Sunday, December 03, 2006

Buyer Beware in Sausalito

I was poking around the listings today as I am known to do and I found this beaut. I'm frankly not sure if this house belongs on the Marin POS blog or here.

But anyway, this Sausalito house (pictured below on the left, but both appear to be for sale) comes in at 2 br 1 ba, built 1907, last updated in 1927 (according to, 1028 sq ft, and has been on the market for a whopping 648 days.

The sellers are asking an even $1,000,000 for it; there have been no price reductions in the last 648 days as far as I can tell. reports its "zestimate" at $762,743. So no wonder it hasn't sold: at $973/ft^2 it's grossly over priced.

The owner purchased the house in 1972 and owns it free and clear and is using it as a rental (thanks to a reader for that bit of info). So they can afford to wait for their wishing price (they've waited nearly two years so what's another two?). But then again, they can also afford to cut its price by quite a lot. Any buyer worth their salt should come to the bargaining table armed with this info.

In addition to the price range given for this shack, what I like about the following picture (from Zillow's web site) is the market value graph for the last year. These days you see this pattern for a lot of houses in Marin -- declining values from some peak to the present (and is it just me or does that graph's profile have an uncanny resemblance to Mt. Tam?). According to Zillow this house has lost 16.5% of its value since its peak value. This graph makes it pretty clear what the sellers are trying to do -- sell it for what it would have sold for at the market peak.

Here is the same graph as above except for the last five years. You can see that it has had a pretty flat year from mid-2005 to the present which forms an overall peak and the market is now sliding from that peak.


Blogger Lisa said...

I'm in San Anselmo, and a little 2 bedroom / 1 bath renovated "charmer" has been on the market for at least 2 months at $825K. No price drops. Many open houses.

At the height of the insanity (summer 2005), there were two similar cottages within a block of that house that sold for $869K and $899K.

Can you say 10% haircut for those folks in a year and a half??!! Do they seriously think they'll ever see that money again??

Dec 4, 2006, 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger AnalysisGuy said...

Today's report on Boston has been released on both my blog and our new website. History has shown us that Boston is a great indicator of what will happen here in California.
Daily Home Price Analysis

Dec 4, 2006, 1:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure - bay area prices will drop up to 50% - come on!

Dec 4, 2006, 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

Oh sure - bay area prices will drop up to 50%

Does anyone recall what home "values" were 5 short years ago--or even before the tech boom?

As an example, my neighborhood in '01 was 40% of recent peak prices. That's just one example of how out of control things have become. Without getting specific, let's just see how the market reacts in the next few years.

Dec 4, 2006, 6:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does anyone recall what home "values" were 5 short years ago--or even before the tech boom?"

San Fran is my benchmark, since it's where I've lived since moving to CA. I know someone who bought a 2/2 SFH in Noe on a huge (6000+ sq ft) lot in late '99 for $600,000. Zillow's estimate for that house today, exactly 7 years later, is $1.33 million.

I know I've seen it posted before, but can someone remind me what "normal" percentage of appreciation of real estate should be per year?

Dec 5, 2006, 1:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't a case study in the sort of investor you'd like to see more of? Supposedly bought the place over 30 years ago and paid it off, good for them.

Dec 5, 2006, 7:33:00 AM  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

I am pretty sure that the cost of housing, over large periods of time, is tied to inflation.

In other words, a house is a house, though the gadgets inside are neater.

Dec 5, 2006, 6:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

over a LONG period a well built home ina good location will appreciate at 1% more than inflation.BTW there are a lot of indications that the easy money will be gone in a few months.todays front page article in the WSJ is well behind the times,and while it only discusses subprime and stated loans,this is the same group of hedge funds and investors that fund Jumbo loans,it will get real interesting,fast if they turn off the $ tap,and the only source for mortgage $ in california becomes fannie and freddie.i will be very surprised if the haircut is less than 50% in most of california,in inflation adjusted dollars.

Dec 5, 2006, 7:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, the slump is over!
Check it out.

Dec 5, 2006, 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, the slump is over!
Check it out.

Dec 5, 2006, 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care if that house drops to 150k. Its ugly, has a tiny yard, and is up on a hill. Nobody should be knocking on their door period because even knocking the price in half would still be overpriced.
I've personally had it with Bay Area RE, so if people want to continue spending zillions of dollars on overpriced houses... let em'. keeps them out of the rest of the country.

Dec 7, 2006, 8:23:00 AM  
Blogger Dowell Family Team said...

We really feel sorry for these sellers. Our 6,000 square feet homes are taking 150 days to sell at $600,000. I sold a newer 3200 SF 2 story on a 1/2 lot with a finished basement for $180,000. Do you think it would be worth moving some of these homes there to sell? If so, I'll start recommending to some sellers.

Dec 10, 2006, 3:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dowell,
Thanks for the reality check.
I love your state, but I need my ocean and mountains too.
If I can't make a go here, I'll give you a call.

Dec 11, 2006, 1:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh... houses in Kansas for ONLY 180k... wow. Not bad unless you consider the majority of your state's economy still relies on agriculture and service industries. 180k in Kansas might as well be 700k here. Same lame-ass bubble... different areas. As for me? I'd much rather move to Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh... some other city that has a real economy and cheap home prices to boot, and many way below 180k.

Dec 11, 2006, 1:43:00 PM  

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