With only 452 homes for sale right now, and with 42% of those already in contract, Marin is squarely in Sellers’ Market country. Homes under $750,000 are tough to find, and 56% of them are already in contract. The move up market, $750,000 to $2,000,000, is a little easier with 40% in contract. Over $2MM, only 22% are in contract.

The quarterly sales report from Coldwell Banker shows that Marin’s inventory shortage is actually less serious than some nearby markets.

The Peninsula is crazy, as the author notes, “One Menlo Park home priced at $1,395,000 received 28 offers.” And this: “Entry-level inventory in areas close to downtown Mountain View is almost zero.” Mountain View, by the way, is a town of 78,000 people, nearly twice the size of San Rafael.

And from San Francisco: “The number of available homes is down significantly from this time last year, which was already too low. “With the pressure to find homes there so intense, it isn’t surprising that the overflow spreads northward to Marin. Tech companies are responding to the demand and trying to make it easier for workers to live in Marin. Apple now has four buses a day from Marin to the Cupertino campus, as does Google. Both leave from the Park and Ride at the Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley. According to one of our friends, it makes the commute “totally doable”, as the buses have Wi-Fi, are extremely comfortable, and totally geared for productivity.

We’re not quite sure whether sellers are just getting a slow start this year, or if something fundamental has changed, but the shortage of homes for sale in Marin is hanging on like a stubborn cold. If you are one of those sellers on the fence, this should read as some seriously good news. The law of supply and demand puts you in the driver seat. Prices have rallied to the point where some of us are wondering how long it can last. But as long as tech is booming in San Francisco, we expect the migration to Marin continue, as young families realize the difficulties and expense of raising children in the city.

If you’re a buyer, there are some strategies that can help. Some over priced listings that have been sitting on market may be more than ready to welcome a realistic offer. There are also some things you can do, other than increasing the price, to make your bid look more attractive. We’ll update this market report every couple of weeks now that Spring is coming. Hopefully things will loosen up a bit soon.