Update on the State of Novato Real Estate Market


The following article first appeared on Novato Patch: Update on the State of Novato Real Estate Market :

On this Labor Day weekend, I thought I will provide a quick update on the Novato Real Estate Market since my last blog post on Aug. 21 to the end of August.

Below are statistics of Single Family Residences (SFR) and Commen Interest Developments (CID/Condos) that are either new on market (Active), under cotract (Contingent), Pending (All cotingencies removed) and Sold during the 10 day period.

I also included breakdown of single family residences that are new on market or sold during the 10-day period by price range.

A quick glance at the statistics on 08/31/2012 supports a strong sellers’ market.

Fun facts – The lowest price SOLD single family home during the period is a small Black Point home with a private hill top setting, closed at $270K. On the other spectrum, a beautifully top to bottom, completely redone single story home, 4 bedrooms, 2 and half baths, 2358sf home sited on close to 1/5 acre lot on Mill Road, priced at $699K, quickly went into escrow with multiple offers and closed in 20 days at $800K; an all cash purchase. A Bel Marin Keys on the water house closed at $865K and a single story Country Club home on the Golf Course closed at $915K, both homes are nicely updated; while a Stonetree Home, 4700+sf, one of the hard hit areas by the depressed market, closed at $1Million, was the highest priced sale of the period.

Have a Wonderful and Safe Labor Day Weekend!

Novato Real Estate Market Activites
08/21/12 to 08/31/12
Actie 16 6
Contingent 21 6
Pending 9 3
Sold 21 7
Single Family Home Activites
Price Range NEW SOLD
$0-$500K 3 9
$500,000 – $600K 3 4
$600,001 – $700K 3 2
$700,001 – $800K 6 3
$800,001 – $999,999 1 2
$1M – $1.25M 1
$1,25M – $1.5M
Total 16 21
Novato Real Etate Market Statistics
Week of August 31, 2012
Type # of Total Units % of Total
# Total Units IN Escrow Active
In Escrow S/B
SFRs 170 101 41% 59% S
CIDs 67 49 27% 73% S
All SFR/CIDs 237 150 37% 63% S
SFD by Price Range
$0-$500K 42 34 19% 81% S
$500,000 – $600K 28 18 36% 64% S
$600,001 – $700K 28 16 43% 57% S
$700,001 – $800K 28 13 54% 46% S
$800,001 – $999,999 22 15 32% 68% S
$1M – $1.25M 10 2 80% 20% B
$1,25M – $1.5M 5 3 40% 60% S
$1.5M+ 11 2 82% 18% B
Total 174 103 41% 59% S
% in Contract Type of Market
Less than 25% Buyers’ Market
25% to 40% Neutral Market
Greater than 40% Seller’s Market


(*) Data collected from the local Multiple Listing Services (BAREIS – Bay Area Real Estate Information Service).

Fannie Mae Offers New Buyer Incentives on Homepath Homes


New Buyer Incentive on Fannie Mae HomePath® Homes

Fannie Mae is offering buyers up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance on HomePath properties through December 31, 2010.

Buyers must meet the following qualifications to be eligible for the incentive:

  • HomePath property sale must close on or before December 31, 2010 and close within 60 days of offer acceptance
  • Only owner occupants purchasing a HomePath property as their primary residence will receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance
  • the initial offer must be submitted on or after September 23, close within 60 days of offer acceptance and close on or before December 31, 2010. No bonus will be given for investor purchases.
  • Buyers must request incentive upon submission of initial offer in order to be eligible.

Note: Offers submitted after November 15, 2010 may be difficult to close by incentive deadline of December 31, 2010.

Terms & Conditions:

  • The 3.5% seller contribution is to be used towards closing costs, including a home warranty, if desired and available.
  • Retail and public entities are eligible for the incentive however pool and auction sales, and sales to investors are not eligible.
  • Fannie Mae reserves the right to remove any property from promotion or end the promotion at any time. Any dispute over the payment of a bonus shall be resolved by Fannie Mae in its sole discretion.
  • Buyers should consult their lenders for guidance on financing. Lenders and mortgage products may impose their own limitations on the use of the 3.5% incentive. For example, the lender may consider the incentive a Seller Contribution and limit the amount to 3.0%. In those instances, the remaining 0.5% will no longer be available to the buyer.

