Marin County Real Estate 2008 Year End Results vs. 2005, 2006, and 2007, Straignt from MLS

The Bay Areas Real Estate Information Systems (BAREIS) Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for Marin County, CA, just released 2008 Year-End Statistics with comparison to those of 2005, 2006 and 2007

A Reminder and/or Refresher – 2005 and 2006 were full blown Sellers Market in Marin County where houses wentin a blink of eye and multiple offers abound, while 2007 saw the tail end of the frenzy sellers market, and the start of slight downturn. 

By 2008, everything changed.  2008 was a very difficult year for sellers – starting with the bubble deflating, and lending industry collasping where there was virtually no money to lend for a while and interest rate, oil price increased in response, stock market crashing, etc, etc……. 

We started to see Distressed Homes for Sale – starting with Loan Modification, Short Sales with Notice of Default filed, Notice of Trustee Sale sent and finally, Foreclosures (Bank Owned, REO)  These events all push prices down and making buyers wait – for the lowest (bottom) of the market- BTW, is there such a thing call the Bottom of the Market while you are in the thick of it?  (Good thing is things started to stabilized some)

So, with that introduction..  here are the charts released by BAREIS MLS just today (01/30/09).

Marin County 2008 Year-End

In Comparison to 2007, 2006, and 2005

The numbers provided are based on the number of Single Family Residential, Condo/Co-Op, Farms and Ranches sold in Marin County, CA (BAREIS)

marunits3NUMBER OF HOME UNITS SOLD in MARIN COUNTY  – number of homes sold saw a stead decline from 2005 to 2008. 

3407 in 2005 

2844 in 2006     83.5% of 2005

2507 in 2007     88.2% of 2006

2081 in 2008     83% of 2007

2008 figures is 61.1% of 2005 – Sales volume is definely down

maraveragesellingprice3AVERAGE SELLING PRICE for MARIN COUNTY HOMES (Average Selling Price means adding up all Marin Real Estate sales and divide that by number of units for that year) At the end of 2008, we are back to 2005 figure

$1,078,819 in 2005 

$1,091,526 in 2006  101.18% of 2005

$1,223,678 in 2007  112.11% of 2006

$1,075,,500 in 2008 87.89% of 2007

2008 figure is 99.69% of 2005 – back to 2005 level 


marmediansellingprice2MEDIAN PRICE FOR ALL HOMES SOLD IN MARIN COUNTY (Median Price is the middle price for all Marin Homes Sales)

$850,000 in 2005

$864,500 in 2006  101.71% of 2005

$900,000 in 2007  104.11% of 2006

$790,000 in 2008  87.78% of 2007

Median Price stayed stable over thru 2007, with a big dip in 2008 – many homes sold are Short Sales, REOs (Bank Owned/Foreclosures).

2008 is 92.94% of 2005 – not that bad! 



Number of Days on Market saw steady climb.    

47 in 2005

67 in 2006    142.55% over 2005

73 in 2007    108.96% over 2006

83 IN 2008   1.137% over 2007

2008 is 176.60% (Almost 3/4 additional) DOM compare to 2005  



“Yes, We Can” “Make it Right (ECO, Green)” for Marin County Flood Zone

I was asked by the Active Rain (Real Estate Blog Site) ECO-All-Star Group Leader to enter into the group’s January Challenge.   The goal of the contest is trying to determine how the ECO Green Design from actor Bad Pitt’s “Make It Right” foundation will benefit local homeowners.  

The entry did get the First Place in the very tight contest and was the Featured Blog for both the group and ActiveRain community 🙂


465px-hurricane_katrina_august_28_2005_nasaNEW ORLEANS, LA

  1. It is now 3 and 1/2 years since Katrina’s 2nd landfall on August 29th, 2005 in Southeast Louisiana.  With the unprecedented economic downturn and the excitement of a new President and the New HOPE promised by President Obama, Katrina seems to be a distant past, a fading memory, something to be put on the back burner and forgotten.

Why should it still matter? – New Orleans had come back to life, Mardi Gras celebration goes on … But how can we forget the devastation and extreme destruction since Katrina slammed into New Orleans and the continued struggle200px-nola9thfloodedbetsy 9th Ward people have while hoping to rebuild their homes and start a new life? 

250px-hurricane_katrina_medical_evacueesBy August 31, 2005, eight percent of New Orleans was flooded; with some parts under 15 feet of water, thousands of buildings destroyed and the official death toll, according to the Louisiana Department of Health, was 1,464.   

Seeing the great loss, actor Brad Pitt formed the “Make It Right”foundation a year ago and presented lot owners in Lower 9th Ward with designs by 13 architects; basically allowing the homeowners to pick a design for their homes to be rebuilt by the foundation.

make-it-right-pic-2December 11, 2008, the “Make It Right” Foundation celebrates the completion of first six homes. These are not only a fresh start for homeowners but also become blueprints for LEED Platinum Certified, affordable, storm-resistant, and Green/ECO sustainable housing designs. 

