Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
The story is one we keep writing over and over: Houses that couldn't sell before, have sold recently.
Does it always happen, though?
How about one of the most difficult listings from 2012? How will it fare now that it's back?
And how about its new price increase? Will that stand up?
We're talking here about 1701 Gates Ave. in East MB.
The listing fairly dares this market to prove that everything really is different in 2013. Approaching one year since it debuted, the listing has now increased in price by 13%.
In May 2012, 1701 Gates (4br/3ba, 3390 sq. ft.) launched at $1.598M.
No action through Summer. It went on "hold" in August.
In October, 1701 Gates returned $100K lighter at $1.498M.
The listing ran another 5 months like that, with no takers. It went on "hold" again in March.
Tuesday, Gates came back, guns a-blazin'.
The price is up $200K to $1.698M.
Oddly, the listing still begins with the words: "PALATIAL! PRICE REDUCED!!"
But no, it's up 13%. They might fix that language later.
This home has lingered based on location (far east, and along busy Redondo Ave. – check it out in Streetview) and due to the fact that it's a 1981 original which, while well preserved, seems blank and wants a lot of updating.
The very formal furnishings in the dated home make it hard to evaluate. (For some reason the pics aren't showing now on MBC, so try browsing them on Redfin.) The yard is also a bit cluttered (whoops, the description calls it "lush") and not, seemingly, well integrated with the living spaces.
It's easy for people to say "no" to a house with question marks, but this year, the mere availability of a house seems to be all you need.
So, market: 1701 Gates has issued a challenge. How do you respond?
Monday, April 15th, 2013
Is the frenzied real estate atmosphere we're seeing almost everywhere today inflating a new bubble?
We liked seeing that Redfin, a consumer-friendly real estate firm if there is one, took on that question with some nerdy – but accessible – analysis. (Click here for Redfin's report.)
Redfin's conclusion: Mostly no bubble, but maybe a "mini-bubble" in some markets. Otherwise, the elements that overinflated the last bubble are absent.
Instead, Redfin sees a more classic supply/demand imbalance driving prices up. They don't see the same kinds of off-kilter factors breaking home values away from fundamentals as we saw last round. They even summarize their take in this handy chart:
So buyers are more real, credit is reasonable or tight – if cheap – and the main things Redfin focuses on is good ol' supply and demand.
The report says "There’s no doubt that this market feels similar in many ways to the bubble of 2005 and 2006, but a real estate bubble is more than stiff competition among buyers and rapidly rising prices."
Here in MB we can certainly appreciate the basic points: Low inventory is creating stiff competition. Prices appear to be rapidly rising.
And we're seeing same-house sales begin to routinely hit 2007 or 2006 prices, basically peak-bubble prices... and that, in the first full year of this new, er, maybe-bubble.
Redfin says from its big-picture perspective that neither trend (low inventory everywhere, rapid price rises) is "sustainable." More inventory will emerge and price gains will calm. They think.
Over at the Economist earlier this year, they took on the question of whether a new bubble was inflating. (See "The return of the bubble?" from January.) While views reported in the article varied, we got hung up on this passage:
[I]t's possible that the coastal markets that nurtured the last bubble may help inflate a new one. Yet supply may be less tight in those places this time around. On the one hand, many homeowners may use the increase in market liquidity to exit from mortgage contracts taken on during the last boom, and possibly from homeownership altogether, providing a flood of "shadow inventory" that holds prices down. On the other hand, coastal markets may be more willing than normal to respond to higher demand with increased supply.
What they're trying to say is that markets like MB's may get too hot, too quick, but we'll inspire a whole bunch of new sellers just by having a hot market, and this will calm things down.
That's almost a testable hypothesis. Let's track it this year and into the future.
Saturday, April 13th, 2013
Everyone wants more choices – and they're coming.
East MB seemed to debut the most listings this week, so we'll start there. The Sand and Hill Sections: A shutout for the past week. Hey, folks, are you holding back?
To plan your weekend open-house tours, try this Redfin map list of open houses – sort by price or sub-region of MB by clicking the title on a column.
Or click here for the new-format Beach Reporter list of opens.
1430 3rd (5br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) is new construction on a great, low-traffic block tucked away so near to school, and yet so far away. It's a great family-friendly location, and a quality Cape Cod with everything that's "now" beckoning buyers to make it theirs.
