While the pipeline of new properties and overall inventory levels increases dramatically throughout most of Marin County, CA (this is the prime selling season, after all), Novato's inventory level has remained very steady over the past 3 months. Just 151 single family homes are currently for sale. There were 152 homes for sale in April 2009 and 142 in March 2009.
Novato's absorption rate (e.g., the number of months of inventory currently available in Novato) again dipped dramatically. In March, Novato had 7.9 months of inventory, in April there was 6 months inventory, and today there just 4.97 months of inventory. Absorption rates and the days on market averages provide a telling insight into the overall state of the market. Today's shrinking inventory evidences pent up demand and reflects increased affordability for Novato real estate. It is also noteworthy that the absorption rate calculation does not increased "contingent" properties as sold properties. There are another 83 homes in escrow in Novato. More on this striking statistic below.
Of course, there is ample value out there in virtually all price ranges. Prices in most Novato neighborhoods are back down to what they were in 2003 (and 2002, in some neighborhoods). Novato currently has thirteen active listings priced under $400,000 (Novato is Marin's "Valhalla of Value"). In addition, there are 26 homes priced under $500,000. Note that available inventory in these price ranges is way down and the percentages of homes in escrow is rising. For example, 63% of homes in Novato priced under $500K are in escrow; 51% of homes between $500K and $600K; 33% of homes priced between $600K and $750K; 30% of homes between $750K and $1 million; and 25% of homes priced between $1 million and $1.5 million. These are some strong numbers!
My prediction relating to phantom buyers (I've been talking about this for a year now) is coming true. I hold open houses almost every weekend and I talk to a lot of buyers.