Saturday, October 26th, 2013
There will be some real estate to see in MB on Sunday, but there's so much else to do, it's worth another post first.
Downtown Manhattan Beach will busy, so plan for traffic delays.
First up, because it's news, is the return of downtown trick-or-treating. That's Sunday 11am-3pm.
This hallowed, small-town tradition fell by the wayside in recent years. It's back now, with an earlier start and some mystery – where are the 5 colossal cauldrons of candy? (They promise some clues at the DTMB Facebook page.)
Any local merchant with the flyer in the window is offering treats for those in costume. (No, it doesn't count to say, "I'm dressed as a laid-back beach town dude.")
Earlier Sunday, it's the Skechers Friendship Walk, starting at 9:00am at the Manhattan Beach Pier. There's a "Fun Zone" at the pier that will be open through the day.
This pier-to-pier walk takes you, and several thousand others, along The Strand down to Hermosa. It's all for a good cause: Registration fees and sponsors' funds go to The Friendship Circle, a program benefiting children and young adults with special needs, and offering volunteer opportunities for local teens.
You can register Saturday at the downtown MB Skechers store, or check the event site for more South Bay locations.
Last, but not least, the rolling pumpkins are back, 11am-5pm downtown.
Variously called the "Halloween Pumpkin Race," the "World Famous Pumpkin Race" and, simply, the "Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Race," this completely unique local event has become a mainstay since it first moved downtown in 2007.
The notion of poking axles through pumpkins, decorating them and then racing them downhill seems so obvious, you might think it was invented, say, in New Hampshire in the 1800s.
But no – the first pumpkin racers were MB folks. In 1990, as the story goes, they were looking for something to do east of Sepulveda and hit on this brilliant notion. Rules emerged, traditions (like the Cheater Pumpkin) were founded, and the world's first pumpkin races were born.
The race – which boasts "hundreds" of imitators worldwide – now clogs downtown Manhattan Beach for hours one Sunday each year, encouraging fierce competition among children who pretend they designed the pumpkins that their overachieving dads engineered for them. (Disclosure: Dave's got a homemade pumpkin axle jig.)
The Pumpkin Race is a point of pride and/or peculiarity for Manhattan Beach, which is also (true fact) where the Pinewood Derby was invented. (We just love rolling things in this town.)
Walk, trick, treat, roll or race. That's a busy day.
There are also a few new open houses to see – more on those Sunday.
Friday, October 25th, 2013
For a good chunk of 2013, the Manhattan Village townhome at 10 Sausalito Circle had a hard time selling.
And now? It's gone.
For most of its run on the market, 4+ months, this 3br/3ba, 1900 sq. ft. Plan 6 condo looked pretty much the part of an original 1980s creation. There had been some improvements (no more fluorescent kitchen lights, new granite counters, newer flooring), but the unit seemed to want more. And it seemed a bit dark.
Was there interest earlier this year? Yes. But they couldn't settle on a price that worked for buyer and seller.
The listing launched at $1.200M, then dropped gradually to $1.099M, where it was when it cancelled 3 weeks ago.
After that, the kitchen cabinets got a coat of white point – no more dark oak, now a more modern look. They may have refreshed other elements a bit, but there were no fundamental changes. The new agent brought in staging, and voila!
This one is in escrow now, with the list price still at $1.099M, even before the first brokers' open house.
We're pretty sure the Village has regulations against burying St. Joseph statues. So it looks like, for luck, you need a can of paint, and maybe a little more.
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Back in August we set out to test Zillow by seeing how their Zestimates of newly listed properties panned out in the real world. (See "Testing Zillow's Estimates.")
More results are in now.
Let's start with the home run Zillow hit.
That was at 1300 12th St., #D, a 2br, 1100 sq. ft. TH.
As the TH was newly listed, the sellers requested $699K, but Zillow said, "no, we're thinking $683,492."
In the scheme of things, that $15K difference doesn't look like much, but it was 2% to the downside.
