Pacific Union’s January 2016 Real Estate Update

Bay Area home shoppers who ventured out in the first month of 2016 were in luck, as the months’ supply of inventory (MSI) of homes for sale expanded in every one of our regions. However, all of our markets still favor sellers, with the exception of Lake Tahoe/Truckee, where plenty of properties await buyers who want to take advantage of the copious snowfall the region is enjoying.

Marin County

At $935,000, January marked the first time in 11 months that the median sales price in Marin County dropped below $1 million. The average home sold for 96 percent of its original price, nearly identical to the previous two months.

Homes sold in an average of 53 days, while the MSI nearly doubled from December, climbing to 1.7.

jan2016 forecast

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.



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Top 3 Tuesday: Top 3 Après-Ski Spots in Lake Tahoe

Enjoying Ski Week at Lake Tahoe? Don’t miss out on these 3 great après-ski spots:

1. Plump Jack Café

plump jack

2. West Shore Café

west shore cafe

3. Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge





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Most expensive San Francisco homes sold in 2015

The number of luxury homes on the market in San Francisco “hit all-time highs in October, ” according to data from Paragon Real Estate. That means luxury homes became a “buyer’s market,” but that doesn’t mean there were too many bargains to be had. In fact, plenty of staggeringly large sales closed in 2015.

In May, a Pacific Heights mansion sold for an eye-popping $31 million, making it the biggest single-family home sale of the year. (That’s more than double the amount paid for a 30,200-square-foot Tendernob building at 750 O’Farrell St. in December.)

Almost all of the most expensive single-family homes sold last year are concentrated in Pacific Heights, with the exception of 80 McLaren, which is located in Sea Cliff. Excluding the mansion sale, the most expensive homes sold in 2015 ranged from $17.1 million to $11.5 million in price.

And, if you’re curious about who’s throwing around this kind of cash, tough luck: most of the buyers’ and sellers’ identities are hidden behind shell companies and family trusts.

1: 2701 Broadway – $31 Million

2701 Broadway

2: 2780 Broadway -$17.1 Million

2. 2780 Broadway

3: 2950 Vallejo St.- $16.76 Million

3. 2950 vallejo

4: 2950 Pacific Ave. – $16 million

4. 2950 Pacific

5: 3385 Jackson St. – $13.5 million

5. 3385 jackson

6: 2900 Vallejo St. – $12.5 million

6. 2900 vallejo

7: 3015 Pacific Ave. – $12 million

7. 3015 Pacific

8: 2939 Vallejo St. – $12 million

8. 2939 vallejo

9: 80 McLaren Ave. – $11.575 million

9. 80 mclaren

10: 2010 Jackson St. – $11.5 million

10. 2010 jackson


Google Maps

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Top 3 Tuesday: Best Winter Waterfall Hikes in Marin

Recent rains have accentuated the beauty of these local waterfall trails. Check out my top 3 picks for a scenic and serene winter hike.

1. Cataract Falls, Fairfax

Popular and surprisingly strenuous the hiking the trails around Cataract Falls are worth it for the stunning views.

cataract falls


2. Alamere Falls, Pt. Reyes National Seashore

As only one of two California waterfalls that feeds directly to the Pacific Ocean, Alamere Falls is an impressive 40 foot waterfall in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore Park that boasts beautiful views.

alamere falls

3. Cascade Falls, Mill Valley

Easily accessed from downtown Mill Valley, this trail offers peaceful views of both redwoods and waterfalls.

cascade falls



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A Super Bowl 50 Traffic Survival Guide


Yes! The Super Bowl is coming to the Bay Area but you’ll probably be most affected if you are trying to get to work or go to the events planned in downtown San Francisco.

Although the game itself is at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, San Francisco is hosting a one week pre-party the week before.

San Francisco Pre-Party

Super Bowl City is a fan village that will be centered at Justin Herman Plaza and take up a large area across the street from the Ferry Building.

 Since this event is free for all to attend, it is expected to draw large crowds.

Market Street will be closed for eight days from January 30 to February 7 for several blocks leading to Justin Herman Plaza. Many Muni busses and street cars will be rerouted to nearby Mission Street.

The bottom line: I’d avoid driving downtown anywhere near the Embarcadero and the Ferry building.

The best way to get to Super Bowl City is to take transit. Taking BART is convenient. The Embarcadero station is right there in the middle of Super Bowl City. If you live in the city just take any of the lines that terminate at the Ferry Building. Although the closures might reroute those lines, they will get you super close to the action.

If you still insist on driving be prepared to pay more for parking at all the garages anywhere close to the fan village. The best bet is to try the 5th and Mission garage. It’s either a healthy walk or a short bus ride from there down Mission Street to the Embarcadero.

This garage might be sold out early though. The NFL Experience, another fan event, will be at Moscone Center the week before the game. Although this event is not free, it is expected to draw large crowds as well.

Taking the ferry to San Francisco is also a decent option. The Ferry building is right across the street from Super Bowl City.

If you’re planning to get a hotel room in the city it may be too late. Many Hotels have been sold out for months surrounding these events. This is where you ask friends/parents to crash with them, stay in places like Oakland or Daly City and “commute” to the event, or make other arrangements.

Learn more about getting to Super Bowl City and the NFL Experience here.

Getting to Work

What if you are just trying to get to your job in downtown San Francisco? The best bet is to not use the Embarcadero BART station. Who wants to see all those happy people going to Super Bowl City while you have to put in a 9 to 5?

