Monday, May 20th, 2013
Ready for another shocking overbid? Or maybe we don't get "shocked" anymore?
725 12th (3br/2ba, 1325 sq. ft.) is a nearly perfect little beach cottage inside, in a location that affords a quick walk to downtown, church and elementary school.
We said in our review:
It's a great example of the most you can do to a little 1950s cottage. Wide open, high ceilings in the great room, a modern kitchen – with marble, not granite – and attractive baths.
Those "must have" qualities sparked a bidding war when the home came out in April at $1.399M. Multiple multiples again.
What would happen?
First, look back. The same property had traded in very nice condition in 2008 at $1.187M, after a start at $1.400 and 100+ DOM.
But that was 5 years and a different style ago. The cherry wood cabinets and dark granite counters came out, and in came white marble, white cabinets, and pitch-perfect beachy styling.
Oh, and this one also had significant market exposure in 2005, asking as much as $1.500M in that bubbly year. But no sale then. It would be 8 years before those heights were reached.
Here's how it shook out in this wild Spring 2013: An MLS-reported sale price of $1,620,450, or an overbid of $221K (+16%).
That's really, really something for a 1325 sq. ft. house, almost $1,225/PSF. (The lot size is small here, too, at 3000 sq. ft.)
With apologies to "Field of Dreams," we'd say the lesson is: Make a little beauty perfect, and they will come.
A bunch of losing bidders on 725 12th made their way down the hill and toward town when 524 13th came up several days later at $1.550M.
That one, with more square footage but fully needing the kind of transformative remodel that 12th already had, also generated several bids and is in escrow. If things hold together, that one should close shortly, too.
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
We've got inventory at 55 now, heading toward Memorial Day weekend. We sense that the old rule about inventory dropping, and sales activity slowing, in June won't quite bear out this year. We're thinking Summer will be busier than expected. But still, this can be viewed as the last week of the Spring market.
468 34th (4br/5ba, 3525 sq. ft.) is Dave's new listing up on the plateau. Of course we think it's great, but we don't purport to offer "neutral" reviews of our own listings. So here's the official description, and here's hoping you'll come by during the open:
Your family will enjoy this lovely, newer Cape Cod on a quiet street of the Sand Section plateau.
Spacious common rooms on the first floor feature hardwood flooring, including an open kitchen/family room in back.
All four bedrooms are on one level, including master suite with fireplace and separate "his and hers" walk-in closets.
Upstairs, a family/game room opens to great deck with ocean peeks where you're sure to spend a lot of time. (Tax records count the top floor room as the fifth bedroom.)
This whole home has been refreshed with new paint and carpet and looks terrific. Wood shingles recently replaced with long-life Hardie shingles. Near new central vacuum unit.
Once you see this home, it's easy to feel the lifestyle pluses of a short walk to school, the beach and MB's "second downtown" in the North End. Start your summer off right with this great beach house!
The photos look great full-screen at the dedicated property website:
468 34th starts at $2.725M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
Time has been kind to 644 33rd (5br/5ba, 4225 sq. ft.), which had a rough time on the market when new 5-6 years ago.
Back then, it was a big spec house too far north – locationwise, and pricewise – for the market. They came out asking $3.4M and people just weren't buying $3M+ houses within a few short blocks of the refinery. The listing ran from Nov. 2006 till March 2008, and $500K was ultimately shaved off the asking price, as it closed for $2.875M – still rich, of course.
Since then, the landscaping has grown in to complement the home, and the current folks have really filled out and decorated the place wonderfully, so you can actually see the home's potential actualized. And it's terrific, deep, luxurious. (Though admittedly we've spent way too much time analyzing the description's claim that this home has "the panache to stand without pretense." Does it? Or is that a contradiction?)
Don't miss the huge basement home theater with bonus bed & bath.
For an "estate" on a street-to-alley lot, this one does lack much of a yard. The garage in back takes up a lot of the would-be outdoor space, so you really wind up with a nice sunny patio and a little grassy area.
Here we are in 2013, and the home looks better than ever, and people are paying around $3M – or more – for newer homes north of Valley. As we said, time has been kind.
