Archive for the ‘Novato’ Category
We’re always looking for parks in Marin that have a lot to offer kids and families, and what we really like about Miwok Park in Novato are all the cool things for kids to do.Â The grassy field is perfect for throwing the ball around or playing soccer, and there are plenty of shady spots to get out of the sun. There’s a large play structure area and lots of picnic tables in the trees with BBQs, and the creek provides a great place for the kids to play. Then the really unique thing about the park is the Museum of the American Indian, which educates kids about the local Native American tribeâ€¦super cool. Parking can be limited for big groups but there are also spots in the surrounding neighborhood.
I almost hesitate to write about this place because I would hate to see it get overrun with crowds. Where else can you sit by the pool in Marin and have dinner and cocktails while watching your kids swim? Have dinner at Ricky’s Restaurant at Inn Marin and you don’t have to stay at the motel to use the pool. It’s great on a hot day and is perfect for birthday parties. The early evening we were there they had live music by the pool and people were dancing. Such a cool vibe and just what Marin needs, and the food was really good too. Â There’s a large grassy area for kids to run around too, right next to the pool. Hawaii in Marin? Don’t tell too many people about it:)
With all the rain we’re having it’s a perfect time to check out Marin County’s waterfalls, and Fairfax is a good place to start.Â One of our favorites is easy to get to and just a 10 minute walk from the road. Park at the top of Sir Francis Drake on the right as you hit the summit out of Fairfax and before descending into Woodacre. It’s a big waterfall and a nice hike for the kids or dog.
Also in Fairfax, Cataract Falls is one of the most popular in Marin and a good hike as well. There are a couple of ways to access it, and you’ll find good directions here.
Also, check out the waterfall at the end of Mountain ViewÂ Dr. in San Rafael’s Dominican neighborhood. It’s handy as you don’t really have to hike to get there.
And at the north end of the county there’s the Arroyo de San Jose Waterfall on the trail at the end of Fairway Dr. in Novato. It’s also a nice hike and fun for the kids.
And if you’re really into exploring all the waterfalls Marin County has to offer you might want to check out Waterfallswest.com. It’s now a pay site but looks to be the most comprehensive resource.
I don’t know very many people who haven’t been impacting by the economy.Â The financial crisis has significantly impacted our community and our day to day lives and spending habits.Â Despite that, most people I know are fortunate to have a roof over our heads and food on our tables. Sadly, many Bay Area residents aren’t as fortunate.
In the San Francisco Bay area, there are approximately 35,000 homeless people; In San Francisco, estimates put the number between 7,000-15,000, which is the highest per capita rate of homelessness in any major American city. *Â Affluent Marin County had more than 1770 homeless people living within its borders at least count in January 2009, with more than 3000 people on the verge of becoming homeless.**
Yesterday morning I was complaining about how cold it was as I had to defrost the ice on my windshield.Â I can’t imagine living on the streets ever, let alone in the freezing nights of winter.
This Saturday, December 4, 2010 volunteers will be gather to make and distribute 5,000 StreetPacks to bay area homeless adults and children who live on the street.Â The “StreetPacks” are backpacks filled with cold weather necesseties including gloves, hats, scarves, wool socks and rain ponchos.Â 5,000 Bay Area children hand write a personal holiday card to be included in the backpack. The backpacks will be distributed to 40 sites around the Bay Area, including Marin County, San Francisco, Richmond and the East Bay.
The event is run by Warm Wishes, a non-profit organization who describes it’s purpose as this:
Our purpose is for the homeless people to stay warm; perhaps to save a life. But our purpose, too, is for our volunteers to reap the rewards of looking into the eyes of a stranger, of coming closer to understanding his or her plight, andÂ filling with the feeling of doing good for others.
How you can you help?
- Volunteer: Join volunteers on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at Unity of Marin in Novato, 600 Palm Drive.Â 8am.Â Volunteers will assemble the backpacks and then go out into the community to personally deliver the StreetPacks to Bay Area homeless. Volunteers are asked to donate $10.00 or more to offset the cost of the backpack items.
- Donate: Donations can be made online at WarmWishes.org.
One casualty of the run up in real estate prices in Marin County in the mid 2000s was that staple of American real estate, the investment property. When home values got to a certain point the numbers just stopped working–no longer was it feasible (without a huge down payment) to buy a starter home or condo and have the rent from a tenant cover your mortgage, taxes, and other monthly expenses. But falling home prices and a fairly consistent rental market have made it possible again, at least for the time being.
For example, 3 bedroom, 2 bath units in Western Oaks III, one of the nicer townhome developments in Novato, have been selling in the mid $300Ks, after peaking around $600K back at the height in 2005 and 2006. They average around 1400 square feet, with 2-car garages, in a nice complex with two swimming pools. If you got one for say $350K and were to put 20% down, with a 4.5%, 30-year fixed loan your monthly outlay including the mortgage, taxes, and HOA dues would total about $2,000. A nice townhome in that development should rent for $2,000 or more per month, which would mean covering your costs or even possibly a little positive cash flow to maintain the unit and/or put in your pocket. This of course assumes you have the extra $70,000 for the down payment, and since you wouldnâ€™t be putting that money in another investment youâ€™d be forgoing whatever return you might have realized somewhere else. But in the right situation itâ€™s certainly interesting to think about, and nice to know the numbers at least are making sense again.
