The median price of a detached home in Marin County has passed the $2 million mark amid steep spring gains throughout the Bay Area.
The figure for May was just over $2.025 million in Marin County, according to data released by the assessor’s office on Friday. The price marked a 19% increase over the previous year.
In April, the median price hit $2.1 million in Marin, a year-over-year increase of 28%. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more money and half for less.
The high median prices last month included $5.5 million for four residences in Belvedere; $5.2 million for 14 homes in Tiburon; and nearly $5 million for four homes in Ross.
The county recorded 254 detached home sales in April and 267 in May, compared with 351 in April 2021 and 298 in May 2021.
In the Marin condominium and townhome market, the median price was $865,697 in May, up from $716,500 the prior year. In April, the median was $850,000, up from $780,253 the prior year.
Julie Upton, a Mill Valley real estate agent with Compass, sold a two-bedroom Belvedere home last month for $6.7 million — about 34% over the listing price. Even so, she said, the market appears to be moderating.
At the lower end of the market, Upton said, buyers seeking mortgages are facing spiking interest rates. At the higher end of the market, buyers who might tap investment portfolios for a home purchase have seen their stock values plunge.
“It seems like a lot of buyers are taking a bit of pause,” Upton said. “The markets have them spooked, and with the interest rates higher than they were a few months ago, people are reevaluating.”
The U.S. weekly average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.23% as of Thursday, according to Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage company. A year ago, the average was just under 3%.
Throughout the nine-county Bay Area, the median sales price of an existing single-family home increased 13% in April, hitting $1.3 million, according to the latest data from CoreLogic and DQNews.
“As the increase in home prices showed, the demand is still strong,” said Selma Hepp, an economist for CoreLogic. “It’s actually really strong in the sense that it’s a lot of overbidding still, most homes selling over the asking price and home price appreciation still continuing to trend at double-digit rates.”
East Bay real estate agent Karyn Selby said rising interest rates have put a damper on the buying frenzy. That means while today’s market is still “super competitive,” it’s not quite as crazy as it was in March and April, she said.
“Maybe two months ago, a house would get 15 offers and go 30%-40% over the list price,” said Selby, who works for Keller Williams Realty. “Now it’s sort of flatlined a little bit. So instead of 15 offers, they may be getting eight. And it’s going more like 20%-30% over list price.”
Prices likely will continue to increase in future months, but perhaps more slowly, Selby said. Despite the market shift, she doesn’t recommend delaying a home purchase.
“The prices are never going to crash, certainly like they did in 2008, 2009,” she said. “And the interest rates are probably going to go up again this year.”
The broader turmoil in the economy, between inflation, gas prices, stock market volatility, the crisis in Ukraine and more, also may be prompting more buyers to pause their home search, Selby said. But that doesn’t change the fact that Bay Area prices are high, and likely to stay that way.
“All these things come into play,” Selby said, “but it’s still a crazy, crazy market.”
Gloria Othon is feeling the shifting market first hand. Othon, 61, poured $115,000 into a year-long project to remodel the bathrooms and kitchen of her San Jose home, redo the landscaping, buy a new water heater and other appliances, and replace the roof. She hoped the renovations would bump up the sale price.
Othon and her husband bought the house in the Berryessa neighborhood in 1998 for $350,000, but their children are grown now and they no longer need so much space.
Othon listed the house last week for $1.788 million, hoping offers would pour in. But so far, it’s been crickets. She worries she waited too long to take advantage of the hot housing market. And if the house doesn’t sell, she and her husband can’t afford to downsize by buying a smaller house or a condo.
“I’m really scared,” she said. “I feel like I might have missed it, and what do I do now?”