Guess what? Zillow was dead-on. Final sale price: $683,000. (OK, actually, high by $492.00.)
You might say, hey, townhomes are easy to comp out. It's basically a raw PPSF calculation. But there were no recent trades in this particular building. You have to go back to 2011 for one and 2009 for another. So Zillow's computers picked the value here perfectly without too much direct guidance.
And townhomes can fool Zillow, too.
For reasons known only to the spinning gears inside Zillow's estimator machine, they pegged 1202 Tennyson #1 as having a value of $1.2M+ back in August, when it hit the market at $870K.
Tennyson did get bid up a bit to $880K, but that's still $350K shy of Zillow's estimate at the time.
We had said up front in that original post that "Zillow is clearly going to blow it completely" on this one, speculating that perhaps the lot size for the whole complex (13,120 sq. ft.) had fooled the algorithms. And yet, with 1300 12th St., the computers weren't fooled by the large lot size (11K+), so who knows?
Though this TH just sold, Zillow is still shooting high on its value. The current Zestimate: $1.042M.
We also knew Zillow would blow it on the new construction at 594 33rd. That one came out at $2.899M, but Zillow was thinking $2.3-ish. It has sold for $2.848M.
Zillow didn't know that was new construction, and didn't know that 1509 Magnolia was recently remodeled. Zillow guessed $1.079M, but it sold near the asking price at $1.335M.
We hate to punish the poor, confused computers here – we knew in advance that all 3 of those Zestimates would fail.
Then there were 3 listings among our selection of 12 from August that dropped out. Zillow's opinions on those won't matter. They were:
- 25 Sausalito Circle in the Village – quit the market.
- 1806 Marine – leased out instead of selling.
- 3201 Palm – quit the market.
We may be nearing a judgment point on 1336 2nd Street (start: $1,100,000, Zestimate: $1,045,625)
On this one, both Zillow and the sellers shot high. The price on 2nd came down to $999K before they posted a deal this week. Zillow was closer on that one.
When that one listed in August, the sellers were asking $1.980M.
Zillow said: $1.811M.
The market said: $1.770M.
Zillow was within 2%. Not bad, considering that the property was unique in so many ways.
Another pending escrow at 112 18th St. will not likely validate Zillow.
While we could easily understand the rationale, based on comps, for Zillow's $4.270M estimate on that one, the sellers were looking for $5.195M and made a deal fairly quickly (for a $5M listing) without taking any public cuts.
So here's the roundup as we see it today. Out of 12 listings we were tracking, half can't be judged yet:
- 3 listings quit the market
- 2 listings are in escrow
- 1 listing is still for sale
Among those that have sold:
- 3 estimates were way off sold prices, but we expected those to flop
- 2 estimates were very accurate compared to sold prices
- 1 estimate was high by 7%, not very accurate, not too far off
We'll look to wrap up this series when the two pending sales close and something happens with 1757 Voorhees.
Here, again, is the list we began with, including the Zestimates in the grid:
|1202 Tennyson Street #1||3/3||1755||13120||$870,000||$1,231,970||08/12/13|
|1509 Magnolia Avenue||3/2||1342||4867||$1,349,000||$1,079,017||08/08/13|
|1300 12th Street #d||2/3||1130||11928||$699,000||$683,492||08/06/13|
|594 33rd Street||6/6||3500||5023||$2,899,000||$2,313,612||08/05/13|
|1027 Boundary Place||4/4||3263||4212||$1,980,000||$1,811,135||08/01/13|
|3201 Palm Avenue||3/3||2469||4637||$1,775,000||$1,765,274||08/01/13|
|509 North Dianthus Street||4/3||2157||3251||$1,625,000||$1,746,052||08/01/13|
|1757 Voorhees Avenue||4/3||2460||7498||$1,425,000||$1,479,691||07/30/13|
|112 18th Street||6/7||4237||2693||$5,195,000||$4,270,400||07/29/13|
|25 Sausalito Circle||3/3||2050||3915||$1,685,000||$1,272,286||07/27/13|
|1336 2nd Street||3/2||1223||5001||$1,100,000||$1,045,625||07/25/13|
|1806 Marine Avenue||3/2||1147||5076||$899,000||$945,996||07/22/13|
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
We keep hearing talk to the effect that the market in Manhattan Beach is "slowing," but that seems to be either a hope or a fantasy, for the most part.
