Saturday, September 15, 2007

Precipitous Drop in Marin Sales; Tightening Lending Standards Just Starting to Bite

Yawn. The IJ is reporting on old news, stuff we figured out long ago.
Marin's median home price hit the $1 million mark again last month [August, 2007], but sales of homes slid more than 32 percent compared with this time last year... homes priced under $1 million were off by 39.8 percent between 2006 and 2007... in Novato, single-family homes sales were half of what they were a year ago...a 23 percent drop-off in Mill Valley...In Tiburon and Belvedere, sales remained flat. Regionally, Bay Area homes sold at the slowest pace in 15 years last month.

The rise in the median... combined with the decline in volume signals a stable luxury market making up for the lagging low end that has been most affected by the mortgage meltdown...

"Until the first-time home buyer can get back in the market in a strong way I think we'll see these trends for a while," said Valerie Castellana, president of the Marin Association of Realtors.

Yet to fully play out is the impact tighter lending practices, including restrictions this summer on jumbo loans over $417,000, have had on markets such as Marin, DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said. In Marin, 76.9 percent of borrowers took out jumbo loans in August.

Realtor Kira Swaim, co-owner of San Rafael-based Tam Realty, said continued real estate jitters make it a great time to buy.
In summary, reporting of the county median is a joke because of the luxury market which is still able to prop up the county stats; but the rest of the market, the one that the majority of people here care about, is tanking. Furthermore, as explained before, the bubble is collapsing inward, towards our regional employment center. So we currently see the most distress in north Marin and the least distress in south Marin. Lastly, realtors continue to claim that no matter what the market conditions, it's always a good time to buy and pay them a commission (does anyone even take their self-serving talk seriously anymore?). Nothing new to anyone here on this blog. Enjoy the show.

10 Comments:

Blogger realtornow! said...

I agree with what you've written in this post. However, I'd like to make one point. The headline proclaimed on page one that sales dived. They didn't pull the usual stunt of highlighting the median price increase.

Last year, even though sales were down year over year, the headlines would only talk about prices.

So, there is progress. I'm not defending the IJ. I'm just pointing out that even the IJ cannot ignore that sales are tanking and that the median is skewed by the bottom falling out in the lower end.

Yes, everyone on this blog already knew this, and the IJ is finally recognizing a bit of reality all too late. But that headline was a change for the better.

Sep 15, 2007, 4:25:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

So, there is progress. I'm not defending the IJ. I'm just pointing out that even the IJ cannot ignore that sales are tanking and that the median is skewed by the bottom falling out in the lower end.

Point granted.

But after the games the IJ played, the character assasination they attempted against me and their attempted invasion of my privacy, the general derision against all bubble bloggers,... I think they have to demonstrate a long term, permanent change in behavior before they get any sympathy from me. One or two semi-even-handed articles is a very long way the mark.

You can read the rebuttal letter I and a reader and frequent contributor co-wrote back in December of 2005 after the dust-up with the IJ:

http://tinyurl.com/ypx4xw

Sep 15, 2007, 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

So the "low end" is evaporating...is the article referring to $550K crap condos in Fairfax or an $800K starter cottage in San Anselmo? That "low end?" LOL.

There's no way most 1st time buyers a) will qualify for these prices anymore or b) will want to pay them now that places aren't appreciating and the ATM spiggot is shut off. Why bother??!!

BTW, our beloved Marin Heat Index was 0.35 yesterday.

Sep 15, 2007, 5:40:00 PM  
Blogger realtornow! said...

Marinite,

I'm with you. I don't trust the IJ on this issue, much less grant them sympathy.

That little episode you went through in 2005 with the IJ . . . well, I wouldn't have wanted to be in your shoes. So, I understand and agree with your position.

Sep 15, 2007, 5:45:00 PM  
Blogger Holland said...

And Marin Heat Index is 0.34 today.

Sep 15, 2007, 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

So the "low end" is evaporating...is the article referring to $550K crap condos in Fairfax or an $800K starter cottage in San Anselmo? That "low end?" LOL.

That would be the "LOL end" silly.

Sep 15, 2007, 6:53:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Marin Heat Index is 0.34 today.

I believe that is a new all-time low, 0.35 being the last one.

Sep 15, 2007, 6:55:00 PM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

Ok, I'll give the IJ some credit for admitting to market weakness, but they still manage to let those realtors spout their inane, unchallenged "expert" conclusions:

"continued real estate jitters make it a great time to buy"

Huh? What, why, how exactly is this a "great time to buy"? Well, with a MHI of 0,34 there must be some skepticism.

So I ask--shouldn't any decent reporter bother to require some actual data behind these glib remarks? If I still take issue with the IJ, it's with their journalistic laziness.

Sep 16, 2007, 1:56:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Marin Explorer... my thoughts exactly on the "continued real estate jitters makes it a great time to buy" mumbo jumbo.. nice try sugar.. I don’t think so..

The only thing, and I mean only thing, that will make it a great time to buy a home is after prices return to normal... One should ask the author of that lame comment if it's a great time to buy, say, a car or a boat when prices are 30-50% too high if the dealer is willing to throw in free tire rotations or tune ups for a year or so.... NOT !!

Was out and about today and noted a large number of for sale signs at most major street corners in Novato and San Rafael. As I passed all these signs (with almost no traffic at any of the homes that I saw), it was like I was a trophy bass in a lake during a bass tourney with all these deadly lures lurking around trying to tempt me to bite..

Home buyers will experience similar fate as the wayward trophy bass who succumb to these temptations.. no doubt about it..

Take out the distressed sales and I bet the Marin Heat Index would be in the twenties or teens….

Sep 16, 2007, 4:41:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Was out and about today and noted a large number of for sale signs at most major street corners in Novato and San Rafael.

Did you see Sir Francis Drake Blvd today?! OMG! Talk about a lot of for sale signs. I wish I had my camera.

Sep 16, 2007, 9:53:00 PM  

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