What’s Going On: The Real Estate Market In Marin And Sonoma Valley

Today’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle linked here shows a growing affordability in the Bay Area, reflecting a market that is correcting.  Regionwide, the percentage of buyers who can afford a median-priced home grew from 21% in the third quarter of last year, to 29% in this past third quarter.  That’s a lot more buyers who can now jump into the market.  The most expensive counties, such as San Francisco, experienced a smaller correction than the outlying, less expensive counties.

Selling real estate in both Marin County and the town of Sonoma, I’ve seen that trend play out with a couple of different buyers jumping back in who had been thinking of moving elsewhere earlier in the year.   From the listing side, those sellers who accept the reality of the market and are willing to spend the money to polish up their home will reap the reward of a sale price that approaches what they may have brought in last year.   My latest listing in wine country, linked here, was in the $2 – $3 million price range that was very slow this year, with only a handful of sales over the last 6 months.  With aggressive marketing including being featured on news sites as a featured Sotheby’s property which clicked through to a video and more information, the home closed at $2,894,000.

Drilling down to the popular $1 – $2 million dollar price range, I compared the sales stats from September and October in 2018 to this year in both central Marin and the town of Sonoma.  Here is what I found:

Central Marin County (Corte Madera, Larkspur, Kentfield, Greenbrae)


  • Number of homes sold:    30
  • Median Selling Price:   $1,522,500
  • Median Selling Price per sq ft: $810
  • Median Days on Market: 27


  • Number of homes sold:   19
  • Median Selling Price:     $1,425,000
  • Median Price per sq ft:     $870
  • Median days on market:     23

Sonoma – the town, not the county


  • Number of homes sold: 17
  • Median Selling Price: $1,485,000
  • Median Selling Price per sq ft: $698
  • Median days on market: 54


  • Number of homes sold: 21
  • Median Selling Price: $1,389,000
  • Median Selling Price per sq ft: $692
  • Median days on market: 41

My prediction for next year is this:   due to the unwillingness of Bay Area and national media to accurately report, once again, where fires and outages affected the wine country, there will be opportunities there in 2020 just as there are after all highly-publicized disasters.   A local agent knows which areas, such as close to Sonoma Plaza, was enjoying ‘lights on’ during the last planned power outage.  We can help guide buyers toward areas that are as safe or safer than other parts of the Bay Area from future fires, as well.

Those who are thinking of selling in any market should start preparing their property now for a debut early in the spring season in 2020.  I’m happy to provide an opinion of value and proposal for how I can help in your property prep and marketing.