Monday, October 7th, 2013
A reader's comment on last week's post, "Low Inventory in 2013, Graphed," suggested the idea for this post.
We've looked back exactly 5 years to see where inventory was then, versus where it is now.
We can do that thanks to the MBC Wayback Machine, also known as the blog archives. MBC's been running more than 6 and a half years online, so there's a lot to plow through.
So we look now to our post for the MB Market Update for 9/30/08, and what do we find? In part:
Inventory of SFRs west of Sepulveda tied the record for the 18-month span that MBC has been publishing public market tracking information at 116.
But there was a time just days before Sept. 30 when inventory was in the high 120s. That was before a raft of 12 cancellations, including 9 in the Tree Section – pretty high for any 2-week period.
Fast forward 5 years. In our MB Market Update for 9/30/13, total inventory was:
- 57 active listings as of 9/30/13
- 47 SFRs
- 10 THs
And to compare apples to apples, we need to look at SFRs west of Sepulveda only.
Out of the 57 listings, 16 were east of the highway. So we're at 41.
Knock out 5 listings that were not SFRs.
That means there were 36 SFRs west of Sepulveda as of 9/30/13, less than one-third of the inventory 5 years prior (116).
Sunday, October 6th, 2013
Everyone loves a fair, right?
This weekend, MB continues its effort to be a cute-as-a-button small town. Even as so much changes, the Hometown Fair tries to stay the same. (These 40+ years in.)
Though it's fryin' hot today, go on out and grab a funnel cake, win a(nother) fish or grab some suds. The carnies are local kids and parents, and the bucks you lay out typically go to charitable causes. C'mon. You only get one chance a year.
Here's hoping you had a chance to run the MB 10K on Saturday, too. Dave's got a rule established years ago: When you can walk to the starting line of a race, you probably should run it.
There was a good set of new listings this week, and with clear skies, the ocean views from a couple are really, really worth getting out there to see.
Also, we've had a couple of inquiries about open houses at 3017 Elm, Dave's new listing from last week, but no, that one sold quickly with multiple offers and there won't be an open. On to the next one.
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.
109 Bayview (3br/4ba, 2000 sq. ft.) is all about truth in advertising. That name on the (alley) street: bay view. Yes, there is a bay view. Oh YES, that is a BAY VIEW. If you go, prepare, so you're not so shocked that your heart drops into your stomach.
As you know, we're critics and connoiseurs of real estate writing here at MBC, and we're prepared to be skeptical when we encounter a phrase like the one that appears in this listing: "the views are literally breathtaking and unblockable." And yet, "literally breathtaking" seems fair here. That's what happened to Dave, just about. It's going to drive someone crazy for the house.
Now, the TH itself, well, it's simple (90s modern) and a bit dated. After visiting the top floor, you may come to your senses enough to say, hey, that kitchen needs a reboot. The baths, too. The carpeting makes the place feel dated. This will take some work, to revive a 90s modern and give it flash and flair befitting the views. But that's the rational part of the brain talking.
Layout-wise, of course the main living spaces are up top, to drink in the Pacific, with the kitchen rather tucked away in a corner. The middle floor features 2br, each with attached baths, the master getting a western exposure and some views of thin lines of blue. It's really interesting to see the laundry room location – right off the closets of both rooms on this middle level. Talk about putting the laundry where it's needed.
Downstairs is a third bedroom suite that opens to a patio. It's fairly bright and may well serve as second living room for many buyers. (That is how it shows now.)
This 90s TH starts at over $1,200/PSF for a place that needs updating – straightforward updating, to be sure, but it will benefit from that re-do. Of course, few PPSF numbers from across the Sand Section can capture the value of the views here at Bayview.
109 Bayview starts at $2.399M and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-5pm.
324 31st (3br/3ba, 2315 sq. ft. ) gets some very good views, too, although in an SFR with a less straightfoward floor plan. It benefits from a bigger than normal lot at 1800 sq. ft. – greater than a normal half lot (1350 sq. ft.) or the size of a typical TH on a shared full lot, allowing that somewhat bigger interior square footage.
They call this early-90s custom build "Santa Barbara" in style, though you might have said "Mediterranean." The Spanish tile upstairs could move you toward saying "Santa Barbara."
