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Mill Valley Median Home Price Dips in Q1

In an continuing tough market, sellers appear to be pushing the envelop to see what they can get for their home and eventually settling for lesser offers.

The first quarter of 2011 has come and gone, and with it comes some clarity on where the Mill Valley real estate market stands right now in comparison to past years.

The news isn't great.

The median sale price of singe-family homes in Mill Valley from January through March was $982,500, down 12.6 percent from a media price of $1.125 million during the same period in 2010. There were 56 single-family homes sold in Mill Valley in that period, up slightly from 54 sold in the first quarter of 2010.

What is evident from these numbers is that we saw a recovery in prices in 2010, but that recovery has not extended into 2011 so far.

The highest price a single-family home in Mill Valley sold for during the first quarter $2.5 million. The house, located at 424 Laverne Ave., was originally listed at $2,975,000, had no interim price reductions and closed 21 percent below its asking price. This large variance is the norm in this current market.

Sellers are pushing the envelop to see what they can get for their home and when no offers are forthcoming, they are either accepting lower offers or starting the slippery slide in price reductions. The Laverne Ave. home sold for $750 per square foot and was asking for $925 per square foot.

The most expensive house sold in 2010 was at 9 Walsh Drive, and sold for $4 million. That house was listed for several years, starting at $10.25 million in 2008. It was then put up for lease at $15,000 per month, and then ut back on the market in 2009 for $5.25 million before the seller settled for $4 million in February 2010.

You can see why pricing is so important in this market. An overpriced home will languish and the final price the seller will get for the home is usually below what they would have gotten if they set the price realistically on day one.

There are currently 64 homes in Mill Valley in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. Homes took an average of103 days to sell.

As for condos, the median price in Mill Valley for the first quarter of 2011 was $600,000, up 5 percent from $571,000 for the same period in 2010. Eight units sold in the first quarter, up from six units sold in the same period a year ago.

The condo market in Mill Valley is still under pressure. For example, a unit at Sunrise Point that sold for $800,000 a few years ago is now selling for $650,000, a 23 percent decline. Buyers now have significant alternatives as single family prices have moved down in Tam Valley and other parts of Mill Valley.

Also, the high homeowner’s fees at many units in Mill Valley, as well as the financial health of the homeowners associations, are causing buyers to think twice about incurring those extra costs.

Mill Valley Patch is planning to launch a regular Real Estate Q&A column focusing on the Mill Valley market. If you have questions or are looking for some advice, email jimw@patch.com and Ron Parks will answer them in the coming weeks. Contact Ron directly at ronscottparks@gmail.com or 415-297-9000. For more info, check out his website.

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