Marin County home sales jumped by 46% in August over the prior year, marking the third straight month of gains after the rocky pandemic spring.
The county recorded 320 sales of detached homes last month, up from 219 sales the prior August.
The median price for a detached home hit $1.53 million in August, up 22% year-over-year, according to data from the county assessor-recorder’s office.
“Traditionally, August is somewhat of a slow month,” said Thomas Henthorne, a Marin agent with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said, “there are no norms with regards to the traditional market cycle.”
After county health officials announced a “shelter in place” order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in March, the market nosedived, crippling the normally busy spring season, Henthorne said. But the market began to pick up again in June as the restrictions were eased.
“A lot of the sales we’re seeing right now are sales we probably would have seen in the second quarter,” said Jim Walsch, a Marin agent with ReMax Gold.
Low interest rates are also enticing buyers and fueling the market, Walsch said.
Although wildfire smoke fouled the county’s air in August and a blaze in the Point Reyes National Seashore triggered evacuation orders in West Marin, it’s too early to tell whether California’s record-setting fire season has put a damper on the market, Walsch said. Sales that were finalized in August were likely negotiated in July or earlier, he said.
According to Henthorne, Marin’s strong August figures were also bolstered by people moving out of San Francisco and other urban areas. Henthorne and other agents are calling the phenomenon the “Zoom boom,” as people who are now working from home because of the pandemic are moving into suburban and rural areas like Marin.
“Marin offers the outdoor living that people are really needing,” Henthorne said. “Now, your house also has to become your vacation spot and your office.”
Across the Bay Area, the median home price hit a record $1.07 million last month, up 19% over August 2019, according to the California Association of Realtors. Sales rose 11%.
Statewide, the median price for a detached home was $706,900 last month, up 15% over the prior year, the association said. The number of homes sold was the highest recorded in more than a decade, jumping 15% year-over-year.
“Low rates and tight housing inventory are contributing factors to the statewide median price setting a new record high three months in a row from June to August,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the association.
“A change in the mix of sales is another variable that keeps pushing median prices higher, as sales growth of higher-priced properties continued to outpace their more affordable counterparts,” Appleton-Young said.