This is an interesting one to compare to 109 Bayview, given similar build years, similar square footage and ocean views. Bayview's views can rock one's world, while here at 31st they are simply very good. There is a neighbor to the west that might disrupt the views when/if built up, though the slant of the lot here at 31st seems to offer hope for quite a bit of the view to be left over even after new construction to the west some day. (Buyer to verify of course.)
Where Bayview felt more plain, simple, and dated, this one has more aggressive styling, a chopped-up layout – the idea being to create several separate living spaces – and a somewhat more current, say, early 2000s, cozy feeling. (Yes even with the early 90s construction date.)
Both are priced around the same – with 31st starting at $2.389M. And of course it's an SFR where you own the land, and this home's a bit bigger – maybe offering more common space up top and also with a bonus room on the first level (now shown as a gym).
This one brings out some echoes of 3601 Crest, another SFR on a bigger lot (1755 sq. ft.) with very big views, similar in size (3br/3ba, 2430 sq. ft.) but in a notably impacted location. That one is "on hold" now, but had accrued 100+ DOM at prices of $2.150M down to $1.899M.
324 31st starts at $2.389M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
719 11th (5br/5ba, 5700 sq. ft.) is a ginormous Hill Section home built in the early 90s and updated about 6-7 years ago.
The top floor boasts no-doubt-about-it ocean views, both to the west and over rooftops to the south toward PV. Those are real and nice.
This is a very big house with living areas and bedrooms everywhere. On the lowest level, there's a basement game room (shown with TV and gym equipment) and a more-than-full-size bedroom suite. (Often on the lowest level the spare bedrooms are perfunctory; not here.) On the middle level, in addition to 3br there's an office. Up top, where the main living spaces are (to take advantage of the views), there's yet another full bedroom suite.
There are two sets of garages here, intriguingly enough. Obviously you have the "main" garage in front, but there are also garages in back off the alley. As you see the house now, they have put those rear garages into services as yet more living space, a family game room. There is a little bit of a patio/yard area, fairly dark even in the afternoon, with an elaborate in-ground spa.
The master is up front on that middle level, sprawling the width of the house, complete with separate sitting area and a large bath. The bath seems refreshed from its 1990 version, but might want another round of updating. The other bedrooms are plenty sizable; the kids could get older/bigger, and more stuff would work just fine in the house.
The top floor is what makes this home what it is. Lots of common spaces and arched ceilings. Real views. A fairly modern, wide-open kitchen.
You can't completely lose the 90s origins of this one, but there's lots of space and a good location, and it would appear they are pricing in the vintage.
719 11th starts at $3.299M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
This is a better year to take a run at 930 John (5br/7ba, 5400 sq. ft.) than when the home was new.
Back in Spring 2008, when 930 John was first offered, they began at $4.995M. That was the assumption of what you could get (yes even in '08) for a new, big, luxe "Tuscan Villa" in the Hill Section.
Those assumptions gave way to reality after the financial world collapsed, and a deal for $3.700M was inked in early 2009.
Even today, they're not trying to reach the 2009 number, starting 930 John at $3.499M.
This home offers 4br together on the middle level along with a private office opening to a courtyard. The master's up front and gets some treetop and rooftop views over the eastern part of the Hill Section toward the north. Downstairs is a family/game room and wine storage area, plus spare bedroom.
The top floor offers several bright living spaces with rooftop/treetop views – and you'd capture the mountains and downtown LA on a clear day, too, we'd hazard.
The 5575 sq. ft. corner lot is a bit smaller than might be typical in the Hills, and with all the square footage for living spaces, where you feel that is in the patio in back. It's not really a yard, and a bit too formal for a game of catch or kicking a soccer ball. In keeping with the formality of the rest of the home, it's a grown-up space.
930 John starts at $3.499M and is open Sun. 1-3pm.
3113 Maple (4br/4ba, 3015 sq. ft.) may be worth a quick toodle-by, but it's gone. They drew immediate offers and went into escrow Friday evening. Such is 2013.
When we caught a glimpse of this one, we noted its 90s vintage, but exceptionally wide open feeling all around the first floor. Yes, a lot of space was devoted to a formal living room, but the kitchen/great room in back did not suffer. A large dining area subbed for the formal dining room and added space back there. As you'd like, it all opens to the patio/yard, which includes a little playhouse you could just pinch.