The homes are built with sustainable wood cabinetry, non-toxic paints, and Energy Star appliances; as well as Green features that take these houses to the next level include insulation that makes them five times more air-tight than typical homes, photovoltaic systems, and groundwater heat pumps for both heating and cooling.  Looking ahead, separate plumbing lines were installed so owners can utilize their rain harvest systems if a current s law banning rainwater for toilet use is repealed.

Heavily subsidized by Pitt’s foundation, the per-house budget of $150,000 is possible because of donated materials and services, including the architects’ designs.  The costs are expected to drop as more houses are built. The goal is to build 150 homes; Pitt’s foundation has raised money for 87 of them.

An additional $9,450,000 is needed to complete the remaining 63 homes at $150,000 each.  A speckle of dust comparing this to national debt; but a healthy chunk of money when money is scarce (unless you are Treasury with a printing press, of course)begreenfeelgolden1


Back to my hometown, the Marin County – As Marin county residents (or California, in that respect), by the Very Nature of choosing to be part of Marin County, we are proud of being ECO, being GREEN, being environmental friendly and being Sustainable.  We want to be in the forefront of going Green and being Green! (see logo from San Marin High School for their Green Week event)

Marin has seen a few successful Green Projects. Boasting Cleanest Air in the Country, Novato (San Rafael 2nd, and Salinas placed 15th in Clean Air category) in Marin County, CA has three of the following four Green Projects (there are many more) –

phpthumb1) Dominican Convent in San Rafael received a Gold Certificate from the U.S. Building Council for the sustainable building (convent). The 6,200-square-foot, two-story shingle-and-stucco convent, built with strong lines and a vibrant brick-red exterior, takes full advantage of the latest pro-environment technology. It has rooftop photovoltaic panels, solar-powered attic fans and toxic-free insulation of reclaimed materials, . With programmable gas heaters in each room, the interior remains at a uniformly comfortable temperature, even with a floor made entirely from a mix of concrete and recycled fly ash.  Traffic flows were studied, Recycled furnishings were used, History was preserved.  

Dominican convent is the only environmentally certified convent in the world, right here in Marin.  

2) 10-4-07004Virginia Grove In Novato, Marin is the First None Public Funded Affordable Green Homes in Marin county and the Winner of the 2007 Award of Excellence for Smart Growth & Workforce Housing,138 points on the Build-It-Green scale, the highest ever in Novato.  This project combines attractive architecture, Green Development Practices and lower income affordable housing in a single-family environment.   Heralded by ABAG as “a model for regional planning”, the project includes bioswales, Grass-pave, ground-water recharge, a major tree-transplanting program, passive solar heating and cooling, pre-wiring for solar photovoltaic panels, sustainable, recycled and reclaimed materials on an infill property.  

chi_fp_oliveridge_sm_13) Olive Ridge, again in Novato, CA, on the other hand, is a Luxury Green Home development consists of 19 homes on large lots surrounded by 20 acres of open spaces.  

The homes meet the new Residential Green Building Ordinances for all single family homes and major remodels by City of Novato.  The ordinances addresses Green Issues such as using Natural Resources, conserve Water And Energy and improve Indoor Quality; use energy-efficient materials and techniques such as photovoltaic, solar panels.

20080613__firemans1_gallery 3). Commons at Mt. Burdell– A redevelopment of the current Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company’s property in North Novato (the north most part of Marin County) brings the first LEED Platinum certified project to Marin County.   Numerous neighborhood meetings and city planning meetings were held for neighbor and city input on the project. 

The project considers and implements plans for renewable energy, conserve and recycle water, noise reduction, indoor air quality, reuse, recycle, education, public transportation, and plans to achieve carbon-neutrality within 10 years.  A music will also be built for educational purposes.       


Those are  examples of the existing and in planning Green Buildings in Marin County


Looking at the designs for the 9th Ward and considering the challenges some the Marin county residents have, the “Make It Right” foundation’s design can benefit many of Marin Residents, especially for the ones who live in one of the 10 flood Zones in Marin County (o.k. don’t know what happened to Zone 2)novato-flood

The flooding happens every few years and can be devastating to local residents and businesses (see picture on the right for Novato Flood in the ’80s). 

Not only it is disruptive to lives and businesses, being in the flood zone also requires flood insurance for homeowners and has an adverse effect on the desirability of the homes and housing prices in the area. 

