Market Report: Coronavirus Slowed Sales In March, But Now Picking Up!

This has been an interesting year – and that may be one of the greatest understatements of all time!

May was a pretty strong month for home sales in Marin. The Shelter in Place for Marin took effect in mid-March, and pretty much shut things down for a month, while everyone figured out what we could and could not do, so March data was negative. Things started to loosen up in April, as the industry figured out how to adapt to all of the new constraints. In May, as everyone adapted, things started to pick up.

In a nutshell, demand has been very good, and inventory has been low, so prices have actually been moving up. Median sale price for May was $1,310,000, vs. $1,275,000 in May 2019. Total units sold YTD is 721, vs. 1060 in 2019. But inventory has also been low: only 1,262 new listings through May, vs. 1,724 last year.

Inventory has been low for two reasons. First, sellers have been wondering whether or not this is a good time to sell a property. As of today, that is a yes! Second, home preparation has been very difficult, practically impossible in March and most of April. Those conditions have been relaxed, workers are allowed to paint and repair homes again, so listings are starting to pick up.

Demand is very strong for several reasons. First, the big buyer push we typically see in March and April as city buyers look to move in time for the school year to start got pushed back. They could not see homes easily until May, and open houses were eliminated altogether. Those buyers are out there now. Second, interest rates continue to be low. Conventional mortgages are going for 3.25 % for a 30 year, and we have seen 10 Year ARMs for 2.875%. Third, we have heard numerous times that lots of city residents who were thinking of moving from SF moved up their timetable, and now want to live in the lower population densities and open spaces of Marin more than ever.

The Bay Area economy continues to be…ok. Not great, but tech still seems to be strong, which drives so much demand for Marin. And California still has a housing shortage in general, so that continues to spur demand as well.