You'd want to modernize the kitchen and baths, especially the master. And the light-colored flooring might look more 21st century with a restaining. But there's a lot to work with here.
3113 Maple began at $2.075M, and then it was gone. They still have listed an open house for Sun. 2-4pm, but we're not certain whether it's on or not.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
No doubt, a major explanation for the urgency in this year's real estate market in Manhattan Beach has been low inventory.
With our new chart, we can show you inventory at 2-week intervals for the whole year to date, up the the end of Q3 on Sept. 30.
It has been quite a pinch all year.
We carried over 45 listings – SFRs and TH's combined – from 2012 into the new year. Inventory was almost flat through mid-March, but dropped as April's rush and bidding wars took everything new off the market and more.
There was some accretion toward a peak – it's hard to call this a peak – of 64 at Memorial Day, and, after a pause, a yearlong "high" of 70 in mid-July, when everyone was on vacation.
Even the late-Summer options were absorbed and we came into September lower. There were 57 listings at month's end.
MBC did take note of a higher high of 73 just before that mid-July peak. It's not in the chart because we're basing this data on our twice-monthly MB Market Updates.
Now look back one year for something really amazing.
In 2012, we did not run systematic inventory check-ins or MB Market Updates. But we did have a few posts referencing inventory.
We went back to one post from September 2012 ("Inventory Dwindled") and found data checking in at a few points during the year.
We've plotted those data points in red over the 2013 inventory numbers. As you see here, the 2012 inventory levels were literally "off the charts" compared to this year.
Look at mid-February. Last year: 93. This year: 45. Less than half!
First week of April. Last year: 80. This year: 42. Call it half again.
Only around Labor Day last year did inventory look a little bit like this year, with 67 on Sept. 6, 2012, and 59 on Sept. 15, 2013.
As you'll see in a forthcoming posts, sales totals are about the same this year. Inventory comes out and gets absorbed quickly. Buyers have had this feeling all year that if they don't act now, they lose it. Stuff doesn't linger. And if they're comparing to any of the past several years, they're right to feel that way.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
Oh there are bidding wars, and overbids, and shocking sale prices.
And then there's the case of 1023 Dianthus.
This is a smallish 50s house on a lot that's very small for the Hill Section (3br/2ba, 1250 sq. ft., 4425 sq. ft. lot).
The location is sub-sub desirable. We won't call it an 'F' location, but you know, if there's going to be a grading scale, some properties have to be more at one end for some others to rate an 'A.'
Here Dianthus is a fairly busy street and the corner lot suffers for that. It's in sight of traffic from MBB, and during heavy traffic times, some will dive off MBB onto Dianthus rather than wait for the light at Sepulveda – boosting rush hour traffic on this block. It's also pretty darn far east.
The house itself – you'll see it online and maybe think, "scraper." But not necessarily. It's an older place (one of Dave's clients called it "a Grandma house") but could be refreshed. The little courtyard is a nice touch.
When they put this one out at $987K, back in May, we knew at once that it would get overbid.
That seemingly precise asking price was low for the Hills and low for Spring 2013. But how low?
This being a probate sale, there was a most interesting way to find out.
First, the public listing went under contract for $1.170M in June.
Next, there was a "court confirmation" process in which the property could get overbid – again. Right as the market, even for lots in the Hill Section, was moving up.
And it did get overbid again.
That's how they got to $1.379M, the posted sale price from this week. The confirmation process requires any overbids to be at least 5% higher. This one was 18% higher.
Call it $1.4M for a fixer in a subpar location. Wow.
So in the end, the overbid was nearly $400K, and 40%, on top of that start price.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
It's time for one of our twice-monthly market updates.
But first, a photo.
It was actually on Sept. 30 – the date of this market update – that we snapped this late-afternoon shot out over the pier. The sun is more or less directly overhead, straight down MBB and off the pier.
We thought the glowing ocean made a nice backdrop. Also, the sun's position served as another reminder of how Summer is getting away from us, even if temps are still toasty. You can watch the sun set practically over in Malibu at the other end of the Santa Monica Bay in Summer. Here, now, it's crossing quickly back across the pier, and soon will be setting well south of the pier, as the days get shorter.
And speaking of shorter...
Inventory was down to 57 as of the 30th of September, down by 2 since just 2 weeks ago. There's no Fall inventory accretion yet.
