How Marin County Commercial Real Estate Has Changed Over the 2 Decades


For the casual observer, the Marin County commercial real estate market has changed only subtly in 20 years. For those who look closely, the changes are profound.

Twenty years ago, we had land, we were building buildings. Very few buildings have been added to the Mariner’s inventory over the past 20 years. Few companies are able to grow into businesses.

Twenty years ago, office space was more valuable than residential space. And we’ve seen houses, especially urban Victorian houses, being converted into offices. Today, residential real estate is most valuable and offices are being converted to residential uses.

Economically, rents have not changed much, but operating costs are higher. Consequently, the main driver of value has been the compression of capitalization rates.

Same with interest rates.

Twenty years ago, the commercial brokerage community had many more players, enough to run a golf tournament. And North Bay trading brokers met monthly to discuss issues and trends impacting the industry.

Today we barely work together and our ranks are probably half of what they were – and we’re getting old.

It would be great to see more young minds who are curious and interested in shaping their community entering the profession.

In twenty years, it will be very different from today. Climate adaptation, resource allocation, droughts and water issues, state regulation of local land use, traffic issues, wildfires, inequality, roaming, etc. are serious issues that are already impacting our built environment.

Hurry up, young minds: you have your work cut out for you.


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