644 33rd starts at $2.950M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
3305 Laurel (5br/5ba, 4300 sq. ft.) is another extra-big and serious home that had bad timing initially. They listed this one new at $3.750M in Summer 2007, and that was not going to happen. The property rented out instead for 5 years.
This one compares favorably against 644 33rd, which is just 2 blocks west. Both have similar specs, including big basements.
We said in our review 2 weeks ago: "There's no dismissing the ambition and quality of the construction here. It feels authentic and old-world."
3305 Laurel is priced at $2.799M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
3211 N. Valley (3br/2ba, 1450 sq. ft.) packs a lot of glamour into a smallish package, and hosts some nice surprises, like a quiet backyard and nice treetop views over the greenbelt.
This is a 1970s original that has been remodeled a couple of times in recent years. (Once by Dave & Mrs. MBC!) With the interior and exterior now fully modernized, you would hardly know the vintage.
There's a large master downstairs with a big bath, and 2br upstairs with the living spaces. Ceilings are high and vaulted and the living areas are bright, opening to a multi-level deck in back.
Sure, the home suffers from being along a busy street and somewhat far east and north. And it's not very walkable to school or downtown, but you can go under Sepulveda along the greenbelt and wind up at the MB Village mall. (In our 2003 remodel, to mitigate sound, we redid the front of the house and insulated the rooms, and it works pretty well.)
The $958/PSF on the start price ($1.399M) has us scratching our heads a bit. The lot is much smaller than normal for the trees at 2500 sq. ft. If this is comparable to some recent Rosecrans sales, that's a pretty penny. We'll see what they get.
3211 N. Valley starts at $1.399M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
1116 18th (4br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.) would seem to have some promise, but we haven't seen it yet. They posted the listing late Friday.
It's a decent size and they claim it's fully remodeled. Locationwise, it's got an issue, being right next to commercial property and in sight of Sepulveda. Still, at $1.050M, there's bound to be lots of interest.
1116 18th starts at $1.050M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
The biggest news in local real estate right now might be this weekend's Sophisticated Snoop tour. It's the 40th year, and your chance to see the triple-lot house on The Strand, as well as 4 other great homes.
True facts we just learned about the triple-lot house (212 The Strand):
- They call it "Beachwood"
- They cite influences including "the Caribbean, the American East Coast and the Far East"
- Materials used include flooring "rumored to be from Napoleon's stables"
- According to the Snoop flyer, there is an "underwater grotto"
This year's selection of homes offer a great reason to part with $35 this weekend. Tickets are available from several downtown stores if you missed the chance at presale. Check it out.
In other news, it's time for one of our twice-monthly Manhattan Beach market updates.
Here's the quick overview on active inventory:
- 51 active listings as of 5/15/13
- 34 SFRs
- 7 THs
Though that's hardly a lot of listings for MB, it's the most we've seen in any update this year. (And as of Friday morning, that total had hit 55 active listings.)
Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach:
- Tree Section: 10 actives
- Sand Section: 18 actives
- Hill Section: 7 actives
- East MB: 16 actives
You can see the complete report on active listings, with live links to every property, in this single post on our data blog: "MB Inventory as of 5/15/13."
We're also providing a report on pending and closed sales by region of MB.
Sales are organized by sub-region of Manhattan Beach.
Here's a link to the post on our data blog: "MB Pending/Sold as of 5/15/13."
For closed sales, we provide the past 6 months' worth of sales by region. This is the typical window of time used by appraisers.
Enjoy the new reports!
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
It was almost 2 months ago that one of the more amazing Spring bidding wars broke out.
That was at 1312 Walnut (3br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft.) a remodeled (and added-onto) 1950s cottage in a nice location on a corner near the elementary school.
This one launched at $1.599M, which seemed clearly to be pushing the limit for the property.
After multiple-multiple bidders came in, it went 10% higher.
The newly closed sale price: $1.760M.
We had said shortly after the deal posted: "[T]he sale price here will simply shock you when it closes. Imagine what's the most you'd think it could go for. Then add. Then a little more. Wow."
