Marin County home prices continued their steady rise amid longer-term uncertainty in the market due to rising interest rates.
The median price for a detached residence in Marin was $1.76 million in March, a year-over-year increase of nearly 9%, according to the latest data from the Office of the Appraiser-Recorder. The price nearly matched the recent high of $1.8 million in July after rebounding from $1.44 million in January.
The most expensive markets last month were Belvedere, where three homes sold for a median price of $4.15 million, and Tiburon, where 14 homes sold for a median price of $3.3 million. The county saw no sales last month in Ross, which typically has the highest median prices in the county.
The number of single-detached home sales in Marin fell 16% on the year, from 256 in March 2021 to 214 last month.
The March data follows a February when 143 single-detached homes in Marin sold for a median price of about $1.7 million. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
In the Marin condo and townhouse market, 79 homes sold last month at a median price of $810,000. That compared to 76 townhouses at a median of $737,500 the previous year.
A deal close to the March median price was 217 Bungalow Ave. in San Rafael, a three-bedroom, three-bathroom hillside residence south of downtown. Sellers’ agent Cecile Hawkins said the winning bid of $1.75 million was $375,000 higher than the list price.
Hawkins, who is based in Marin, said the property market is buoyant but “evolving” due to rising interest rates and a potential recession on the horizon.
“When a client asks you what you think of the state of the market, you can only go back a month. It really changes so quickly,” said Hawkins, an agent of 30 years. really what the buyer is going to do.”
Whitney Blickman, agent at Own Marin, represented the buyers of the Bungalow Avenue residence. She said the market is “intense” and most customers are bidding on seven or eight homes before winning.
“It’s tough on buyers,” said Blickman, a Kentfield resident. “I think it will stay like this until the end of the year, that’s for sure. But as we all know, the world does crazy things and we never know what’s going to happen next.
Jodi Fischer, mortgage adviser at All California Mortgage in Novato, said rising rates were starting to crowd out first-time buyers from the market, which should eventually cool prices.
“I think prices are unsustainable at the level they are at,” Fischer said. “Having said that, I still have people who face multiple offers and pay 15% to 20% more and still get beaten up.”
“I don’t think it will become a buyer’s market anytime soon, but I think it will be more balanced,” she said. “Unless people keep paying cash.”
Statewide, the median price of a single-detached home hit a record high of $849,080 in March, an 11.9% year-over-year increase, according to the California Association of Realtors. The price was also 10.1% higher than February.
In the Bay Area, the regional median price for a single-detached home was $1.44 million last month, a 17.9% year-over-year increase, the association reported.
“With the Federal Reserve set to announce two consecutive half-point interest rate hikes in May and June to fight inflation, interest rates will be high for the foreseeable future, which will negatively affect demand for housing and will reduce housing affordability in the months to come,” said Jordan Levine, vice president and chief economist of the association.
“The effects may not be visible until the second half of the year, as many of the homes that are closing or will close were traded before the big rate hike,” Levine said.
The U.S. weekly average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was 5.1% on Thursday, according to Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage company. The average rate was 2.98% a year ago.