A wide-open first floor, plus-sized rooms, smashing, high-end kitchen, great room opening to the backyard, with a great, covered outdoor seating area with heaters. The public spaces are just terrific.
Upstairs, the master will have unobstructed views of downtown LA and the Santa Monica mountains on clear days. (It was foggy when we toured, but we believe that.) The lot is somewhat elevated, helping those views and allowing the huge 3-car garage to be partly buried, limiting its impact on the living spaces.
The start price of $2.695M here is going to make it harder for buyers to say "yes" – even if their hearts scream it – and it does seem to be a price that would set a new precedent. The square footage is actually a tad under 4000 and the lot size, at 6640 sq. ft., is 10% below the "full size" of 7500 sq. ft. that you find in other comparable sales in East MB. In general, any sale in East MB in modern times over $2.5M has had 4300+ sq. ft. and full size lot. But really none had the crowd-pleasing qualities of this one. And none was new in 2013. So we'll see if they can stick that ambitious landing here.
What matters first and foremost, after location, is the build quality and style. And here it looks like all A's.
1430 3rd starts at $2.695M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
Hiding behind a fairly bland facade at 1622 9th (5br/6ba, 4525 sq. ft.) is a cacophonous display of bold, custom colors and decor, including the eggplant/purple kitchen, resounding yellow living room and multicolor patterned dining room – to name just a few of the wild directions this one goes.
You'd never learn from the listing description what to expect – it speaks in straightforward language about the granite counters, high ceilings and light rooms. Though it does call the home a "must see" and notes that it was recently featured in a local magazine... Well, be prepared if you "must see" it.
This is the third week running that the "most unique home of the week" award goes to an East MB house. We don't even award that every week, but recently there always seems to be something differenter enough to justify that distinction.
This is one heck of a way to break the spell of a big, cookie-cutter home that was probably all beige with beige carpets to begin. (Oh, did we mention the purple striped carpeting upstairs? Yes, now.) It will really take some imagination for buyers just to begin to consider the home with a more mainstream presentation.
Oh, right, the home itself... You know this layout, but with 4500+ square feet on a 7500 sq. ft. lot, everything's bigger. The spare bedroom downstairs is big enough to be a spare family room. The often-forgotten formal living room is big enough for an indoor basketball game. There's room for a nice interior patio framed on 3 sides by french doors – it's a very private indoor/outdoor space that might actually serve best to brighten up the downtairs common areas. After all, there's more covered patio in the ample backyard just beyond the great room.
We couldn't put a finger on why, but we did not love this particular block of 9th St. Maybe it was because we had just been on the truly treasurable block of 3rd with the new construction we discussed just above, and almost any East MB block would pale by comparison to that one.
1622 9th starts at $2.179M and is open Sun. 2-5pm.
1605 Meadows (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) really needs everything, and if not for the price ($999K), might be a candidate for one of the fix-and-flip crews that are out there to grab and remodel.
It's a 1947 original with an addition over the garage from perhaps 40 years ago. A charming touch when we toured was a photo from 1945-46 while the home was just being built along a dirt road. It's almost worth the tour of this home just to catch that glimpse into the past.
The home shows its age – flooring is original and scuffed, an old wall was removed from the 3rd bedroom to create an open kitchen/dining space, lots of fixtures are old, windows mostly single-pane – and so on. But you can see potential for giving the place a once-over. The rooms will still be smallish, the first floor layout a bit unusual, and the home can't be taken off the somewhat busy street, but you could have a decent home for perhaps $1.2M or so.
Points of comparison among some of the recent, comparable flipper remodels: 1159 Chestnut (3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.) at $1.159M when complete and 1605 Harkness (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.), a showpiece that sold for $1.095M.
Disclosure: Dave has toured 1605 Meadows with a client.
1605 Meadows starts at $999K and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
725 12th (3br/2ba, 1325 sq. ft.) is fresh, bright, private and close to town, with a pinchable "beach cottage" feeling inside.
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.
There's also more outdoor space than you'd expect, with a very sizable and private deck off the great room over the garage, plus a very respectable backyard with faux grass and attractive landscarping around the edges.