We can still say that pretty comfortably about $1.760M, but word is they had an even higher bid in place at one time. (All over town we hear and see examples of bidding war winners walking away for whatever reasons, so that part is not a big surprise.)
The same home last traded in May 2010 at $1.250M, and has been remodeled since.
For the subsequent 2+ years, this home, in remodeled condition, was probably a $1.35-$1.4M home. That it moved into the $1.5s this year was not a huge shock.
But $1.7+? $1.75+? We're still shaking that off.
Among the very recent sales of larger homes at around the same price:
- 1705 Pine (4br/4ba, 3125 sq. ft.) at $1.750M in Dec. 2012
- 1209 Oak (5br/5ba, 3125 sq. ft.) at $1.700M in Nov. 2012
- 3412 Pine (5br/4ba, 3160 sq. ft.) at $1.700M in March 2013
All of those had 1000+ more square feet inside. 1705 Pine is the closest thing, location-wise.
Or, reach quite a bit further back and you see:
- 1408 Poinsettia (4br/4ba, 3100 sq. ft.) at $1.675M in May 2010
- 1809 Walnut (5br/5ba, 3120 sq. ft., 2004 build) at $1.775M in Jan. 2011
- 2309 Pine (5br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft., 2001 build) at $1.775M in Sept. 2011
Each of those is fairly nearby, all much newer and larger homes. But those were different times, weren't they?
Here's a little more on 1312 Walnut from our review in March:
[1312 Walnut] hides most of its assets from passersby. The 1950s cottage with an add-on over the garage looks plain as could be from outside, and its yard is enclosed by a high fence. You could pass it 100 times and never take note of this home, though it's on a corner and is fully exposed on 2 sides.
But walk in and you're treated. Enter into the great room and a mid-century modern type feel kicks in at first, with floor-to-ceiling windows along the sunny western side of the home, making an already open room feel that much larger. The garden seems to be part of the room.
The kitchen (and master) is done up in a more French country style, which is attractive, if not everyone's cup of tea café au lait.
You feel the original cottage layout, with a central hall and bedrooms on either side, but what would have been your 3rd bedroom downstairs is a hybrid room – maybe a small study or library, with laundry just off of it and the stairwell up to the master as well. And that's a good-size master with modern-feeling bath.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
It was just 2 weeks ago that there were no listings in the Hill Section. Zero.
The Hills always run the lowest inventory in town, but zero – well, you can't get lower.
Now, a mix of new options has brought inventory to a whopping 7. Hey, it's a start.
And some options "look like" the Hill Section, offering the sorts of grand estates you'd expect to see.
The newest and grandest is clearly 620 8th St. (6br/7ba, 7250 sq. ft.), a Hill Section estate if there is one. (They've even named it, "La Belle Vue Estate.")
Built into a gently downsloping hillside, the home looks relatively modest from the front on 8th, but it goes back and back, and down and down, with 3 levels in total. (We almost missed the media room and 6th bedroom on the lowest level.)
There's a hugely spacious yard big enough for pool & spa, large covered outdoor room and a sunny grassy area as well.
The main (entry) floor is chock full of big and ornate entertaining spaces, ending at a bright, south-west facing balony that gets unobstructed PV and ocean views.
Yes, that's what you're supposed to get for $8M in the Hill Section.
The only competition for 620 8th St. is "Summerhill," a much longer-running listing that had negotiated a deal, but recently fell out.
Summerhill is also known as 250 S. Dianthus, spanning a third of an acre (call it nearly 3 lots) – that's a lot of land here by the beach – and built out in a detail-heavy, timeless, worldly fashion that echoes a great old European estate.
It's not exactly what you expect in MB, but its appeal is undeniable.
That's what they thought when listing at nearly $12M one year ago, watching the publicly listed price drop to the current $7.950M before negotiations got serious. They had a deal for 6 weeks but came back to market last week.
This listing hits the one-year mark this Friday. Maybe the timeless estate at this price point has a very narrow market (you think?). And that's too bad in a way, but they'll find the right folks to love and preserve it, we'd bet. In time.