Look, it's late October – there should be fewer listings and fewer sales, based on seasonal factors alone. But a "slowing" would need to leave a better trail of evidence.
As you recall, our already-light inventory got chopped by 20% within the span of a couple weeks recently, and lots of new offerings continue to draw multiple offers.
So where's this "slowing?"
Look up high at the high end.
We sorted the 47 listings active as of Monday afternoon by their combined days on market (CDOM). That's the total number of days exposed to market, irrespective of any re-listing. (The CDOM "clock" is only reset to zero by 90 days of off-market time.)
Instantly, we saw that 15 of the 17 longest-running listings were priced at $2.399M or above – many way above.
10 of those 15 are priced at $3.5M or higher. And 5 are at $5M or higher.
Are these listings "overpriced," or just so very pricey as to be out of reach of most buyers?
Yes, to at least one in each case.
The priciest CDOM champs at this time:
250 S. Dianthus (5br/7ba, 8500 sq. ft., on a 14,000+ lot) is a classic estate that, for a time, was called "Summerhill." It has been offered for sale more or less continuously since June 2012.
It's at 508 CDOM now.
They had a buyer for a while in Spring 2013, when the price was down to $7.950M, down $4M from its start, but that did not work out.
The sellers may be sellers, but they don't seem to be improving their prospects by raising the price. It's currently at $9.900M with a new agent these past 2 months.
1240 5th (6br/7ba, 10,000 sq. ft.) falls far behind Summerhill in terms of market time, and about $3M behind on (current) price, asking $6.999M. (Down $1M from start.)
This one has 354 CDOM.
Like Summerhill, it's more of a true estate than a lot of homes you'd see on the market in MB. In this case, it's on one of the best streets in East MB, the private drive of the 5th St. cul-de-sac. (Advertising for the listing sometimes refers to this as the "Fifth Street Forest.")
There's no doubting the appeal of this one – luxe, huge and ornate, private and plenty of space to spread out or entertain.
If they can sell this one near the $7M mark it's at now, it would be only the third sale in East MB history (on the MLS) to exceeed $5M.
And one of those two past sales over $5M was a sale of this property, at $5.860M, in May 2006.
316 23rd (3br/3ba, 1940 sq. ft.) is a modern SFR on a half lot that is up to 351 CDOM now.
They made a deal this Summer after raising the price by $100K (nice feat!), but it didn't stick.
It's back down now to $2.895M, where it was before the lucky price boost, but that $1,500/PSF remains awfully ambitious.
That's just about where the slightly smaller, downtown-adjacent 217 9th was shooting last year before a long comedown to a sale in May this year at $2.250M. Just worth noting.
Just behind that one, timewise, and far above it, pricewise, is 112 23rd Place (3br/4ba, 1950 sq. ft.).
This attached townhome has run for 314 CDOM at $3.500M, with no price cuts along the way, just a bogus re-list in May.
It seems clear that we are not living in the day when a 1950 sq. ft. townhome is worth $3.500M. Though that time may come, the kids will be looking at retirement homes grad schools by then.
You wonder sometimes: Could the MLS provide a "Make Me Move" teaser-type listing to separate out the really fanciful listings like this one? For now it's frankly clogging up the inventory.
They're trying to sweeten the deal a little, though – buyers' agents are offered a 3% commission on this sale, as opposed to the 2.5% that's standard in Manhattan Beach. Maybe instead of offering a $17K bounty, they could invest a little bit in quality listing photos?
