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January 14, 2019

Marin Real Estate Looking Back on 2018

There were almost too many local, national and international political, economic, social and ecological factors impacting the 2018 market to count. In the first half of the year, market conditions were very hot, and there were strong year-over-year appreciation rates. Come summer/early autumn, real estate and financial markets began to shift distinctly cooler. Looking at 2019, there are many wild cards whose impacts are difficult to predict: extremely volatile financial markets, fluctuating interest rates, contentious national politics, international trade issues, spiraling debt levels, employment growth – and a dramatic surge of local high-tech unicorns that plan to go public, which could create a tsunami of new wealth in the Bay Area.

Annual Median Home Price Appreciation

On a year over year basis, the Marin annual median house sales price increased by 7.6% or $95,000, to $1,345,000 in 2018.

Quarterly Home Price Appreciation

The most recent, significant increase in median house sales price occurred in the 2nd quarter of 2018. It then dropped by $100,000 in the second half of the year. However, it is not uncommon for median sales prices to jump in Q2 during the spring selling season, and then drop or plateau in the year’s subsequent quarters. The question is where it will go in the next 2 quarters considering some of the market cooling indicators seen around the Bay Area this past autumn.

Quarterly Year-over-Year Appreciation Rates

The year-over-year appreciation rate in Q4 2017 was a very high 12%. The rate then proceeded to step down quarter by quarter to 3% in Q4 2018. This dynamic of a hot market cooling in the second half of the year was relatively common around the Bay Area.

Market Overviews

Median Home Prices by Bedroom Count

Blank fields indicate that the number of sales was too low to generate a reliable median price.

Selected Market Indicators

Some of the standard market statistics are relatively stable, while others – such as the increasing numbers of price reductions and expired listings – are more indicative of a slowing market. Real estate sales are fiercely seasonal, and midwinter is the slowest time of the year, with by far the lowest number of sales. Our next significant, statistical indications of market direction will probably come in early spring.

Median Sales Price Changes by City & Town

In recent years, all around the Bay Area, median price increases have been most substantial in the more affordable communities within each market. In the most expensive areas, median prices have often plateaued or even ticked down since 2015. But tracking appreciation in the most expensive towns – with relatively few sales and a very wide range of sales prices – is much more challenging than in larger, less expensive markets.