This place is refreshed and beach-modernized from its state when last sold in 2008. Back then, it traded for $1.187M after listing at $1.4M.
Now it's listing at $1.4M, or $1,060/PSF – Sand Section prices for a home on a Sand-like lot in the Martyrs area with no views. Hey, it's 2013.
Disclosure: Dave has toured this property with a client.
725 12th starts at $1.399M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
738 Rosecrans (4br/3ba, 2200 sq. ft.) is a reasonably sizable and comfy 2-story remodel with a cute front patio and yard area.
We liked the wide-open, long kitchen along the middle of the home, with a built-in dining nook. (No big, fussy formal dining area here; if you have a crowd, you're entertaining outside.)
There are 2 separate living/family rooms – one at the front of the home opening to the patio, and a much smaller one in back which suffices for an evening of reading or TV. Indeed, a larger back room seems to have been divided in half to create the smaller media room plus a home gym – one of these counts as the 4th bedroom with a closet – and you'd imagine removing that diving wall if you wanted a big, open family space in back.
Upstairs the master suite is probably half the floor, and the 2 extra bedrooms – sharing a hallway bath – are just enough.
We read and noted in the pics that the home featured a lot of oak wood and other wood trim, and worried that it might have a bit too much of a throwback feel. The listing description's reference to it as a "country house" further raised a worry, but in person, "warm" was more the feeling than "dated" or "out of place."
These days every homeowner along Rosecrans wants to be 610 Rosecrans, the utterly smashing modern rebuild that sold immediately recently and will set a new record price along Rosecrans for some time to come. That one listed at $1.399M and sparked a frenzy. Watch the sale price go up from there.
738 Rosecrans starts much more in line with the comps at $1.203M (203? Really?). It is open Sun. 1-4pm.
Disclosure: Dave has toured 738 Rosecrans with a client.
Friday, April 12th, 2013
You see examples all around this year of homes with a recent history of not selling, which are able to sell here in 2013.
Add 2603 Pacific to the list.
This little remodeled cottage (3br/2ba, 1450 sq. ft.) on a busy street faltered in a 5-month run on the market in 2011.
It's got its charms, to be sure. Behind that ho-hum, 50s/60s cottage exterior there is a surprising and bold remodel, featuring fully updated kitchen and baths and open ceilings.
They launched at $1.199M two solid years ago, in March 2011. The listing hung around, cut twice to as low as $1.099M, and quit in August.
It didn't help that a comparable house – less attractive or remodeled – right across the street was being offered at the time for at least $200K less. That neighbor, 2602 Pacific, ultimately sold for $860K in Sept. 2011, or $240K less than the last list price on 2603.
But fast forward just a little here, "only" two years later, and the market's different.
Someone contacted the listing agent from the 2011 listing and said, "Do you think the owners of 2603 Pacific would sell now?" And the answer was "yes."
The sold price, posted Friday morning: $1.300M.
Repeat: This home failed to sell after 5 months of exposure at a price $200K lower just 2 years ago. And here it is, snapped up off-market, at a notable markup.
Yes, this year is different.
It may also be worth recalling now the situation with a neighboring home.
The new MB city manager bought 2913 Pacific (3br/2ba, 1900 sq. ft.) for $1.080M early in 2011 and launched a remodel. (Technically it was $1.015M for the house, $65K prepaid toward the remodel.)
The city of MB is a 50% co-investor/owner of the home. Maybe we were a little skeptical of the city helping an employee buy a house (see "A Pricey Perk on Pacific"), but at this moment, with the sale at 2603 Pacific, it looks like the city's up some money.
So who says bureaucrats can't be visionaries, or figure out markets?
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
There is a lot of construction going on around MB. It's hard to miss.
Most of it is custom work for owner-users. There are some spec builds here and there, typically higher-end, but they're spread out. There's not one big source of financing out there driving a full wave of new construction, as we have seen in past years.
But there is one unabashed set of speculative builds out there, a group of homes that – back in 2011 – actually brought back the idea of spec construction to MB, after about 4 years without new projects breaking ground.
One of those has now posted a deal at a list price that is the highest for the whole crop of spec homes by the same builder. That's 1605 Pine, a 5br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft. home on a smallish, 4250 sq. ft. lot. (Pictured here.)