200 S. Dianthus (4br/5ba, 3925 sq. ft.) will complete our roundup here.
It's now at 236 CDOM, split between two listings and two agents. (It's not really "bogus" when a new agent takes over and re-lists the property, but consumers should still know the true market exposure.)
We've called this one a "decent," 10-year-old home in the very southernmost part of the Hill Section. It's built with an upside-down layout to maximize views. Some of the square footage (and presumably what's considered the 4th bedroom) is actually a separate unit over the garage, accessed up an outdoor spiral staircase.
This one was offered quietly off-market last year, hit the public market at $3.695M this year and has gradually trimmed down to $2.999M. It's still looking to make some kind of connection.
So there you have it. The Manhattan Beach real estate market is slowing – if you are talking about properties priced at or above $3M.
Indeed, these lingering listings comprise one-third of the reported inventory. Since these have more narrow-targeted appeal to specific buyers at the high end, they actually make inventory levels citywide seem all the more depressingly tight.
Sunday, October 20th, 2013
It seems like everything coming out these days starts with a "2" in front, but at least we can say the pre-Halloween period here continues to see activity.
This week there's new construction, a flip and a 100-block walkstreet home among the options.
Inventory count as we write: 48 total SFRs & THs citywide.
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.
801 18th (4br/5ba, 3335 sq. ft.) is a 90s contemporary at 18th and Pacific that's bright and open, and may not need all that much even if you want to fully modernize it.
The first floor offers two big family/living rooms and formal dining along what seems a long central hallway. The kitchen opens nicely to the common areas. Lots of light pours in from south-facing windows, but the home still feels quite private. (The home runs along 18th, not Pacific – the garage is your bulwark against noise from Pacific.)
As it shows now, a third major living space is in the garage – behind the frosted glass doors, they've made a rumpus room out of most of that space.
It seemed that the sellers had been refreshing and updating here and there over the years. Today, many buyers might change the flooring from the tile to some kind of wood and perhaps tweak some cabinets and baths, but changes aren't urgent.
Moderns or contemporaries in the Trees are pretty rare, but two have sold this year: much newer 1708 Elm (2003 build, 4br/3ba, 3100 sq. ft. at $2.100M in May) and 700 27th (4br/4ba, 3420 sq. ft., Dave's listing, sold for $2.300M in June).
801 18th starts right between those two sales at $2.199M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
124 17th (2br/1ba, 880 sq. ft.) might seem like a misprint or screaming deal when you first hear of it. This is a 100-block address on one of the great Teen Street walkstreets near downtown. Ocean views from the living room and patio, a nice private patio in back... and all that for just S1.499M.
If your radar's up, yes, there's a catch.
This home is on the frontmost 1500 sq. ft. of what would be a 2700 sq. ft. lot, officially separate from the 1200 sq. ft. lot behind it, and therefore "landlocked." There's no garage, parking or alley access, and no prospect of that any time soon. The lot is also precluded, we're told, from being joined with the smaller lot on the alley thanks to a deed restriction.
With no parking, the city won't let you build much bigger than the existing home, though in theory you could rebuild new to the same (small) size.
Basically, what you see is what you get – a fresh and cozy little 1936 original with updates, including a very nice kitchen, and one good-size bedroom and another on the small side.
Disclosure: Dave has toured this home with clients.
124 17th starts at $1.499M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
3603 Manhattan Ave. (3br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.) is a mid-90s Spanish style TH fairly near Rosecrans offering what are described as "Fully Executive Ocean Views." Lower down the corporate ladder, then, we assume you'd see less.
Since the views – impressive, expansive, hey, executive – are a major selling point, it's necessary for a buyer to take note of the little 1-story cottage just to the west. If/when that gets built up, what will you have then? Something, of course, but not all of this panorama will survive.
The home itself does not feel like many TH's we've been in, and that's a clear plus. We like variety. The builder brought a slightly different style to this set, some good Spanish accents and limiting the common walls to the backs of the kitchen cabinets upstairs, with a little open hallway/atrium between the units. Nice touch.