The Montgomery Station is just a few blocks away and the Powell Street Station a little bit farther. Bring comfortable walking shoes. A little walking will help you avoid crowds associated with this event.

Keep in mind your commuter Ferry ride to the city may be more crowded than usual. What would be more frustrating than showing up to take the Ferry only find it’s been sold out? This is the week to get to the Ferry early and pre-pay for your tickets.

Driving? That garage you park in may be sold out when you get there or be charging higher rates during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

Going to the Game

If you happen to be lucky enough to score a ticket to the game (it could happen), you can drive there and park in the many lots near Levi’s Stadium.

There will be no tailgating allowed at any of the NFL sanctioned lots at Levi’s Stadium and the private lots may also not allow it that day.

Super Bowl organizers have schedule “Fan Express” shuttle buses to Levi’s Stadium from several hotels all over the Bay Area.

For $55 you can take a bus and forget about parking or driving yourself. You can see the schedule and locations here.

Regular public transportation will also work including VTA, Caltrain, and Amtrak Capitol Corridor service.




Photo by: Heather Wells

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The $1M Super Bowl package to rule them all

superbowl 50 stage

A little-known event called the Super Bowl is coming to town and along with it has come the unreal hotel costs that visitors to San Francisco are encountering. is showing outrageous short-term rentals for $6,000 a night. Even the Hampton Inn in San Jose was offering a single occupancy room for three nights for $8,335.

All of those packages? Small potatoes. Fairmont San Francisco is offering a decadent Super Bowl experience that will be the envy of all your other Super Bowl-going friends.

The Nob Hill hotel is offering a four-night stay in the 6,000-square-foot, three-bedroom Penthouse Suite for up to six people, along with tickets to VIP parties and 22 tickets to the Super Bowl game itself — along with transportation for the group to Levi’s Stadium on game day.

The price tag: $1 million.

Of course, the package goes beyond just a hotel room and game tickets — along with it comes a personalized experience that is meant to make your stay truly … luxurious.

Michelle Gilman Jasen, the regional director of sales and marketing for the West Coast Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, said that beyond the typical Super Bowl offerings of a luxury suite at the game and deluxe accommodations, is a stay meant to be a “dream” weekend.

“We wanted to provide a framework with very specific tickets and offerings so that guests knew that those were in place, but then we really wanted to offer them the option to build out their dream Super Bowl weekend — that’s really what this is meant to be,” Jasen said in a phone interview with SFGATE. “If you are entertaining clients or you are someone who’s looking to make this a once-in-a-lifetime Super Bowl weekend, then we would build it out in a way that’s the most impactful for those guests.”

As of now, the room and its million-dollar amenities are still available, but Jasen said there have been a few serious inquiries into the package so far.

Is the price worth it? Worth is relative, depending on your expendable budget, but the hotel is certainly not skimping on anything.




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Top 3 Tuesday: Top 3 Date Night Spots in Marin

With Valentine’s Day approaching, here are my top 3 picks for a great date night in Marin!

1. Le Garage

2. El Paseo

el paseo

3. Cavallo Point

cavallo point date night




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Top 3 Tuesday: Places to Watch Super Bowl 50 in Marin

The Bay Area will be packed for Super Bowl 50! Stay local, avoid traffic, and enjoy the game at these Marin spots:

1. Sweetwater Music Hall 

In place of musical talent, football takes center stage at Sweetwater Music Hall. Here, football fans of all ages can enjoy the big game on the big screen in a lively environment.

sweetwater bar


2. Perry’s

Perry’s is now open on Magnolia in Larkspur!  Experience great food, great service, and watch the big game without straying too far from home.

perrys on magnolia


3. Flatiron Saloon

For die-hard football aficionados, Flatiron Saloon is a classic Marin sports bar with an authentic vibe and multiple TVs for watching the big game from all angles.




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Marin County: Q4 Results

Marin County: Q4 Results
There were plenty of buyers in Pacific Union’s Marin County region during the fourth quarter but nowhere near enough homes to accommodate them – a problem that has persisted across the Bay Area for several years. In a marked change, however, buyers in the second half of the year started to gain the upper hand in negotiations. They displayed little sense of urgency and were more likely to pass on an attractive house at a competitive price, waiting to see what will come on the market in the weeks and months ahead.

Sales prices rose throughout the year, climbing aggressively earlier in 2015 before moderating in the fourth quarter. Demand for housing remained high, and sellers continued to enjoy healthy premiums. Private purchase agreements – reached without homes ever appearing on a local MLS and without competing bids – were not uncommon.

Looking Forward: Marin County remains an attractive destination for buyers. The chilly weather may affect sales in January and February, but we expect a very busy spring and summer, aided by a booming Bay Area economy. Interest rates remain exceptionally low, and any further increases would likely have little effect on Marin County sales.

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the charts below includes single-family homes in these communities.

Median Sales Price
The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.


Months’ Supply of Inventory
The months’ supply of inventory is a measure of how quickly the current supply of homes would be sold at the current sales rate, assuming no more homes came on the market. In general, an MSI below 4 is considered a seller’s market; between 4 and 6 is a balanced market; and above 6 is a buyer’s market.


Average Days on the Market
Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.


Percentage of Properties Under Contract
Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.


Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price
Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.


A Closer Look at Marin County


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Top 3 Tuesday: Top 3 Spas in Marin

Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays can be tough! Luckily, we’ve got some great spas in Marin that can help restore that feeling of rejuvenation and relaxation. Here are this week’s top 3:

  1. Cavallo Point

cavallo point spa

  1. Stellar Spa

stellar spa

  1. Evo Spa

evo spa



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