We've seen this one on the market before, from Sept. 2011-March 2012, at $1.799M. The listing quit and the property rented out.
1605 Pine came back last week at $1.899M, and now has a deal, which was posted at the same time as a price increase to $1.999M.
We have to go way back to April 2011 for MBC's first post about this string of homes, which we dubbed the "Speedy Speckies" due to the breathtaking speed of the startup on the first 5 or 6 homes. (See "Speedy Speckies Sprout.") It was like an assembly line as that first set got built, with demo, foundations and framing accomplished almost overnight at several sites.
As it happened, "speedy" was also how they completed the homes, just a few months from bulldozer to certificate of occupancy.
In May 2011, the first speckie, 2516 Pine, listed at $2.2M, to giggles. There hadn't been a $2M+ sale of a typical spec home in the Tree Section in more than 2 years at that point. The price quickly changed to $2M and the listing was soon joined by 5 others by the same builder.
Quick Tree Section spec history note: We count 1901 Walnut as the last $2M+ "typical" spec home of the last cycle, selling for $2.150M in Feb. 2009; 2103 Elm shot for $2.2M afterward but went down to $1.9M in June 2009. A prime spec on a prime street, with a large lot, at 2401 John, sold for $2.275M in Dec. 2009.
So here's what has gone down with each of the Speedy Speckies that we have tracked so far:
- 2516 Pine (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) (pictured here) was the first one to launch. It had a Caliterranean style typical of most of these. It sold for $1.775M in Feb. 2012, several months after first hitting the MLS.
- 2600 Pine (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.), in a "colonial" rather than Caliterranean style, sold in March 2012 for $1.799M.
- 2610 Maple (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) sold in Sept. 2012 for $1.899M, the highest price to date for any of these homes.
- 3613 Maple (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) sold for $1.599m in March 2012, the lowest price among these similar 5/5/3200 homes.
- 1605 Pine (5br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft.), as noted above, ran part of 2011-12 at $1.799M, quit and rented out, and now is newly in escrow, listed at $1.999M.
- 1601 Pine (5br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft.), also a "colonial," listed for part of 2011-12 at $1.799M down to $1.749M, quit and rented out.
- 2600 Oak (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) listed 6 months in 2012 at $1.799M down to $1.699M, returned for a bit in 2013 at $1.699M, quit and rented out. (2600 Oak pictured here.)
- 807 Boundary Place (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) listed from July-October 2012 from $2.199M down to $1.999M, quit and rented out.
- 1021 33rd (5br/3ba, 3600 sq. ft., on an unusual, 7000+ sq. ft. triangular lot) listed in mid-December 2011 at $1.699m, raised the price to $2.1m, and ultimately sold off-market for $1.500M in May 2012. (See our post on the sale.)
One of the unifying factors among all these speedy speckies was the very low lot values that prevailed at the time most of the land was acquired for the projects. Lots were purchased for about $800K in many cases, $700K in one case. We'll all look back at the time when Tree Section lots were that far under $1M with a nostalgic feeling.
The same crew is also bringing out 1768 1st St. (5br/5ba, 3600 sq. ft. on a 6225 sq. ft. lot), almost the last lot on the block of 1st St. in East MB before Aviation. Its asking price, pre-completion, recently jumped from $1.799M to $1.999M. (Bullish!)
And we have a feeling that's not the last of the bunch we'll see. Why would it be? They're defying the naysayers, and starting to rake.
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
It's been a long time since $5.6M for a 100-block house by the beach seemed like a peak never to be reached again.
The new peak is more like $6.6M, a million-dollar difference in just 5 years. And most of those 5 years weren't "good" years for Manhattan Beach real estate.
That first peak was marked out in March 2008 at 200 19th St. (5br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft.) a spectacular new Cape Cod on one of the great "teen streets" near downtown. (We call it a "100-block" house because it would be 136 19th if the city didn't re-order the addresses to the 200s starting there; with no Manhattan Ave. cutting through the teen streets, a lower 200 is as good as a 100.)
200 19th sold new for $5.6M, and then the world collapsed. (If you'll allow us some dramatic license.)
Somewhat recently, we started to see sales get into that territory again.