Inside, the flooring is a mix of the expected saltillo tile and (restained) dark hardwood, the exception being the first-floor bedroom (with separate entry), which has gotten some kind of updated tile flooring in more recent years.
The kitchen, upstairs with major views, also hosts a little booth for casual dining that gets such awesome views, you might not want to go far after breakfast. Newer appliances and counters point to a fairly recent update here. Among the baths, the master bath has gotten the most substantial update, though the white marble plus dark wood – while very now – does not seem very "Spanish."
It seemed to us that the wall of windows upstairs had been recently replaced, a plus, although they seem to have used vinyl replacement windows.
They're shooting for something special here, pricewise, at $2.499M, or $1,300/PSF.
Are there THs that have come in near there recently? Yes and no. Among the comps we see, 3312 Manhattan Ave. is comparable in size and location but sold for less ($2.299M, off market); 2417 Crest ($2.575M) was bigger by 400 sq. ft. and a knockout, style-wise, and we believe its views are permanent/unblockable. Several other recent sales seem to be bigger and/or to have sold for much less. Browse this list of THs sold in the last 6 months to make your own judgment.
3603 Manhattan Ave. starts at $2.499M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
1421 18th (6br/6ba, 4430 sq. ft.) is solid new construction on a good block on the east side that just about perfectly expresses what's current in home building style.
The style here is "plantation," bright white and beachy for the most part, with a soft greyish/brown tone to the wide-plank oak flooring. (Could dark walnut stains be officially "out" now?)
The great room in back boasts a modern kitchen, high ceilings and lots of light from the windows and doors opening to the big deck and backyard. On a clear day you'll see the mountains, downtown and even the Hollywood sign. Also, there's a bit of a slope down from the backyard toward the neighbor beyond to the north, so it looks like a lot of that view will always be available.
In addition to one bedroom suite downstairs, there are 5 (yes, 5!) more upstairs, plus laundry. The master gets those views again, in spades.
If there's a quibble one might have, it's the way the modest downslope of the lot requires occasional steps down as you move toward the back of the home.
This block of 18th is going to see another new home next year – a project we're aware of on the other side of the street that should draw even better views of downtown and will benefit from a sunny, south facing backyard. Contact Dave for more on that one.
1421 18th starts at $2.699M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
1466 6th (4br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft.) is a recent remodeling project, but for once, someone has not turned a little 50s cottage into a new Cape Cod cottage. Instead, they've actually taken a 1970s Spanish original and mostly run with the style, giving it a very fresh, modern feeling.
There's one bedroom suite down and up front (note: watch your step down!) along with formal dining. Toward the back is a big, open kitchen and great room with soaring ceiling and skylights.
This opens to a very big yard which has two nice bonuses: One third of the garage is fully built out and could serve as a big home gym, playroom or similar, and the whole driveway is enclosed behind a sliding gate, opening up the chance to use that as play space (think basketball court), meaning you get to use even more of the 7450 sq. ft. lot than most homes would.
Upstairs we found the secondary bedrooms a bit small, but that's a modest concern.
This is shaping up as a sweet flip: The remodeling group paid $1.250M in May for the property and is looking to get $2.000M now.
1466 6th is open Sun. 1-4pm.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
It's definitely one of our favorite things about Manhattan Beach real estate – homes here are different, block by block, lot by lot.
Styles come and go, original homes get upgraded, added onto or razed and replaced with the newest fashion in home building.
Then, here and there, you find a completely custom place that has no analogue around town.
We hardly needed a reminder, but recent work with clients in Orange County – can you say, "70s tract housing?" – just served to underscore our appreciation for MB's diversity in housing stock.
Which brings us now to the recent sale at 1027 Boundary Place (4br/4ba, 3260 sq. ft.). The newest listing for this one called it a "European chateau inspired home" that is "unlike any other."
Yes. Unlike any other.
Multiple levels, that Euro flavor, a grotto, bedrooms feeling like they're up in towers befitting the little princes or princesses who might move in... it's a different house.
After a run on the market in 2012 that lasted 6 months, the home was finally purchased and got some much-needed upgrades, especially to the kitchen.
It was quite a surprise to see this home come back to market in Summer 2013, but it was not a flip, just a change in circumstances requiring the resale.
In June 2012 this one traded for $1.475M, but came back more than $500K higher at $1.980M in August this year.
That was a bit too ambitious, but the listing saw a few quick price corrections on the way to a pretty efficient deal. Sold price has just posted as $1.770M.
That price captures the value of a 3000+ sq. ft. home in the Hill Section with some views and a new kitchen. (We found the kitchen to be very custom to someone's specific tastes, not the flavor of the month, but certainly much better than the 2012 version.)
This home would have shot past $2M easily if not for the alley location near Sepulveda and the unusual layout.
Net profits from the sale would have been a bit over $200K, then you'd subtract the cost of the remodeling. It's still a good trade for the seller and a nice get for the buyer.
For our full review of this one from this year, see our Aug. 10/11 "Weekend Opens" post.
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
There are several reasons that have been put out there for our chronically low inventory this year.
But one is just as clear as day: Good properties priced well (for today) sell quickly.
Look no further back into history than last week's new listings.
500 14th (3br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft.) is a 1960s tri-level near downtown that's been refashioned with a modern flair.
It launched at $1.979M, quite a bit more than the $1.329M trade just a few years ago in 2009.
Can you really do just a little to freshen up a house and make $650K in 4 years?
The quick deal here suggests: Maybe yes.
1400 Elm (5br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is a late-90s Mediterranean that's been modernized quite well in just the past couple of years.
This one last made a run on the market in late 2008, running 5 months with no takers at $1.949M.
Back now, with less inventory and a bullish attitude on seemingly everyone's part, asking $2.299M, boom! it's in escrow.
1131 6th (3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.) is a very original, smallish cottage with an added-on family room in back. It's got a full-size 7500 sq. ft. lot.
It needs everything. The yard is mostly dried up. The location is questionable, just a couple of doors off of Sepulveda.
It is, as they say, full of potential.
Did these issues pose problems? Not when they put the right pricetag on it: $1.149M. Quick deal.
2411 Vista (3br/4ba, 2500 sq. ft.) just sold last year, for $1.720M in June 2012, but the owners were looking to make a move, so they put it up for sale here about 15 months after moving in.
And they were looking for a nice bump, about $200K, to $1.925M.
Apparently that's the going rate for a stylish TH with limited ocean views. Because they've got their quick deal.
That's just this week's crop.
Also in recent weeks, Dave's listing at 3017 Elm drew multiple offers on an asking price of $925K and inked a deal at 5 DOM, while 3113 Maple (4br/4ba, 3000 sq. ft., $2.075M) drew offers and posted a deal before the first public open houses.
If listings don't last a week, we're not going to see any growth in inventory, obviously.
With a couple of days' worth of comings and goings, inventory remains at 45 SFRs & THs citywide, same as in our MB Market Update for 10/15/13.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
It's time for one of our twice-monthly market updates.
We wish we had some good news for those hoping to see more inventory. The short answer: No.
Inventory was down to 45 as we closed the books Oct. 15, down by 12 from just 2 weeks ago.
This marks the lowest real estate inventory in Manhattan Beach since March and April, when things were flying off the shelves.
To show where this update's 45 listings fits in the scheme of the year's inventory, see our chart from earlier this month – updated. (Chart is originally from the post "Low Inventory for 2013, Graphed.")
Here's the quick overview on active inventory:
- 45 active listings as of 10/15/13
- 39 SFRs
- 6 THs
Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach:
- Tree Section: 10 actives (-4 from end of Sept.)
