Located north of San Francisco across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County is one of the Bay Area’s smallest counties in terms of size and population. However, what the area lacks in size, it more than makes up for in visual appeal and ease of everyday life. From the windswept bluffs of Point Reyes National Seashore to the incredible canyons of Muir Woods National Monument, Marin County is a magical place teeming with natural beauty that attracts people from all over the world. Because of this, it is no wonder why the area is home to some of the most affluent residents in the entire country.
Still, given the relatively small size of the county, the local real estate market is highly competitive, which means securing property in the area is fairly challenging. Fortunately, having a handy guide on the local market can help you land the Marin County home of your dreams.
Educate yourself on the Marin County real estate market with this ultimate guide.
Overview of Marin County
Due to the location’s geography, culture, and amenities, Marin County is a highly sought-after place to live. Given the county’s proximity to major cities, such as San Francisco, the area attracts all types of demographics looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big-city living.
Since many of the country’s most affluent residents have flocked to Marin County, the area is known for its wealth and opulence, which has driven up property values from the high demand and limited housing inventory. While not impossible, buying real estate in this Bay Area county requires a deeper understanding of the local market.
Marin County market trends
When analyzing market trends in any given area, it’s best to compare the current state of the market to what the market was like in previous years. Therefore, comparing the state of Marin County’s second quarter in 2023 to its figures in the second quarter of 2022 is a great start.
Currently, the median selling price for homes in this Bay Area county is around $1.78 million, slightly down 10.6% from the median selling price in the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, homes for sale in the area currently last an average of 14 days on the market, which is about 55.5% faster than how long they lasted on the market this same time last year.
Conversely, around 543 properties were sold in the second quarter of 2023, a figure down 27.5% from the amount sold in the second quarter of 2022. While these numbers are slightly down to what they were this same time last year, the local market is experiencing a positive momentum that is likely to rebound to the growth it saw last year.
Types of homes for sale in Marin County
Marin County is home to a wide array of home designs, from ultra-sleek ranch-style homes to sprawling Victorian estates. With such a diverse range of architectural styles, finding which type of house is right for you is incredibly important before starting your search. Other common types of homes found in Marin County include Mediterranean, Spanish, and Italianate styles, as well as Colonial and mid-century modern abodes. Of course, each style of house includes its own pros and cons and pricing requirements.
Best neighborhoods in Marin County
Although relatively small, Marin County still houses
several neighborhoods to call home. Notable neighborhoods in the county include the following.
San Rafael is a neighborhood in Marin County known for its waterfront properties and classic main street. Founded by the Spanish in 1817, San Rafael has served as Marin County’s historic heart ever since. Given the moniker Mission City, San Rafael is the county’s primary engine of government and commerce, making it even more attractive for professionals and government officials.
Novato is another popular Marin County neighborhood that attracts people from all over. Located in a wide-open valley along San Pablo Bay, Novato’s gentle slopes were once dotted with grazing sheep and remained largely agricultural until the late 1930s. Now, the area is home to many Spanish-influenced properties set against a suburban backdrop. Given the quiet nature of the many quaint cul de sacs and palm tree-lined streets, Novato serves as an excellent place to raise a family.
Mill Valley is another great option for people looking to buy a house in Marin County. This Bay Area neighborhood features redwood-shaded homes and quaint shops and markets. Starting as a rustic summer retreat for wealthy San Franciscans, Mill Valley is now a sprawling city boasting a small-town feel. Head over to the neighborhood’s downtown Depot Plaza to find a diverse cluster of shops and cafes. Furthermore, located just eight miles away from the Golden Gate Bridge, Mill Valley is a great place to live for people commuting to the greater San Francisco metropolitan area.
Competition in Marin County
As mentioned above, buyers entering the Marin County housing market are likely to face fierce competition. Many of the neighborhoods in the county are deep within a seller’s market, which means they favor sellers over buyers. While this is good news for sellers, it could discourage many buyers.
Thankfully, there are ways to navigate such a market and beat the competition. Whether you're a first-time buyer or not, owning your slice of paradise in Marin County is more than possible. If you’re looking for the best tips when buying a home in Marin County, then it’s crucial to contact a local realtor as soon as possible.
Get help with Marin County real estate
As shown above, educating yourself on Marin County real estate is incredibly important to secure a property in the area. From the county’s natural appeal to its grand estates, competition in the local market is fierce and competitive. Because of this, working alongside a knowledgeable local realtor is your best bet.
is a local real estate agent with years of experience buying and selling houses in Marin County. Using her knowledge of the local market, Beth has what it takes to beat the competition and land great deals on incredible properties in the area. If you’re looking for homes for sale in Marin County, then contact Beth today.
*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock