What Used to Have Peacock Feathers, Hot Tubs, and Now Supports An Average Residential List Price of $1,233,945?: Marin County


photo courtesy of freelargephotos.com
I was born in San Francisco, California and I spent my formative years in the Marin County city of San Rafael. As a native of Marin for 22 years, I have watched the explosion in real estate home appreciation, gentrification of it’s demographics, and solidification as one of the most exclusive counties to live in in the United States.

My parents bought their first house in Terra Linda, a unincorporated section of San Rafael, a new middle class town in Marin County back in 1967. They paid $19,000. They sold our little “Kenny” home in 1979 for $175,000 in order to move to a larger house in Novato. Five years later, Mom and Dad sold that home for $243,000 as they were transfered to Connecticut.

Today their Terra Linda home is worth in excess of $750,000 and their former Novato digs have been appraised at $950,000. Although my parents are always looking to the future, they have never quite gotten over the explosion in growth Marin offers to homeowners willing to stay. A great source of documentation for this growth was provided by Marin Magazine’s August 2007 article “Marin County Real Estate by the Numbers.” Here is what they found:

*Total Real Estate Sales for year 2006: $3,104,299,994. That is 3 Billion One Hundred and Four Million Two Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Four dollars. This from the smallest county in terms of land size and population.

*Average Residential Sale Price: $1,218,506

*Number of Realtors in Marin County, a county with a population approximately 225,000, 1,750.

*Highest Priced Home for Sale: Blanding Estate, Belvedere at $65,000,000

*Marin County Sales Averages 1985 to 2005: 1985 2,874 units sold-Avg price per unit $200,557. 2005 3,407 units sold-Avg price per unit $1,078,819.

According to Bay Area Real Estate Information Services Inc., 10 of Marin’s cities have average home prices of 1,000,000+. The highest average priced city is Kentfield weighing in at a hefty $3,489,218.

What do all of these numbers mean? In terms of telling the Marin County story, these numbers are important but tell just half the story. What they do represent is an example of the value and growth that luxury California real estate has shown through a consistent track record over decades.