The median price was $867,000 last month, down from $900,000 in December but up from $850,000 in January 2005, according to DataQuick Information Systems of La Jolla.This is what I see over at DataQuick for January, 2006 data:
And this from DataQuick for the December, 2005 data:
And let's not forget what West Bay RE said:
The median price of single-family homes in Marin County also took a nose-dive in January, falling 8.6% from December to $877,500, and, gasp, down 5.7% from January 2005. This is the first year-over-year drop since June 2003. Also, it's the first time the median price has been below $900,000 since December 2004.The Marin Assessor's Office has January, 2005's median price at $785,233.
So let's compare all of this:
So there you have it -- Marin's year-over-year real estate median price appreciated either a paltry 0.1% or 2% (either way a loss after taking inflation into account [real or otherwise]) or declined -5.7% depending on whose data you want to use and whether or not you want to throw condos into the mix (the Marin Assessor's figure combines both SFRs and condos and I am guessing that the one for DataQuick also combines the two whereas the IJ and West Bay RE figures are presumably just SFHs). We will have to wait until who-knows-when for the data from the Marin Assessor's Office.
It is interesting that the Marin IJ's figures and those of West Bay RE's, both of which presumably do not include condos, show such disparate results; the IJ's is positive whereas the realtor's is negative and the difference is nearly eight percentage points. I won't speculate on what that might mean.
I will say this however, it sure would be nice if property sales data were made publicly available by a disinterested third party so that these analyses would not only be more straightforward to do, but could be done more easily and by anyone. As it is, the industry covets the data and only shares bits and pieces. The truth is out there and sooner or later we will know what it is.
I hope you found this useful.
Update: It is good to keep this in mind when thinking about where prices are ultimately headed:
"At some point we have to come to grips with the basic affordability question. This is not an affordable market," said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. "I think prices could drop, and once these things start, they have a snowball effect."
Levy, who estimates prices could drop by as much as 20 percent in the next couple of years, said rising interest rates are quashing the segment of buyers who can only get into the market using riskier, adjustable loans, such as interest-only mortgages. Such products are attractive because they usually carry lower initial monthly payments than traditional mortgages. But when principal payments come due, those payments jump -- even more so if interest rates have risen.
"People chose to bet on future appreciation by choosing loans where they knew payments would go up by a lot -- but they got in cheap," Levy said. "There are no cheap loans now."