 80’s, slow-growth advocacy grew and construction declined.

Novato and San Rafael are the biggest housing markets in the county, as well as the most affordable – one can see their impact on the “Sales by Price Range” chart earlier in this report. Mill Valley, which is much more expensive, has a moderate sized market, and then the rest of the towns and cities in Marin can best be described as boutique markets, each with its own ambiance, some of them among the most valuable in the country.


Luxury Home Sales

Chart: Marin Luxury Home Sales by City

The increase in the number of high-end home sales slowed in 2015 after the torrid growth of 2013 and 2014. As also seen in other Bay Area counties, the pressure grew more intense in less costly market segments, as buyers searched for homes they could still afford in a rapidly appreciating market.


Marin Market Dynamics Statistics

All 3 of these charts illustrate the big role seasonality plays in the Marin market. Starting in January, and accelerating in February, March and April, new listings typically start pouring onto the market and buyers start jumping back in looking for homes to buy. The spring selling season – which in the Bay Area can start in late February/early March – is usually the busiest of the year.


Interest Rates

After being bludgeoned in 2015 by thousands of articles, predictions and warnings regarding mortgage interest rates, here is a look at how much they actually changed over the course of the year. With the Fed starting to make some moves, presumably mortgage rates will rise in 2016, but expectations have been confounded far too often over the past 6 years to be sure. Significant increases would certainly affect the affordability equation for homebuyers.

Please call or email if you have any questions about this report,
or if I can help you in any other way.


Some 2015 totals are projections based on MLS data available within the month of December. These analyses were performed in good faith with data derived from sources deemed reliable, but they may contain errors and are subject to revision. All numbers should be considered approximate.

© 2015–2016, Paragon Real Estate Group

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