511 Pacific (5br/9ba, 7960 sq. ft.) is playing with these big boys, asking $6.799M.
We gave quite a bit of attention to this home last week in "Between High & Low a 511 Pacific," calling it "a huge, totally unique megahome," and noting that its new offering price is a potentially very nice payday for the seller who bought it for ("just") $5.250M in July 2010.
Note: Tour, and you'll readily see that a single person lives in this 8000 sq. ft. house.
If you are looking to build a destination estate, 724 10th (8br/8ba, 7000 sq. ft.) might be your next move.
Somewhat like 620 8th, this home benefits from a big lot (10,500 sq. ft.) that drops off toward the south and west.
There should be good ocean views from this location, but right now they are available only to people in (one of) the (two) master bath shower(s). There, the views are outstanding. And the views from there pretty much make the argument for a reverse floorplan ("upside-down layout") to be built out on this site. The current house is not.
This home ran quite a while – call in 9 months – from late 2011 till May 2012. In fact, it quit 51 weeks ago, so the comeback in 2013 is nearly on the one-year anniversary of... well, do they celebrate anniversaries for failed listings?
Then and now, the listing language has been frank, touting the "tremendous potential to upgrade" this Southwestern. In 2011, they sought $5.9M, in 2012 it was down to $4.9M, but it's back now at $5.9M.
Also up near the top end you find new construction with ocean views at 1026 1st (4br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) at $3.5M (pictured; see our review here) and 200 S. Dianthus (4br/5ba, 3935 sq. ft.) at $3.4M, a decent home with some views that was offered for several months, on and off market, over the past year, at $3.7M with another agent. (We reviewed it in February this year in "Spring Rush Starts Out Pricey.")
The odd man out, as it were, is a new listing at 1023 Dianthus (3br/2ba, 1250 sq. ft.).
This is the only Hill Section listing in a non-view area. Indeed, the location is plainly sub-par, on a fairly busy stretch of Dianthus near MB Blvd. And the 1950s house really needs everything.
It's a probate listing starting (low) at $987K, but there could be a process here, even overbids at the court somewhere down the road. You have to think about 1026 Pacific, another older house several blocks west, with a bigger, view-potential lot – that one drew multiple offers and likely crested well past the $1.500M asking price.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
They've just closed an above-asking deal at 2417 Crest (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.), a rear-unit TH with great ocean views.
This is a bigger-than-standard TH at 2300 sq. ft., and they sought a bigger-than-standard $1,090/PSF when they first put a sticker on the home.
But those views, and the distinctive stlying, brought many suitors. And when that happens, prices jump.
In this case, from $2.499M to $2.575M, with an enhanced PPSF of $1,123/PSF.
This home, a 2002 build, got a thorough re-do with panache in 2009, and it's got several signature elements that stick with you.
Two unique features jump out: The long (14' long) built-in, modern dining table stretching from the kitchen – a bold statement that defines the home as an entertaining space.
Plus, a little back patio off the kitchen, which, as we said in our review back in March, "has been given marvelous purpose with disappearing doors and an indoor/outdoor countertop that merges the spaces when windows are folded away. Wide open, the little patio becomes a defining element of the home – fully a part of the living spaces, not some little deck you never use."
And our favorite, unique part of the patio – the "South African Braii-style fireplace." Don't call it a barbeque, please. This has just a little extra style.
When 2417 Crest first listed, it immediately brought to mind 2305 Bayview (4br/4ba, 2600 sq. ft.), a really, really smashing and complex modern remodel of a slightly bigger TH that sold for $2.3M in April 2012. That one hit $884/PSF.
Now trolling for buyers are a couple of other larger townhomes, each with ocean views and their own claims to distinction:
2905 Crest (4br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.), a newer build that has substantial and unblockable views over the front unit in the same building. If you view the listing, you see about 2/3rds of the photos are attempts to capture the ocean views at different times of day. So, yes, they are really trying to make a point.
It's also notably bigger than any typical "larger" townhome. Here we'd define 1600-1800 sq. ft. as typical when a TH shares a standard lot with another unit. Other times you get 2200-2500 sq. ft. with a different size lot or orientation. Well, this one's up to 3000 sq. ft., newer (2007 build) and well built in a serious Mediterranean style.