See link to search for Fannie Mae Homepath Homes

9 Fabulous New Luxury Homes on Olive Court. Novato, Marin County

9 Fabulous New Luxury Homes on Olive Court, Novato, Marin County

Please make appointments with Sylvia Barry or your Realtor if you want to see these new Craftsman Style Homes located on Olive Court in Novato.

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 http://www.SylviaSellsMarin.com 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
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

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

Novato Disposal Service – Highest Recyclable Waste Collection

As a Novato Resident, surrounded by Open Space, Natural Parks, Bay front; we are proud to be the city with the highest recyclable collection and lowest solid waste rate in Marin county.

The distinction can not be achieved solely by residents with good intention without the service provided by Novato Disposal Service

The Novato Disposal Service provides weekly pick ups of Green (Yard) Recyclables and Blue Recyclables (plastic containers, newspaper, bottles, jars, etc), Bi-Annual (spring, fall) large items, large volume and eWaste free-collections which the neighborhoods overwhelmingly participate and look forward to.

The service utilizes plants with state of the art equipment to sort, accept and reject wastes, ensuring proper waste recycle to allow for most waste being processed.

Their website provides timely guidance on recyclable plastics, cans, paper products; safely dispose of cooking oil, fluorescent lights, how to pack for lunches to produce the least solid waste; and where to dispose of hazard waste; etc.

The Novato Disposal team also participates in chamber and school green activities; and Novato July 4th Parade, putting on a great waste collection routine to promote their recycle program.

The latest improvement for Novato Disposal Service is the new Garbage Trucks they purchased.  hese new eco-friendly split-body vehicles decrease the number of trips through neighborhoods by one-third, while inside two separate compartments keep the materials separate. Collecting two materials in the dual compartment trucks decreased the amount of fuel and energy used, not to mention reduced traffic on highways and neighborhoods.  This allows for picking up both green and blue wastes on the same route; eliminating double pick ups and providing savings on resources (manpower, gas consumption, ozone depletion).

Not only is Novato Disposal Service mindful of local recycling programs, they also participate and donate generously to local schools.  They are the annual supporter for the local high school Safe and Sober Grad Night fundraising effort; where the high school helps residents in recycling their Christmas trees in exchange of a small donation to the worthy cause.  For a week after Christmans, the Novato Disposal donates huge derbris boxes and the drivers to transport and dispose of the Christmas tree.  ( Note – Please come back later for 2011 Christmas Tree pick info)
For the ECO minded readers, I encourage you to go to their website to learn more about how to properly recycle and save the environment. 

Marin Real Estate Home Sales Statistics as of June 15, 2008

Compare to four months ago, in the middle of winter, the number of inventories almost doubled (from 844 to 1586).  The good news is, the market has started to move again, after the dramatic slow down. 

The percentage of pending sales for bread and butter homes priced under $1M increased a healthy 6%, from 20% to 26% (brings it right to neutral market).  Homes priced higher than $2M stays the same at 15% and homes priced between $1M and $2M dropped 2% from 22% to 20%.  

The lowered price for start homes are allowing buyers who were not able to afford a Marin Home to start buying again. 

There is a silver lining in all that cloud! 🙂  

As of 06/15/2008      
     On Market In Contract % Pending
Marin Real Estate – Total 1586 362 23%
Belvedere Real Estate 22 4 18%
Corte Madera Real Estate 50 13 26%
Fairfax Real Estate 40 7 18%
Greenbrae Real Estate 33 7 21%
Kentfield Real Estate 29 7 24%
Larkspur Real Estate 35   5 14%
Mill Valley Real Estate 169 42 25%
Novato Real Estate 458 123 27%
Ross Real Estate 18 4 22%
San Anselmo Real Estate 80 17 21%
San Rafael Real Estate 400 94 24%
Sausalito Real Estate 65 13  23%
Tiburon Real Estate 86 8 9%
Marin Homes $1-2 million 396 80 20%
Marin Homes  > $2 million 215 32 15%
Marin Homes $0-999,999 975 250 26%
Buyer’s Market <25%
Neutral 25% – 40%
Seller’s Market >40%

Wildfire Alert – Guidelines from Marin County Open Space

Today, I received the ANNUAL FIRE LETTER from the Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space.

This letter is especially critical at this time of year when fire risk is increasing; particularly with the fact that we are already facing a very dry summer season.

Here is the information on the letter, which can be found on the county website Wildfire Safety Information as well.