You saw new 121 9th sell pre-completion in December 2010 for $5.6m, according to tax records. (We have reported that sale on MBC at $6.2m based on developers' info regarding the value of some additional work/upgrades taken on by the buyer. [See "New High-Water Mark Near Downtown."])
Next it was new 128 6th, sold new, pre-completion, at $5.595m in Jan. 2011.
Fast forward a bit to 2012, and it was 128 18th (5br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.), new construction in a "tropical contemporary" style in one of the best locations in town.
They shot high, asking $6.1M to begin.
The sale wasn't quick – 5 months on market – and it didn't crack $6m.
The sale price in July 2012: $5.650m.
Last year there was also not-quite-new, maybe better-than-new, sale that also could not seem to break past the $6M threshold: 128 5th, which sold in June 2012 for $5.850m.
That one's somewhat different as a comp, in that it was fully furnished and customized at very great cost, though never lived in.
It hit the market at $6.799m in Spring 2012, but obviously fell far short of that goal in the sale price. (See "128 5th Closes Under $6m.")
A new home at 209 16th clocked in at a reported $5.300M in October last year. (Not a 100-block address, but, again, kind of close in that 16th St. has no Manhattan Ave. cutting through.)
So, up through last year, no one seemed to be able to hit $6M.
And then it became 2013.
For a while, off-market, they were shopping 120 5th, a builder's custom residence with 4br/6ba, 5000 sq. ft., some of that from a vast basement, including movie theater.
Plenty of people got their looks in 2012 and the early parts of this year.
But it was only after the place hit the public market that they posted a deal.
Closed sale: $6.600M as of last week.
Behind that premium: Yes, the extra plus-plus square footage, but something else.
There's said to be a deed restriction on the property to the west which precludes its being built up and blocking views from 120 5th.
What's the value of a protected-view premium? Whatever someone will pay.
We certainly know of cases where neighbors buy the smaller homes to their west to prevent view blockage, and that can cost $1M-$2M or more, depending.
There's one more new escrow with a high-6's number attached.
That's 116 25th, which came and went so fast in late March, you'd be excused if it didn't hit your radar.
This is also a bigger-than normal home thanks to subterranean space, with 5br/5ba and 5000 sq. ft.
Location? Nearly at The Strand, with a walkstreet on one side, the corner at Ocean Ave. (no neighbor to west, in other words) and a fully built Strand house across the way that seems "low" and affords even better views from the top level of 116 25th.
And oh, what a top level that is – very high ceilings, tons of windows, a big deck that integrates into the living space. You get up there and say, "Oh, yes."
They launched this one at $6.995M and along came a buyer, quick.
Others have publicly discussed the buyer's identity, but we won't go that far, just to say that we hope he can figure out how to use Pau in the next few games.
So, to recap: Some have tried, but failed to hit $6M previously for a 100-block home, including when offering a fully outfitted, customized, furnished home.
Now it's been hit twice in a month, albeit with super-size properties with unique view bonuses.
Whatever it takes, the $6M threshold is history.
Saturday, April 6th, 2013
With Spring Break this week, we didn't exactly have a "moratorium" on new listings (har, har), but out of the 11 new listings for the week, compared with 21 new listings the prior week. Only 3 are actually opening their doors to John Q. Public this weekend for the first time.
There's this hypothesis that you want to avoid listing or having your opens during Spring Break because "everyone's gone." Kind of like how you should avoid listing during "Ski Week" in February – because everyone looking to buy in Manhattan Beach already lives here and has kids in school and is tracking the school schedule. Mmmm hmmmm.
Here's hoping for more next week.
This time, you have a good mix, including a very different kind of place in East MB, 1500 1st, the first listing we've reviewed below. Check that one out for sure.
To plan your weekend open-house tours, try this Redfin map list of open houses – sort by price or sub-region of MB by clicking the title on a column.
Or click here for the new-format Beach Reporter list of opens.
1500 1st (4br/6ba, 2400 sq. ft.) easily wins our "most unique" award for the week, and that's the second week running for East MB.
What's special here is the 1 1/2-size lot, nearly 11,650 sq. ft. in all, combined with a pleasant, reserved, one-level home and tons of outdoor living options.