The listing started at $2.700M and has cut a whole $11K since then while running 6 weeks. So it's now at $2.689M, and $896/PSF.
The same TH sold new in 2007 for $2.625M, so they're looking for a little markup.... and looking... because it's at 44 DOM now.
We're also watching 2904 Highland (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.), a newer ocean-view TH with lots of bells and whistles, including a great room with big, big, big ocean views. (The listing boldly declares them to be "[a]bsolutely insane ocean views.")
The townhome itself has familiar qualities for newer construction and is not entirely unlike 2905 Crest in that way: dark hardwood floors, high-quality kitchen, very nice baths, etc.
2904 Highland was purchased new in June 2007 for $2.0M, but they've marked it up to $2.399M here in 2013, a figure which translates to $1,043/PSF, reaching for the heights just hit by 2417 Crest.
But 2904 Highland is 47 DOM into its run on the market, whereas 2417 Crest made a nearly immediate deal with multiple offers after it hit.
Maybe we should look at the factor staring us in the face here. It's not about PPSF or 2007 prices versus 2013. It's all about the Braii. Got it? Sold. Don't got it? Gotta wait.
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
Moms don't ask much, but they do like to get a little respect. And maybe a rose, or a nice brunch.
So this weekend we do our best to say "thanks," and typically the open-house caravan is shut down for Sunday. (What if mom wants to look at houses for kicks? There are some opens, after all.)
So focus your tours on Saturday, and focus on mom Sunday.
Modest little 1150 Keats (3br/2ba, 1275 sq. ft.) could be the must-see property of the weekend, simply because it presents an affordable entry-level option, is somewhat updated and conventional enough to draw fairly wide interest.
This single-level 1950s cottage last sold in March 2007 in very original condition and has been updated since. You still see the original hardwood flooring, but nicely refinished. The kitchen was probably opened up from a closed-up alley before, and now connects better to the family spaces in back. It's a more modern kitchen, if not 100% high end – just nice.
The one main living/dining room is bright, facing the south and getting lots of light from the sunny backyard. That yard – it's not huge, more like a patio plus grassy patch, but it's what you come to expect in MB.
Bonus: Standing up, we caught a glimpse of blue ocean over the rooftops of commercial bulidings on Sepulveda. It would seem you could get a little bigger ocean glimpse if building a second story. (At least while the neighbor to the south remains one story.)
Bedrooms include two behind a hallway door, which share a hallway bath. (No bedroom, "master" or otherwise, has its own bath.) The third is smallish and out of the way.
The baths were redone within the past few years, but while clean, they won't be to everyone's taste. (Marble tile covering all the walls, with a little colored stripe.)
You might think that a smallish home in sight of Sepulveda, with no true master and updates that could use updating would have less-than-average market appeal. But no. Here come the multiple offers.
1150 Keats starts at $1.075M and is open Sat. 1-3pm.
232 30th Place (3br/3ba, 1375 sq. ft.) feels like a former duplex with its separate-entry bedroom downstairs (with fridge and wet bar) and the exterior stairway up to the "main" entry upstairs.
It's got the notable liability of being along Highland (true story: the former address was 3009 Highland), but a nice perk of ocean views over the smaller house to the west.
The space is compact, as you might expect, and the updates plain and middle-of-the-road. To their credit, they're not selling this as a dream house, but as the "[b]est value in the sand section."
232 30th Place sold in 2005 for $1.225M, tried to sell unsuccessfully in both 2006 and (a lot of) 2007, then traded for $1.271M in early 2008. It's back now asking $1.250M. It is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.
421 32nd (4br/5ba, 4250 sq. ft.) is a 10-year-old Cape Cod on the plateau with a reverse floorplan – principal living spaces are on the top level, with 3br on the midlevel and another downstairs.
