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Marin County Luxury Home Sales Up Again in May, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Reports

Mill Valley, CA, June 24, 2009 --( Sales of million-dollar homes in Marin County were up in May for the fourth straight month and properties sold at the fastest pace since last summer, according to a new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading provider of luxury real estate services. However, median prices of luxury properties were down from last month and a year ago.

A total of 42 luxury properties changed hands in May, up from 37 in April and the highest level since last October, when 59 million-dollar homes sold in the county. Homes also sold in an average of just 82 days, the fastest rate since last July. Nonetheless, sales were still below the 101 luxury homes that sold in the same month a year ago. The $1.41 million median sale price last month was down 8.8 percent from April and 5.8 percent from May 2008.

“The lower end of the housing market continues to be the hottest segment in Marin and elsewhere in the Bay Area, but gradually we’re seeing some signs of improvement in the upper end as well,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “Sales continue to tick higher and homes are selling faster than they have in nearly a year. We still have a ways to go before the market returns to normal, but we’re making progress.”

Turley said recent incentives for first-time home buyers are starting to make a dent in the excess inventory, but he said much more needs to be done to stimulate the housing market. He supports a series of recommendations made by the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations. Among other proposals, the organization recommended that policymakers:

Keep mortgage interest rates at historically low levels (below 5 percent) for at least one year;
Expand the current First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit incentive from an $8,000 cap to $15,000 for all homebuyers, remove the income restrictions and include all primary residence purchases for one full year;
Conduct a thorough review of current foreclosure mitigation and loan-modification programs in light of rising loan-modification re-default rates;
Make permanent the current temporary conforming loan limits; and
Continue to review and strengthen government efforts already underway to review and refine mortgage lending practices.

“Targeted, demand-side incentives – such as the ones Business Roundtable is recommending – are a critical next step for a housing recovery,” Turley said. “Not only would these measures provide a shot in the arm for the housing market, they would create additional jobs and boost the economy as a whole.”

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

The most expensive sale in Marin County in May was an eight-bedroom, seven-bath, 8,740-square-foot home in Ross that sold for $3.8 million;
Mill Valley boasted the most million-dollar sales in May with 11, followed by San Rafael with six;
It took an average of just 81.7 days to sell a million-dollar home in the county, down from 99 days last month but up from 77 days a year ago;
Homes sold for an average of 90 percent of their asking price, the same as last month, but down from 95 percent 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. The figures were derived from Multiple Listing Service data of all homes sold for more than $1 million.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage serves Marin County with seven 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; 1202 Grant Avenue, Novato; 711 Grand Ave. in San Rafael; and 1 Harbor Drive, Suite 110, in Sausalito. For more information, please call 925-275-3085.

About Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the largest residential real estate brokerage in Northern California, serves the markets of Sacramento/Tahoe, San Francisco/Peninsula, San Francisco Bay Area, and Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay. The company has 61 office locations and more than 3,690 sales associates throughout Northern California. Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company is widely recognized for its expertise in the luxury housing market. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company. NRT has more than 830 offices and 50,000 sales associates operating in more than 35 major metropolitan areas. A subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, NRT operates Realogy’s company-owned real estate brokerage offices. For more information please visit or call 925.275.3085.

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Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Stephen Maita

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