The home is a U-shape around a courtyard, with a vast and flat grassy yard area beyond it all. The grassy area is set up now as a volleyball court, more than full size. There's great landscaping around the perimeter and a large, waterfall/water feature along the back wall.
Also outdoors: A sunken hot tub, an outdoor room with heaters overhead and a TV on the wall, a built-in barbeque and a separate outdoor bar with beer tap.
This is a place to have fun outside.
The inside's not bad, either. The main, central living room, opening to the courtyard in back, has high ceilings, lots of light and nice, newer wood flooring. Three bedrooms are off in one wing, while the other side of the house hosts the large, tastefully updated kitchen and dining area. A smaller fourth bedroom suite is tucked away.
A simple, lovely one-level house with a big yard isn't so uncommon in various parts of the country, but in MB this one qualifies as a rarity – and a gem in this case.
This one is right across the street from Pennekamp elementary, but we'll bet you've never taken note of it, and we're certain that anyone who hasn't been invited over has no clue what's behind the gates. We'd note that Peck Ave., just to the west, can be a busy neighborhood street, but the backyard is buffered against Peck by a very high wall to block out sound.
1500 1st starts at $2.100M, reflecting the elevated land value with the 1 1/2 size plot, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
2905 Crest (4br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.) is a large ocean-view TH built in 2007.
The quality and finish details inside help sell the place – the views and covered patio off the living room could make it a "must have."
We were surprised by the layout at first – the lower level has 2br sharing a hallway bath and another huge room downstairs was set up like the master. Huge room, ample closets... but, alas, no bath. That room shares the hallway bath with the others.
Turns out, you do get a quality master suite on the middle level, with 2 walk-in closets and plenty of light. That first floor room that posed as a master is converted from a media room. So count this as 3br plus media room, or 4br with that new quasi master.
It's the top floor where the best is to be found. Top-quality wood flooring, a huge and open great room, high ceilings (12 feet in the front portion), a fully modern kitchen. This is a great living space.
This is the rear unit of a 2-TH complex, so your views are over the roof of the neighbor to the west. Maybe you could say the roof is "visible" but, more importantly, the views are unblockable, as the hill drops down steeply from Crest.
Note: The MLS entry for this property doesn't seem to be proliferating properly on the internet. Most sites don't display it, so we're linking to Zillow in this case.
2905 Crest first sold new near (or at) the peak of the local market for $2.625M. Much like the 2007 sales we referenced in our recent post, it's shooting for its 2007 price now, and seemingly doesn't look crazy doing so.
The most comparable TH has to be 311 32nd (3br/3ba, 3075 sq. ft.), which sold twice last year (!), first for $2.6M (in April), then $2.8M (in December).
2905 Crest starts at $2.700M and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.
1301 Pine (5br/4ba, 3150 sq. ft.) becomes the third "right down the middle" listing of a Tree Section family home to hit in the last couple of weeks. By that we mean relatively newer construction (2000) with a decent location, the "it" floorplan of the past 15 years (big great room in back) and just the right amount of bedrooms and common space, all under $2M.
This being the Trees, there's not much yard, more of a glorified patio in back. (The outdoor fireplace does glorify it; the pebbles in lieu of grass help make it classy, too, but a "yard?" – no.)
What separates 1301 Pine from recent offerings like 2009 Elm and 1409 Pine is that this one is no Caliterranean, it's a "California Craftsman" (per the listing), a nice place with shingles instead of stucco, if we can get past the label.
You've seen this house. Enter into the 2-story living room, there's one guest bedroom tucked away up front, a formal dining room off to one side as you walk back, and a nice great room toward the backyard. Here the formal living room is sunken by a step (not everyone's favorite) and the wood flooring is a very light maple – perhaps the one aspect that dates the house as a 90s creation rather than a "now" sort of place. (Cherry wood stained cabinetry in the kitchen, by contrast, does feel more current.)
Upstairs, the master in back has high ceilings and a tranquil, treetop view. There are 2 bedrooms sharing jack-and-jill bath, and another suite up at the front. (We told you you've seen this house.) A bonus: There's also a separate, dedicated office upstairs.