- Sand Section: 15 actives (-3)
- Hill Section: 6 actives (-3)
- East MB: 14 actives (-2)
You can see the complete report on active listings, with live links to every property, in this single spreadsheet on our data blog: "MB Inventory as of 10/15/13."
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 spreadsheet on our data blog: "MB Pending/Sold as of 10/15/13."
For closed sales, we provide the past 6 months' worth of sales by region. This is the typical window of time used by appraisers.
Remember, these links are always live under the top "navbar" of the home page, right under "MB Market Updates."
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
We're watching two higher-priced Tree Section properties that have now made cuts.
Both are aiming near $3M.
What's next for each?
The first is 2009 Palm (4br/5ba, 4050 sq. ft.), a big, custom house, built pre-ZORP in the early 90s, and updated here and there since.
The official listing description leads with the home's obvious assets: "Location & Size do Matter!"
Point being, Palm is a great block, and that's a huge house. Of the location, we said a month ago:
Location is ultimately what sells the house. This is mid-block on one of the Tree Section's prime, quiet streets. John and Palm. Palm and John. They're interchangeable, dream streets. This is a flat section chock full of great homes.
And, yes, that's a lot of square footage. ("Size does matter" keeps echoing as we consider this home.)
They launched at $3.150M, and have now cut to $2.999M.
If you're inclined, in that first review, we pointed to the $3M-ish comps.
The second cut of note was at 2304 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 4178 sq. ft.).
This is a 2001 build given a unique style label – "Urban Morocco" – in the current listing, despite being called a "unique Tuscan villa" in previous public listings. It has certainly been sharply redone by the current owners and is not your typical "Tuscan."
This one listed at $2.999M a few weeks ago and has just cut $100K to $2.899M.
We should note up front that, in the small space of time since the launch, they've changed the square footage in the listing. Clearly that would affect any PPSF calculations as to value.
Past listings have called this 3534 sq. ft. or 3357 sq. ft. That smaller number is in the tax records now.
But the home's been newly taped out, and the square footage found to be much larger: 4178 sq. ft. That's close to 25% bigger than the tax records say. The basement media room and spare bedroom clearly make this home bigger than normal; the sellers simply set out to prove just how big. (Buyer to verify, of course.)
And speaking of big, at $2.9M, they're still shooting for big game. However this settles out, they're going to bank some tidy profits. Just 2 years ago, they acquired this house as a short sale for $1.700M.
Saturday, October 12th, 2013
It's good to report that we still have a nice little trickle of new inventory coming out here in October. Our total citywide may be stuck at 52 (SFRs + THs combined), but there are some good new choices. We review 4 below.
If you're up early Sunday, check out the "Jimmy Surf Fiesta," 8am-4pm at 42nd St. in El Porto. This is another uniquely Manhattan Beach event, a benefit for the Jimmy Miller Foundation and its mission, "to heal mental and physical illness and injury through surfing and ocean-related activities. [The foundation's] mission is to carry on the legacy of Jim's pure love of surfing by sharing the ocean's power to heal." Anyone, from the first-time surfer to the most dedicated long-timer, is welcome to participate – and there's a raffle.
If you haven't yet tuned in to MBC's Facebook page, please do. On Fridays, we've begun to snap photos and make brief comments about new listings on the broker's open tour. Not all of the homes we see on Fridays are set to be publicly open (or even MLS-listed), so our Facebook Friday Feed will feature properties not mentioned in the MBC "Weekend Opens" posts.
Why not go to our Facebook page now and "like" it, to get our content in your daily Facebook news feed?
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.
500 14th (3br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft.) is a 1960s tri-level near town that's been refashioned with a modern flair. It's now offered near $2M. And it's also a great example of why it can be great to buy on the dip.
The home has 3 levels that follow the hillside slope down 14th toward Ardmore. Up top in back is the master, with a little view of a crisp line of ocean blue visible over downtown rooftops.
