Marin County’s luxury home market bounced back in a big way last month with both property sales and the median sale price rising sharply from January and a year ago, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

A total of 33 homes sold for more than $1 million in February, nearly triple the number that sold a year ago and up from 29 sales in January. Meanwhile, the median sale price reached $1.55 million, soaring more than 25 percent from the year-ago median and 21 percent from the previous month.

“The Marin housing market is getting off to a much stronger start in 2010 than it did a year ago when we were approaching the bottom of the recession,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.  “Our offices are seeing a lot more buyers willing and able to take advantage of some good values out there in the market.”

Turley said a number of factors seem to be bolstering the market, including improvement in the overall economy, a strong rebound in the stock market, improved consumer confidence, and the upcoming deadline for the home buyer tax credit. Buyers who want to claim the credit of $6,500 to $8,000 must purchase their home by April 30 and close by June 30.

“The financial markets have made a tremendous recovery when compared to last March when the Dow was sitting at 6,500 and the S&P was at 600-plus,” Turley said. “Unlike a year ago, people aren’t afraid to open their 401K statements each month. Their improving net worth is bolstering consumer confidence among buyers, especially high net worth buyers. And an improving consumer confidence is critical for the housing market recovery.”

Unlike a year ago at this time, it is not the lack of buyers that is challenging the Marin market, but a dearth of sellers. Turley said that the inventory of homes for sale is just starting to increase, but still is not enough to meet buyer demand in many communities in Marin County.

“Because there aren’t enough homes on the market, well maintained, fairly priced properties are attracting strong buyer interest and, in some cases, multiple offers,” Turley said. “If homeowners have been thinking about listing their home for sale, I’d encourage them to do so right now when buyer demand is strong, inventory levels are low and interest rates remain at historically low levels. It’s a surprisingly good time to sell right now.”

Like Marin County’s luxury market, the overall housing market enjoyed improvement in February. DataQuick, the La Jolla-based research firm, reported (include DataQuick figures for Marin and Bay Area is available this week).

Some key findings from this month’s Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage luxury report:

  • The most expensive sale in Marin County in February was a five-bedroom, four-bath 2,966-square foot home in Belvedere that sold for $4.05 million;
  • Mill Valley again boasted the most million-dollar sales in February with 11, followed by San Rafael and Tiburon with five each;
  • It took an average of 154 days to sell a million-dollar home in the county, down from 161 days the previous month but up from 139 days a year ago.

The Marin County Luxury Home Report is a monthly report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a specialist in high-end real estate sales. Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company is recognized around the world for its expertise in the luxury housing market.  The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold for more than $1 million.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage serves Marin County with six offices: 83 Beach Road in Belvedere; 350 Bon Air Ct., Suite 100, in Greenbrae; 500 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Greenbrae; 36 Tiburon Blvd. in Mill Valley; 1737 Grant Avenue, Novato; and 1 Harbor Drive, Suite 110, in Sausalito. For more information, please call 925-275-3085.