We've seen plenty of 5br homes of recent vintage that were forced to 3100 or so square feet like this one (due to the 4480 sq. ft. lot size) where some rooms got squished. Secondary kids' bedrooms seem to bear the brunt of space compromises in other homes. But here, we don't see the loss anywhere upstairs; the kids' rooms are fine. Only the 1st floor guest room is on the smaller side.
Another bonus: Epoxy-covered garage floor plus built-ins.
1301 Pine starts at $1.949M, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
The last great housing bubble inflated in Manhattan Beach in the early part of the last decade.
Roughly speaking, things got interesting in 2002-03, eye-opening in 2004, head-smacking in 2005 and bonkers in 2006-07, before things got wobbly and we saw some deflation.
Now that the market is rebounding, and occasionally shocking observers, the question becomes: Can you now get a bubble-era price on resale in 2013?
There's more evidence emerging that the answer is "yes."
Here are some recent sales (including new escrows) on properties with a prior trade in an earlier 2000s bubble year.
721 36th (5br/5ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is a smartly built, spacious Cape Cod that was new just a few years back – perhaps defining the tail end of the last building boom.
A lot of families won't go this far north toward the refinery, but 721 36th collected $2.3M+ before and listed near $2.4M this time:
- March 2007: $2.327M
- March 2013: $2.399M (asking; in escrow)
724 35th (3br/2ba, 1600 sq. ft.) is also pretty far north in the Trees, a smaller original cottage that was expanded some and redone in a pretty spectacular way in the front great room. Not much common space behind that, but a street-to-alley lot makes for a nice footprint.
While they got almost $100K more than 2005 this year, they didn't get the $1.6ish number they were shooting for originally.
- Jan. 2005: $1.400M
- Jan. 2013: $1.493M
1725 Oak (4br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is a very special custom build, Spanish-inspired, on the "right" side of Oak (western exposure to the yard).
It was pretty amazing to see it fetch $2M+ in 2007 despite the location challenge, and it sold quickly this year.
- Dec. 2007: $2.050M
- March 2013: $1.999M (asking; in escrow)
712 Marine (5br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is a newer Cape Cod (2005 build) that has a location issue, in that Marine is viewed as a busy street, though less so on this upper half near Valley. (This block is also viewed as a dream street for families, with block parties etc.)
This one made a quick deal recently and looks to be queued up for a big markup over 2005:
- Aug. 2005: $2.075M
- March 2013: $2.399M (asking; in escrow)
85 Bayview (3br/4ba, 2075 sq. ft.) is a very nicely remodeled/updated TH with a slightl surprising layout among the two bedrooms on the lower level (below the garage level).
Nice views and a super kitchen on the top floor make it special.
So people thought in both 2007 and 2013, when they paid $2M, or thereabouts:
- Nov. 2007: $2.000M
- March 2013: $1.950M
309 18th (5br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft.) is one of the more stunning recent sales to come in. The existing house (actually a duplex) isn't much but has potential. There are serious ocean views from the second floor and the location's on a very quiet block.
Interestingly, this one sold in a bubble year, resold for the same number in the pits of our local market's depression, and just now sold for – wait, what?!? – wow, a lot.
- Nov. 2004: $1.775M
- July 2009: $1.775M
- April 2013: $2.549M (had listed for $2.099M)
Yes, that one belongs on any list of shockers for the year.
2326 Laurel Bluff (4br/4ba, 3175 sq. ft.) is an SFR on the hillside over Ardmore that has a similar history to 309 18th, with a bubble year trade, a post-pop trade and now on the market at a markup to 2005.
Without ocean views, they're not going to blast through the ceiling like 18th, but it's a nice markup for the 2010 buyer if they can get it:
- July 2005: $2.100M
- Aug. 2010: $1.785M
- April 2013: $2.189M (asking, new listing)
510 21st (5br/4ba, 2950 sq. ft.) is a newer (2004) home on a smallish lot (2675 sq. ft.) backing up to the baseball fields at Live Oak Park. It was redone from its darker, more Mediterranean interior to have more of a modern Cape Cod feeling inside – yes, a little bit of a clash – but it had a nice family feeling and flow to it, and sold instantly when posted late last year, effectively reaching its 2007 price:
- April 2007: $2.200M
- Dec. 2011: $2.100M
- Dec. 2012: $2.185M (public records)
332 1st Place (3br/2ba, 1440 sq. ft.) is a little TH on a quiet block way down in the south end near the school.