The middle/entry level has the public spaces, including a fully modernized kitchen with a classy natural stone surface (no photos yet in the listing to feature that) which opens to a dining area toward the Ardmore frontage and bright western exposure. The family room is also there, with newer hardwood floors and a sharply redone fireplace using a similar sandy stone.
The two kids' bedrooms are downstairs (yes, that's a 2-level separation from the master), along with an extra living room/play room area. (It's always nice to give the kids a space where their stuff is not in the main common areas.) That living room opens to a little yard with high fences to shield it from busy Ardmore.
One note: 2500 sq. ft. is the size stated by the seller now for this listing (after taping it). Past listings have shown this one as 2250 sq. ft.
So this one starts now at $1.979M, and begs for some background and context in doing so.
First, go way back. The home traded in 2003 and again in 2004, at $1.137M and $1.290M, respectively. It wasn't near its current condition, though. It was remodeled by the 2004 buyers and offered back, in pretty much its current shape, for $1.850M in 2007, but that went nowhere. As 2009 rolled around, it was offered for $1.499M but sold, ultimately, for just $1.329M.
In our tour Friday, we didn't see too much different from what's found in the 2009 listing pics, though of course there may be a few changes. But mainly it was timing that might justify a markup of $650K over 4 years.
Neighboring 1400 Ardmore – a 1200 sq. ft. home right across 14th St. – just now closed for $1.596M.
500 14th is asking $1.979M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
1400 Elm (5br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is a late-90s Mediterranean that's been modernized quite well in just the past couple of years.
The great room in back features a comfy family room and open, updated kitchen. The back yard/patio area has been hardscaped and offers a classy indoor/outdoor living arrangement off this main space. There's a formal dining room and 2-story living room back toward the front, and a guest room/playroom/office tucked away just off of the entry.
This home reminds us that high-end shag style carpeting has really roared back "in" within the last few years. Much of the house gets it, and seems the better for it.
The master bath is well updated, no 90s evident, a nice plus. Among the other 3br upstairs, two share a jack-and-jill bath and there's a separate suite. Laundry upstairs, too.
Bonus: The garage, as shown, is almost impossibly well organized. We can all aspire to store and stash our stuff this well. Our favorite feature: A pulley system for bikes that allows each 2-wheeler to be independently raised and lowered. They're just above the cars, ready to slide down on demand. Wow.
1400 Elm last made a run on the market in late 2008, running 5 months with no takers at $1.949M.
It's back now, with some fresher updates, at $2.299M, and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
2411 Vista (3br/4ba, 2500 sq. ft.) just sold last year, but the sellers are looking to make a move, so it's back.
Here's our review from April 2012, which, in turn, ties back to the review of the front unit of this 2-TH combo:
2411 Vista is a high-end, Cape Cod TH with treetop/mountain views to the east and some nice ocean peeks to the west. It's a pleasant and compelling surprise.
Well, maybe not such a huge surprise. The TH's twin/attached unit, 2412 Alma, hit the market last April  and sold in October for $2.010m. You may have seen that one. We reviewed it exactly a year ago, and said, in part:
"The home's many assets include the gleaming, dark-stained plank floors, extra-high ceilings in each room, elaborately framed windows, and a master bath dripping with extra details. The overall effect of all the extras is to underscore how much more you can do with a similar layout or amount of space – rarely do all the notes get hit so well."
This townhome is really the same, just pointed east instead of west. To account for that, the price is substantially lower: $1.799m.
That was then: 2411 Vista sold for $1.720M in June 2012.
They're back now asking $1.925M, and this one is open Sun. 2-4pm.
1617 23rd (5br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is not on the MLS yet.
It's a newer (2006) Mediterranean with warm, cherry wood flooring in most rooms (including all bedrooms) and travertine flooring in the modern kitchen with granite surfaces. The kitchen/great room opens out to a surprisingly small patio/yard in back.
There's 1br downstairs and 4 up. You'll find this one familiar from your first step inside, but something of a cut above other spec homes from the last cycle.
1617 23rd starts at $1.969M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.