Itâ€™s important for anyone thinking about buying a condo or townhome to consider units in better developments, as there are big differences in desirability from complex to complex, and the right property will have more upside. And even within the same complex some locations are better than others. In Western Oaks III for example, units closer to the freeway come with substantial road noise, while those set back from 101 are much quieter.
And of course nobody can predict with certainty what the housing market will do in the next couple of years, though there does seem to be some stabilization in the lower price ranges lately, as buyers have been snapping up distressed properties and the entry level segment has been relatively active. ï»¿
After last week’s rain, it finally feels like summertime with warm weather and the return of sunshine.Â Â One of my favorite parts of summer is fresh produce and of course, the community atmosphere of farmers’ markets.
The Novato Farmer’s Market kicks off this Tuesday.Â The downtown farmer’s market will be open on Tuesday eveningsÂ from 4 to 8 pm.Â The market runs from May through September in historic downtown Novato on Grant Avenue between Machin and Reichert.
The Novato’s farmer’s market is a true community market with local Novato merchants like Flourchylde Bakery, Mediterranean Delight, J & T Jams, Kettle Thai, and the Ultimate Souvlaki.
Local residents come out to enjoy great fresh produce, dinner from downtown merchants and live local music.Â It is a great weekly event for adults and children.
Farmer’s Markets are a great way to get fresh produce locally grown. Marin County is fortunate to have a number of great farmer’s markets on all different days. These are often great outings as many of them offer live music, games for kids, and a fun social atmosphere in additional to lots of fabulous locally grown produce! Each farmer’s market has its own special flare, so try out more than one. My personal favorite is the Thursday night event in downtown San Rafael.
- When: Wednesdays, 12 noon-5pm, year-round
- Where: Corte Madera Town Center, Hway 101 & Tamalpais
- More info: shoptowncenter.com
Fairfax Farmer’s Market
- When: Wednesdays, 4pm-8pm, May-September
- Where: Bolinas Avenue Park
- More info: marinfarmersmarket.org
Larkspur Landing Farmer’s Market
- When: Saturdays, 10am-2pm, May-October
- Where: Larkspur Landing, off Sir Francis Drake near the Larkspur Ferry terminal
Novato Farmer’s Market
- When: Tuesdays, 4pm-8pm, May-September
- Where: Historic downtown Novato, Grant & Sherman
- More info: marinfarmersmarket.org
San Rafael Farmer’s Market- Civic Center
- When: Thursdays & Sundays, 8am-1pm, Year-round
- Where: Marin Civic Center, Hway 1010 & San Pedro East
- More info: marinfarmersmarket.org
San Rafael Farmer’s Market- Downtown
- When: Thursdays, 6pm-9pm, April-September
- Where: Downtown San Rafael, 4th Street between Lincoln & B Street
- More info: marinfarmersmarket.org
Sausalito Farmer’s Market
- When: Fridays, 4pm-8pm, May-October
- Where: Sausalito Ferry Landing at Bridgeway
- More info: Sausalito.org
This market profile is a snapshot of what is happening in Novato. Home prices have climbed in recent weeks. The days-on-market and the listing inventory have been decreasing while the Novato Market Action Index has been flat, not providing a strong indication of conditions for the Novato real estate market.
Novato Real Estate Market Update
There are currently 226 homes* for sale in Novato, California. There are 80 homes under contract.
|Median List Price||$671,950|
|Highest Priced Home in Greenbrae (single family)||$2,995,000 1200 Cabro Ridge, Novato|
|Lowest Priced Home in Greenbrae (single family)||$354,900 2577 Topaz Drive, Novato|
|Asking Price per Square Foot||$333|
|Average Days on Market||163|
|Percent of Properties with Price Decrease||48%|
|Median House Size (sq ft)||2,095|
|Median Lot Size||8,0001-10,000 Sq Feet.|
|Median Number of Bedrooms||4.0|
|Median Number of Bathrooms||2.5|
|Market Action Index||15 – Cold! Buyer’s Market|
The Market Action Index answers the question: “How’s the Novato Real Estate Market?” By measuring the current rate of sale versus the amount of inventory. Index above 30 implies seller’s market conditions. Below 30, conditions favor the buyer.
Novato Real Estate Market Data effective as of March 30, 2009. Data provided by AltosResearch and Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc. Are you a Marin real estate junkie? Sign up to receive very detailed real-time market reports in your email. Just register and let me know which neighborhoods you are interested in. Download a sample report.
Single Family homes under contract in Marin County July 2008 compared to Marin homes under contract in July 2007 (more…)