In what felt like a fairly quiet sale early this year, they got a 14% markup over a 2005 price:
- Nov. 2005: $1.225M
- March 2013: $1.400M
So let's briefly recap the data we've just seen.
We have a 2004 past sale that just sold for an enormous markup over 2 recent trades and its list price (309 18th at $2.549M).
We have 4 homes with 2005 past sales that either got more money when sold recently, or are asking more now in an environment that doesn't seem to see a lot of discounts taken upon sale.
And we have 4 homes with 2007 past sales that have each come near their prior numbers.
So does that evidence mean we're in a new bubble, or that prices are "back to normal," or what?
One high-profile agent said to Dave just last week, "You have to write about the bubble," before sharing a story of yet another $100K overbid on a home that was, frankly, overpriced to begin. (Or so it seemed!)
Call it what you will. For buyers, the best news out of this has to be that more potential sellers are going to feel free to move into the market. More choice would be one plus, and the market's fairly quick recovery to boom-time prices will tend to add confidence in our market for the long term – even if few people can quite believe everything we're seeing.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
The Manhattan Beach real estate market remains active. Spring has sprung in a big way.
Turns out that April Fool's day "moratorium" proposal was a nonstarter. (You did know it was April Fool's, right? Like our past posts about Obama regulating house prices and Robert Shiller leaving "fusty" and "damn cold" Yale for USC and a nice MB walkstreet, among others.)
Back to business, though. It's time our twice-monthly Manhattan Beach market updates.
Here's the quick overview on active inventory:
- 42 active listings as of 3/15/13
- 38 SFRs
- 4 THs
This is a drop in inventory by 4 homes total, very surprising to see given that we saw 29 new listings post just between March 16-31. New listings are simply being absorbed, and quickly.
Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach:
- Tree Section: 10 actives
- Sand Section: 20 actives
- Hill Section: 2 actives
- East MB: 10 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 3/31/13."
We're also providing a report on pending and closed sales by region of MB.
In a fashion similar to the report on active listings, you'll find the report on sales organized by sub-region of Manhattan Beach.
Here's a link to the post on our data blog: "MB Pending/Sold as of 3/31/13."
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!
Monday, April 1st, 2013
In an extraordinary joint action announced this morning, real estate agents working in Manhattan Beach have declared a weeklong moratorium on writing, or receiving, offers on properties listed for sale.
It's an effort to restore balance in a market that has seen pent-up demand and low inventory for too long, some say.
"This is the craziest market I've experienced," said one local pro who's helped clients buy and sell Manhattan Beach real estate for over 30 years. "I've been through all the ups and downs. What I see now is crazy. We have to step in and calm everyone down."
Bidding wars have become the norm in Manhattan Beach over the past 18 months, and prices are starting to get out of hand.
The thinking behind the moratorium is that inventory should be allowed to build up, giving buyers a clearer sense of choices before they dive headlong into the next bidding war. With choices, perhaps the market will calm slightly.
Last week, 21 new listings emerged in Manhattan Beach, but 24 listings went into escrow, thereby reducing inventory over the period.
The unprecedented joint action has been under discussion for weeks. It's not easy to get the real estate community to act as one. But the severity of the crisis developing in local real estate seems to have pushed major brokerages to take action. Eventually, all the local players came to agreement, provided that the moratorium can be enforced.
The basic rule is this: Listing agents will discourage offers for a week beginning April 1st. If they receive one, they will "lose" it in their "spam" email boxes or "misplace" any faxes or printouts they receive.
No agent representing a buyer looking at a Manhattan Beach property will draft an offer for a client, citing the moratorium.
Any agents who attempt to breach the moratorium will be publicly shamed in a full-page ad in the Beach Reporter.
MBC caught up with one agent who led the way on the moratorium.
In a phone interview from a poolside in Cabo San Lucas, the agent explained, "This is the perfect time for a moratorium. Yes, the market's too crazy. Also, I'm in Cabo. Really, everyone's out of town. You think I want to be working on my computer in a hotel room? I'm going windsurfing. The offers can wait a few days. People should just freaking chill, and enjoy April 1st."
No word yet on whether the moratorium might spread to other markets during their Spring Break weeks.