  • Flood Zone 1 – Novato Area, 
  • Flood Zone 3 – Mill Valley Area,   
  • Flood Zone 4 – Bel Aire Area   
  • Flood Zone 5 – Stinson Beach 
  • Flood Zone 6 – San Rafael Meadows  
  • Flood Zone 7 – Santa Venetia
  • Flood Zone 9 – Ross Valley (Corte Madera Creek)
  • Flood Zone 10 Inverness

Some of the features for the “Make It Right” homes will probably even benefit earthquake prone California – the stilts have to be able to withheld the surge of flood water, which shall be able to absorb some of the effects from an earthquake.

As we have learned from various sources, designing Green Buildings and acquire Green Material add a premium to the building of those homes, especially the LEED Certification, which can prove to be cost prohibitive to embark on related projects.  


The idea of sharing the ‘Make It Right’ plan provides “a sense of working together to change the world”.  Being able to share the plan from 9th ward, one of the most economically challenged areas in the country with other areas in the U.S. provides both a symbolic and real meaning of working together and sharing; something to be encouraged and proud of! 

And remember, one of the most important features of Green/Sustainable are to RECYCLE, REUSE and to CONSERVE, same thing goes to building plans.

d_bnim_012Although some of the designs are hard to picture in Marin, but a few will fit right in (see the one on the left)!   

Now comes the difficult part –

moneysign3How Do We Fund all These – not talking about Marin projects, but the remaining Lower 9th Ward homes?

Well, last I checked…  there are currently 1,197,529 Realtors  registered with National Association of Realtors, 

As Realtors, we care about our neighbors, our fellow citizens and our country.  in short, WE CARE!  

The participation by All Realtors at a time of housing crisis to help complete the Lower 9th Ward project will definitely go a long way to show the nation that Realtors DO Care, which is something Money Can NOt Buy!   

hopeWith each Realtor donating $8.00;  we can raise more than enough for the 63 remaining homes.  The remainders can be used to improve the Lower 9th Ward! 

What better time to help with the Optimism of “HOPE” and “Change Is Coming” slogans and what a great time to cultivate Goodwill among All.  

To jump Start, Yes, Mr. Brad Pitt might just want to be the Goodwill Ambassador for NAR as his presence will certainly rally the participation and help all to accomplish this noble goal! 


Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services

How does Marin REO, Bank Owned, Short Sale Affect Marin Housing Prices?

14defaults_mdHow do Foreclosures, REOs (Bank Owned), Short Sales affect the Marin Housing Market? A question often discussed on the national, regional and local newspaper, but none can be better answered by your local Realtor.

Being a Marin Realtor active on many major online forums, I have been chatting online on and off with a future Marin (I think, or at least I hope, she is finally favoring Marin county after a year’s research) buyer for the past year.

marincountyreoShe has been on the fence to buy properties in Marin for just as long; mostly because she misses SoCal with warmer beaches, for personal reasons and, I think, having difficulty adjusting to the higher housing price in the Bay Area; especially Marin – Wanting an excellent location, great house, wonderful schools, but the higher price makes her think twice, …., and changes are always hard!

So, a year later, she posted a question about Marin Housing Market… she wonders if the future of foreclosures and REOs (Bank Owned Homes) in Marin will have an impact on the overall pricing.

Here is my answer to her question on how the foreclosures and Bank Owned properties are affecting Marin Real Estate Market:
“First, as I have always said, and I stand by that statement – Marin county, due to it’s unique qualities, does hold its value compare to other areas. Marin Real Estate value, although dropped some, will go back up sooner – but you have heard my preaching on that before, so I won’t go there.

As it’s in any market, the fundamental is if there are foreclosures and REOs, the price will go down; both due to the nature of foreclosures and REOs but also due to the fact that sellers that do HAVE to sell are realizing that fact, though, very reluctantly.

Novato, the north most part of Marin county has seen the blunt of it; especially the condo/townhome market, and entry level homes, but the trend also trickles down to the higher end market – really good for home buyers like yourself.

Southern Marin has largely been unaffected, but we are seeing a slow trend to go towards that way. Since those houses were mostly purchased with more equity in the homes, most are safe, but you do have very few that are not. Those will be the ones who suffer and bring down the values.

Some effect is also due to the general economy, which, for the first time in many years, affected the high tech and financial sectors; which in turn, affect the affordability of the higher end market here and in other desirable places of the Bay Area. You will see some of those houses, not nearly the magnitude of the lower end housing, but few will also go on the distressed list and prices in those dropping slightly.

On the flip side, Marin is Marin, and people do love Marin – make sure you go to to read about Marin County!

moneysign1The buyers who could not afford before, the bargain hunters, the ones who sold their homes before the market drop and are renting now, the investors, ..,etc are taking full advantage of this market and the declin(ed,ing) interest rate.

I know, because we have weekly office meetings discussing the traffic (and Frank Howard Allen is the #1 company in Marin county) and I personally hold open houses almost weekly for my sellers (always nice to get that one more buyer in for my sellers) and in doing so, I get a pulse of the market and customers, I see them out there.

A great deal is a great deal and they jump in there. Multiple offers and even flipping on homes are back again, and people with large down payments as well as cash buyers are moving in.

My clients and I looked at many areas, tons of houses, spend lots of months, and at times, write several offers before they get the best deals on the houses they want and need. But that’s what it takes in Real Estate, before, now and in the future, to get the right house

If you have a Realtor – and you should get one who will look out for your best interest – he/she should do the same for you. .

As always, I would love to actually talk to you about this and provide you with details. So, drop me an email or give me a call, if you will.

Best wishes in 2009!

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services

Coveted Vineyard Area, Upscale Home on 1/3 Acre Creekside Lot, Open Sun 1-4PM

Sylvia Barry | | (415) 717-0293
2197 Vineyard, Novato, CA
Coveted Vineyard Area – upscale, remodeled singled story home located on premium 1/3+ acre creekside level lot. Pool, Hottub. Great for Entertainment. Must See Inside.


Contact Sylvia for Showing at (415) 717-0293 or email Sylvia Barry

Search and Save Homes for Future Review? Click to Search for Marin County Homes

4BR/2.5BA Single Family House
offered at $949,000
Year Built 1955
Sq Footage 2,538
Bedrooms 4
Bathrooms 2 full, 1 partial
Floors 1
Parking 2 Car garage
Lot Size 16,150 sqft
HOA/Maint $0 per month

Desirable Vineyard area, Pleasant Valley school!Upscale Remodeled and expanded single story home on over 1/3 privavte level creekside acres.Living/Dining room with decorative woodburning fireplace. Expansive floor to ceiling sliders frames the gorgeous views and brings outside in.Remodeled Kitchen with breakfast nook has gorgeous granite slab counters, center island, Stainless steel appliances, beautiful cabinetry.Dramatic new master suite with vaulted ceilling and frech doors looking into amazing backyard. Master bath with limestone tile, modern sinks, separate show and soothing soaking tub.Entertain with comfort & style both inside and outisde, under the giant walnut tree or sunny pool side.Close to hiking, biking, horseback riding, stafford lake, O’Hare park. Easy access to west Marin beaches.
see additional photos below

Central heat Fireplace High/Vaulted ceiling
Walk-in closet Hardwood floor Tile floor
Living room Dishwasher Refrigerator
Stove/Oven Microwave Granite countertop
Stainless steel appliances Attic Washer
Dryer Laundry area – inside Balcony, Deck, or Patio
Yard Swimming pool Jacuzzi/Whirlpool

Garage parking Guest parking Storage space(s)



Seller contact info:
Sylvia Barry
For sale by agent/broker


Equal Opportunity Housing
Posted: Jan 10, 2009, 6:28pm PST

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors


MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services

Marin County Homeowners should File Homeowner’s Exempion NOW!

foreigndebt2Calling newly minted Marin Homeowners – Do you know….

How to shave $7,000 off your Marin county home’s assessed value from property tax year-in and year-out? 

By filing Homestead Exemption on your primary residency by February 15th each year.

Homestead Exemption

The home has to be the primary residence of the owner(s) or co-owner(s) as of 12:01 A.M. January 1 (lien date). To receive the full exemption, the application has to be filed with the Assessor’s) Office by February 15th. A partial exemption will be approved, if the application is filed between February 16th and December 10th.

If the home is purchased after January 1st, the exemption is applied to the supplemental assessment, unless the prior owner received the exemption on the secured bill.  The claim has to be filed within 30 days of the homeowners supplemental notice. A partial exemption is approved, if the claim form is returned prior to the due date of the first installment of the supplemental bill. More information may be obtained by calling (415) 499-7195.

  1. Veteran’s Exemption

Veterans with a 100% disability due to a service-connected injury or illness are eligible for an exemption of $100,000 on the assessed value of their home. Legislation provides the same for wives of such veterans killed on active duty. A letter of proof from the veteran’s administration has to be presented at the time of application. In addition to the application form, honorable discharge papers, death certificate and a marriage certificate (if applicable) have to be included.

A $150,000 veteran’s exemption is available if the applicant’s annual total household income is less than $40,000. Annual filing is required for any year in which the $150,000 exemption is claimed. More information may be obtained by calling (415) 499-7206 or 499-7204,

There are othe exemptions, such as Church, College, Welfare, etc. 

Please make sure you check and confirm all the details out with the Count of Marin.  See link for County of Marin web page for this subject –

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate 
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors 

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.   Starter Home to Luxury Property.  REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. 

 Make Dreams Real – Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise Youth Services