Million-dollar sales climb from 42 to 62, median price up 23 percent over May 2009

Million-dollar home sales in Marin County and the median sale price both rose sharply in May as the region’s luxury real estate market continued to recover from last year’s strong economic downturn, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

A total of 62 homes sold for more than $1 million in May, up nearly 48 percent from May 2009’s total of 42 property sales. The median sale price of luxury homes last month reached $1.74 million, up 23 percent from $1.41 million a year ago. When compared with the previous month, May’s median sale price was up 8.9 percent while the number of sales dipped from 65 to 62.

Home sellers also are getting a higher percentage of their asking price – 95.4 percent in May compared to 90 percent during the same period a year ago.  The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold in Marin County for more than $1 million last month.

“The increase in million-dollar sales and rise in the median sale price are both encouraging signs that the mid- and upper-end of the housing market is starting to recover from last year’s sharp downturn,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Bay Area.

Turley said the expiration of the federal tax credit deadline probably helped boost sales again last month, even in the million-dollar market. First-time and repeat buyers needed to be in contract by April 30, but don’t have to close escrow until June 30. Although the tax credits primarily benefited entry-level buyers, they likely spurred more move-up buyers who sold lower-priced homes in order to trade up to million dollar-plus properties.

“The next few months will give us a good indication of how strong the housing market recovery will be without government stimulus,” Turley said. “There are certainly strong headwinds for housing sector, including high unemployment, troubles in Europe with the debt market and the recent volatility in the stock market.”

But at the same time, Turley said, the U.S. economy continues to slowly but steadily recover, consumer confidence is rising and mortgage rates remain at historical lows. “Many buyers seem to be getting off the fence and jumping into the market, realizing that between low rates and more favorable prices, this is a good time to get into a home,” he said.

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

  • The most expensive sale in Marin County in May was a five-bedroom, five-bath 5,296-square foot home in Kentfield that sold for $5.5 million;
  • Tiburon boasted the most million-dollar sales with 10, followed by Kentfield and Mill Valley with nine each, and San Rafael with six;
  • It took an average of 89 days to sell a million-dollar home in the county, down from 90 days the previous month and about 82 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.

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.