Dave has a very comparable listing right in the same area coming out next week (see this link), so discretion argues against MBC presenting a formal review right now. So we will stick to the listing description, which calls the home:
[A] refreshing coastal cape cod on one of North Manhattan's best streets, located just 4 blocks to the ocean on a family friendly cul-de-sac... [O]pen floorplan, featuring 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, with volume and natural light bathing the three-story staircase down to the entry. The top floor offers amazing openness perfect for entertaining and family time, with a gourmet cook's kitchen sure to be the hub of the home, boasting a Viking 48 inch open burner range w/ top-of-the-line S.S. appliances. Other highlights include the huge 19x15' ocean view deck in front, a copper mansard roof detail in front, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors throughout , and the relaxing beach room that opens to a private front patio. Each generous bedroom has an ensuite bathroom, highlighted w/a designer perfect Master Bedroom with spa like master bath. The home has a rare amount of storage and closet space, plus a 3-car garage and 3- stop elevator. All of this in a quaint package with modern conveniences, that is walking distance to the beach, North Manhattan restaurants, yoga, sand dune park & award winning Grand View Elementary.
421 32nd starts at $2.995M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
308 Manhattan Ave. (3br/3ba, 1700 sq. ft.) is an SFR with decent ocean views and a pleasant, remodeled feel – although the 2002 remodel may not match up all the way to current tastes.
You enter on the middle level up a flight of outdoor stairs, and this is really just 2-level living, not your typical TH layout with one bedroom stuck along with the garage downstairs.
There's really just the one common room serving triple duty: Kitchen, formal dining and your living room. It works, but could get cramped.
One bedroom on the level with the living spaces is somewhat small, but hey, it opens to a little patio with a bubbling hot tub.
Upstairs, each bedroom gets its own bath, but the master suite is really where it's at. Not only do you get lying-down views of the ocean over rooftops across the street, there's also a built-in office at the front corner, with views of the Pacific.
308 Manhattan Ave. last sold in June 2006 for $2.200M, and is offered now at $2.299M. It is open Sat. 1-4pm.
We don't normally discuss rentals, but the huge pricetag on El Porto's 224 39th caught our attention.
They're asking $21K/mo. for this remodeled half-lot home near Highland. Maybe that doesn't sound workable, but they've thrown in lots of extras: daily maid service, a personal chef on Tuesdays, and all the beach amenities you could ask for (surfboards, wetsuits, beach chairs, boogie boards, bicycles and skateboards).
It's more like a vacation hotel than a rental. A hotel that charges $700/night.
224 39th is open Sat. 1-4pm.
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
To say that 217 9th St. has been offered for sale for a long time might miss the point.
It came to market in February 2012, hoping to strike while last Spring's market was just starting to heat up.
But at $3M, this little 3br/3ba, 1700-odd sq. ft. modern on a half lot did not look like a deal. It began at $1,701/PSF, much higher than you'd find on The Strand.
The listing limped through Summer last year and only made a big, bold cut when a new agent took over in October.
That cut dropped the asking to $2.500M. Still steep.
Another 6 months passed, but now the little modern city house has closed for $2.250M. Officially, 309 DOM tolled for the property from Feb. 2012 through April this year.
Sure, that sale was 24% off the start price, but what does start price mean?
It's 25% off the last sale price. Now that means something.
Yes, as many people have noted with a figurative smack to the forehead, this 1700 sq. ft. house on an alley overlooking a raucous (if fancy) bar sold new for $3.000M way-back-when, in April 2008.
That simply never made sense, and now the market has shown how out of balance the first deal really was.
Lesson: Buy a fabulous new home downtown, and you might lose $750K if you're not careful.
We still find this house puzzling at any price, but to each his/her own.
In a post last year, for instance, we called it "[p]erhaps the most difficult property in the Sand now," calling it "a very sharp, but not very large, bit of modern/green architecture near downtown..."
We also said, "This one has always surprised us – the choice of location, limited bedrooms, tight space and high price. There are bath 'areas' within a couple bedrooms, rather than actual bathrooms." (See "What Lingers, and Doesn't, Near $3M.")
That, plus the layout upstairs being tight and intruded upon by the hanging fireplace.
We'll say this, though: It's distinctive, it's different, it's steps to everything and there are ocean views. It's no boxy 60s shack, maybe it's the wave of the future for downtown. Just not for $3M, this time.
