Novato Real Estate Market Overview, as of August 27, 2008

Changes since July 23rd, 2008 for Novato Real Estate Market – Total inventory dropped by 10 while units for pending sales remains the same at 28%.  The total market at a glance stays at the lower end of being Neutral tilting towards the buyers market (defined as pending sales is less than 25%).

Condos/Townhomes, where we see the biggest drop in prices due to many short sales and foreclosures, edged past neutral market and stays periosly on the sellers market.

Slight drop of 5% in SFDs priced under $500K – some REOs (Real Estate Owned – Bank Owned Properties) or Short Sales are a little rough, requires sweat equity.  As higher quality homes experience price drops and become more affordable, the lowest priced home saw some impact. 

Big swing in the pending is the starter single family homes priced between $500K and $600K, with a drop of 12% on pending sales while the next price range up of $600K to $700K SFDs, has a gain of 10% compare to the July report.  Due to the softening market, nice homes priced over $700Ks dropped below $700K and becomes a great buy.     

Homes priced over $700K stays within +/- 5% variance from a month ago, other than $1.25M to $1.5M which saw a 9% increase – for units out of 23 units went into escrow.  A small change in a small sample makes relatively large statement expressed in percentage.   

Give me a call at (415) 717-0293 or email me at if you for details, inventory on the market and what’s the best house / investment property for you! 

It will be a pleasure to serve you!  

Give me a call (415) 717-0293 or email me  at for details, inventory on the market and what’s the best house / investment property for you!  It will be a pleasure to serve you!  

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin, Sonoma Realtor



Total Units/ In Escrow


% Active


% Pending

% +/- since July 23, 08

All SFD’s and CID’s






28% (N)








22% (B)








44% (S)


$0 -$500K SFD






36% (N)








15% (B)


$600,001 – $700K






44% (S)


$700,001 – $800K






18% (B)


$800,001 – $999,999






19% (B)


$1M – $1.25M






14% (B)


$1.25M – $1.5M






17% (B)








3% (B)


  • Buyer’s Market  < 25%
  • Neutral                25% – 40%
  • Seller’s Market   > 40%

Is Your Marin County Home Wildfire Ready?


During the high Fire season, it is nice to see the article from S.F. Chronicle highlighing what builders in he Oakland Hills did while rebuilding homes after the 1991 Oakland Fire.  The Oakland Fire “ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres (6.2 km²) destroyed included 2,843 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion.”

Along with the article, S.F. Chronicle included a partial list of checklist developed by (of all the places) Travis County, Texas about what how to prepare for a fire: 

I am following suit and quoting below:

Wildfire Preparedness Check List

The more “yes” answers you have, the more prepared you are in the event of a wildfire threat.

The House

  • Fire-resistant roof i.e. metal, tile, composition?
  • Non-flammable siding materials?
  • Home is located down-slope?
  • Wooden deck facing or overhanging level ground?
  • Large glass windows, facing level ground?
  • Deck, porch, vents or house screened to keep sparks out?
  • Chimney extending above the roofline?
  • Chimney spark arrester in place?
  • Roof and gutters clean of debris?

Around the House

  • A fire defensible space (D-space) zone of 30 – 100 ft?
  • Adequate clearance of weeds, tall grasses and brush?
  • Leaves raked?
  • Trees pruned 10 ft up from base of trunk?
  • Debris cleared from beneath trees and near structures?
  • Tree limbs pruned at least 10 ft from roof or within 15 ft laterally from chimney?
  • House location or address clearly marked (3 inch letters)?
  • Small amounts of mulch used near wooden structures?
  • Firewood and other burnable items stored at least 30 ft from the house?


  • Easy access to home by emergency vehicles?
  • Road grade less than 15% (not steep)?
  • Road wide and accommodating to two-way traffic?
  • Road straight with wide turns?
  • Large areas for vehicles to turn around?
  • Short driveway from main road?
  • Home area level and easily plowed or raked for fire line?
  • Multiple roads into and out of developed area for safe and easy access and evacuation?

Water Supply

  • Pressurized hydrants available?
  • Non-pressurized or dry hydrants available?
  • Water sources such as ponds or streams accessible?
  • Power lines buried and not susceptible to fire?
  • Well pumps maintained with uninterrupted electricity?

Ten Quick and Easy Steps to Prepare for a Wildfire

1. Cut grass and weeds, rake leaves and pine needles and remove yard debris and branches.

2. Relocate woodpile and left over building materials at least 30’ from house.
NOTE: It is best to not locate the woodpile directly uphill or downhill of any structure.

3. Signs, address and access are well marked, and visible both night and day. Reflective numbering/lettering that is 3” or larger is recommended.

4. Prune dead and low-hanging tree limbs 6 to 10 feet from the ground around house. Remove all dead vegetation in brush and shrubbery.

5. Store all gas, oil and other chemicals away from the house. This includes propane tanks on BBQ pits.

6. Keep roof and gutters free from leaves and needles.

7. Enclose spaces under porches, decks, foundations and overhangs, and roof/attic vent openings with 1/8” metal screening.

8. Have garden hoses connected on all sides of your house.

9. Place tools (such as ladders, shovels, rakes and hoes) for easy access to fire fighters.

10. Check driveway for adequate clearance for emergency vehicles. (Both height and width).

Marin Real Estate Home Sales 2008 Mid Year Report

p align=”left”>My clients or many Realtors on the National Forum have been asking me about how the market is in general and in Marin county.

My answer is always – Real Estate is LOCAL

No matter how much the media dramatizes the market condition, Marin County House Prices still hold steady. This is especially true for great houses in desirable locations in Southern Marin (such as Belvedere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Ross, San Anselmo, Sausalito and Tiburon), or for that matter, all of Marin.

One of the recent news (will follow up with another blog) is the fact that Marin Land Trust just purchased right to another agricultural zoned land at a prime location so that the owners can stay at the property but any future use, including sale of the land will have a restriction of keeping the land for agricultural purposes.

This helps keeping the Marin developable land to a minimum, future housing supply lower, and the Marin environment healthy and green as our pride and joy.