Excerpt from Marin County Open Space District:


It is extremely important that your clearance work does not start a fire and that you follow the guidelines below:

  • Confirm that the property you want to mow is owned by the Marin County Open Space District, not your neighbor or another agency. Information on lot lines and property ownership is available at the County Assessor-Recorder’s Office (499-7215, or go to http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/AR/main/index.cfm) and the County Community Development Agency (499-6269, or go to http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/CD/main/index.cfm).
  • Mow only grass. If you wish to cut brush or trees on Open Space District lands, you will need a permit; please call the District field office at 415-507-2816.
  • Never mow under high fire hazard RED FLAG conditions; call 415-499-7191 for current conditions.
  • In the heat of summer, mow early in the morning or during the evening when it is cooler and less likely that you could start a fire. Use extra caution with power mowers or other spark-producing tools.
  • Keep a 5-pound “ABC” fire extinguisher AND a fully charged garden hose at the work site while mowing or other work is taking place.
  • Do not use metal mowing heads on power scythes (weed whips) as they can spark from contact with rocks.
  • Make sure spark arrestors are in place and functioning.
  • Do not lay power tools in dry grass where hot metals may ignite flammable vegetation.
  • Re-fuel tools away from vegetation — on paved surfaces or cleared areas. Store gasoline away from site.
  • If possible, have someone spot you (keep a close watch) while you are working to watch for problems.
  • Watch for hikers and other open space visitors; cease work until they are clear from the work area.

Information on the Open Space District is available on the internet at: http://www.marinopenspace.org.

For guidelines on fire protection, call your local fire agency or check the internet:

Fire Safe Marin

Marin County Fire Prevention Officers


Marin County Fire Services

City of Novato Fire Services

FEMA – Wildfire brochure


Novato Real Estate Market Overview as of May 28, 2008

Interesting Novato Real Estate Market Trend, May 28, 2008

As there are more Short Sales and Bank Owned (REO) properties on the market, the trend is driving prices for short sales and REO properties downwards; attracting bargain hunters while higher end properties move slower and more cautiously.   

Coupled with the new programs since the announcement of the new Jumbo Loan limits, the consumers are out shopping again and will not wait when the right property comes along.  Instead of two loan threasholds, conforming (up to $417,000) and Jumbo (over $417,000); there are now three brackets – Conforming (up to $417,000), Super Conforming (between $417,000 and $729,250) and Jumbo ($729,250 and up).  The consumers are certainly taking advantage of that! 

For the lower end properties, some borrowers are checking into certain low income financing plan as well as the revived FHA loans (Check out FHA loans in another post). 

Many first time home buyers and people relocating from out of state or other california housing markets are quite excited about the prospect of finally being able to own a home in Marin county.  

Keep a close eye on the market. Make sure you get all your ducks in a row and jump in when a great deal comes along! you informed!   



Total Units/ In Escrow


% Active


% Pending

% +/- since 4/30

All SFD’s and CID’s
























$0 -$500K SFD
















$600,001 – $700K








$700,001 – $800K








$800,001 – $999,999








$1M – $1.25M








$1.25M – $1.5M
















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

Marin County Population Marks Growth in 2007

According to Marin Independent Journal (Marin IJ), the populaton in Marin Country grew by 2,326 in 2007, almost a 1% growth, the largest jump in 4 years.

Marin population grew from 255,080 to 257,406; a 0.9% growth from 01/01/2007 to 12/31/2007; which is in line with those of the state of California, which measures growth from 07/01/2006 thrun 06/30/2007.

Mill Valley had the largest growth percent wise at 1.1%, or 154 residents; San Rafael, on the contrary, saw the smallest growth of 0.7% or 392 residents.

Property type wise, Novato has the most single-family detached homes, at 12, 196; and the largest number of mobile homes at 718. San Rafael has the largest number o multi-unit apartments, at 2,070. Ross has the laragest number of people per household, with 2.97; while Sausalito hasthe smallest, at 1.74.

The largest city in Marin county is San Rafael, with 58,235 residents, followed by Novato, at 52,737. The smallest city in Marin is Belvedere, 2,161.

California’s population grew by 1.3% t 38 million with 490,000 new residents in 2007. One out of eight Americans now lives in California (12.5%).

San Francisco grew a whole 1.5% during 2007. The new population is 824,525 on 12/31/2007.

Top Real Estate Video of 2008 by ActiveRain

There are many innovative ways to showcase a listing.  Mike Lefebvre of Century 21 Commonwealth outdid himself again this time and won the Activerain 2008 Video Contest. 

Don’t know if I’ll be this creative, but certainly something to think about when I list another Marin Home.

Check out the video and enjoy.