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Sometimes it's great to be able to look back at a property's history not just with a couple of data points, but a few blog posts.
Such is the case with 511 Pacific (5br/9ba, and, yes 7960 sq. ft.), newly offered in the Hill Section, but with a track record on MBC.
This is a 2008 build that shot out of the blocks (in its framing stages) in May 2007, asking $8.150M.
It was back for a little stretch of 2008 at $8.0M, and for a long stretch of 2009 in the $6M range.
The listing was on and off for 2010 in the 5's, and the new home finally sold in July 2010 for $5.250M.
Lessons: Launching a huge, totally unique megahome while a financial crisis explodes is... tough. Also, there are lots of challenges, beyond timing, when building new.
Here we are now, 6 years after the first public listing, almost 3 years after the actual sale, and 511 Pacific is coming back to market. (And the stock market just hit eye-opening new highs.)
Asking price: $6.799M.
It's a price that befits a very large, distinctive Hill Section property. What they'll get – time will tell.
We did note that this price straddles the line between the ultra-ambitious start and the eventual sale price. The precise midpoint between those numbers is $6.700M.
So, dare we say, based on asking price, this one is somewhere right between the ambitious go-go days of the market's last peak and the more sobering reality of 2010. Otherwise you can say it's a 30% markup after 3 years.
About the house... we mentioned it had been a frequent flyer on MBC. We were always fascinated by the house. In "Pacific Connection," we took note of the property finally getting an offer (actually more than one, once the first came in). Here's how we summarized the home in that post:
511 Pacific – which actually rises above Ardmore, with the entry on Pacific in back – is absolutely unique, boasting huge (and unexpected) panoramic views from PV to Malibu and a ton of space spread all about a network of hallways and staircases. You could get lost in this maze of a house.
Much of the lower floor on the west side (with views) consists of the master, master bath, separate closet/dressing room (with extra bath) and yet another room that could be called a "sitting room" for the master, or a sizable private gym. That space would be a nice, bright living room or game room in any other home, but here it's really just for the master of the house.
Suffice it to say, the builders squeezed a lot of amazing, custom home onto this peculiar, inclined lot. Features like the media/theater room downstairs and disappearing window/walls (nanawalls) that open up the big views are state of the art.
This is one that truly has to be seen. The home is almost impossible to capture by mere photograph.
Last time around, 511 Pacific ran so long, they had to host several public opens just to try to expose it. This time, here's hoping they hold public opens by choice. It's a distinctive home worth your time to see, and your bucks if you've got 'em.
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Blame low inventory.
The one and only measure by which MB is not off to a gangbusters start this year is: The number of closed sales.
Not enough product, not enough sales. Evidence suggests MB is not lacking for demand at all.
To see some context, we looked back 10 years at the number of SFR sales in the first third of each year.
With 96 sales closing between Jan. 1-April 30 this year, we're slightly trailing the pace of 2012, and only barely above 2011. Really, the last 3 years look the same.
This year blows away the two popped-bubble years, 2008 and 2009, and is somewhat better than 2010.
But as bubbly as this year feels, it can't hold a candle to the 4 bubble years captured in our chart here. From 2004-2007, there were well over 100 sales each year in this same period – more than 140 in both 2004 and 2007.
Spring 2007 was a wobbly market, and not everyone was sure the bubble was popping at the time. You can see how the market was sending mixed signals then, with plenty of sales volume despite the weird buzz in the air at the time.
Prices are rising these days, no doubt. But sales are not, yet, while we wait for more supply to meet the eager demand we know is out there.
An interesting, additional point of reference for the imbalance between supply and demand: At this writing, Monday afternoon, we have 47 active listings (SFRs and THs) and 77 properties in escrow.
Last year, in late May, we mentioned the active/pending balance. Then, active inventory was 87 and pending sales totaled 79. (See "Pre-Summer Inventory Check-In.")
It's funny: To have 87 actives now would nearly double current inventory, but pending sales year over year would be flat, just like we see with closed sales now.
As we said, blame low inventory this year.