Here's the quick overview on active inventory at the end of Q3:
- 57 active listings as of 9/30/13
- 47 SFRs
- 10 THs
Mid-July had 70 listings, mid-August 63, and now we're down further.
Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach:
- Tree Section: 14 actives (+4 from mid-month)
- Sand Section: 18 actives (-4)
- Hill Section: 9 actives (-1)
- East MB: 16 actives (-1)
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 9/30/13."
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 9/30/13."
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."
Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Before we get to real estate, we just wanted to note that we celebrated National Plug-In Day on Saturday with a firsthand look at numerous electric vehicles. (You did, too, right?)
We love our slightly goofy-looking 4-seater GEM, an all-electric neighborhood vehicle that's basically a street-legal golf cart. We put a couple hundred miles on it every month just around MB. But sometimes you have to get out of the 90266, for work, family or vacation. So what, then?
To go farther, you need a Nissan Leaf, or a plug-in Prius, Chevy Volt, or... what are your other options?
This is where our eyes were really opened.
Dave hopped into this spunky Fiat 500e. That's a fun ride, and a quick shot onto the freeway displayed the quick acceleration offered by electric cars' high torque. (We also experienced that torque as a friend recently invited us on a Tesla test drive – we were pressed back into the seat off the line each time. Whew!)
We also saw electrics and hybrids from Mitsubishi, Chevy (Volt and others) and Ford. And for the first time we saw Tesla's 2-seater Roadster. Yowza. [Speaking of Tesla, Mr. Musk's other big project, SpaceX, had a successful launch Sunday morning, viewable from the beach.]
Finally, we tried electric bicycles and had a chance to try all-electric motorcycles. (Finally, a quiet motorcycle.)
You spend a little time surrounded by all-electric options like that, and you think you've seen the future.
Back home in MB, please consider stopping by our open house Sunday 1-4pm at 3017 Elm.
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.
3017 Elm (2br/2ba, 960 sq. ft.) is Dave's new listing. We don't formally "review" Dave's listings here, so we'll mainly offer the official listing description text:
This charming, classic beach cottage was revived with style in a complete remodel in 1994. It has a wide-open feeling and good light. Two patios and a lush, wide front yard. Location is along a surprisingly quiet street in the Manhattan Beach Tree Section. Comes with plans for potential 2nd story (Jay Stephenson, architect). This unique lot is 98' wide at the front and tapers back. Please note: Purchase is subject to current lease through April 1, 2014.
If you clicked on this listing during its first day or two, take another look – we just got the professional photos up. They show off the unique, vintage style of the remodel.
Dave will be at the open. Here's hoping you can stop by today and say "hi."
3017 Elm starts at $925K and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
3615 Laurel (4br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is a late-90s build with a pleasant Cape Cod Craftsman style. Due to its location, just one door off of Rosecrans, it presents itself as something of a deal for the Trees these days at $1.699M.
Downstairs, the living areas feel exceptionally wide open and bright. It may be higher ceilings that enhance that feeling. The kitchen is completely open with a large dining area to one side and the big family room beyond. A mostly paved, but decent-sized, yard is off the kitchen as well.
All 4br are upstairs. The master, like the common areas downstairs, feels wide-open and bright. In back are two sizable bedrooms sharing a jack-and-jill bath. Finally there's a separate bed/bath suite that may serve as the office or guest room, depending. Laundry room is upstairs as well.
3615 Laurel starts at $1.699M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
This 2001-built Mediterranean (whoops, "Urban Morocco") home fundamentally asks the question: How much extra is (re)design worth?
Because the home is familiar. It's Mediterranean in lineage, described as "Tuscan" in past listings, "Urban Morocco" in the current listing, but really, not fundamentally different in layout or style than a lot of homes built in the previous cycle.
Two things set this one apart from some others: The basement, and the almost unbelievably sharp design, from paint to stonework to furniture and bonus touches, like the steel fountain at the entry.
Yes, it's well (re)done, but it's still just what it is: An early 2000s spec home. Because it's built onto a downsloping lot, the entry is down several steps and the layout is broken up in a couple of places by further steps down.
We also took note of the fact that the kitchen/great room in back seemed a bit smaller than is typical. The small yard is entirely paved with attractive stone and hosts a sunken hot tub. Extra bonus outdoor space is offered in a side courtyard.
Two nearly precise equivalents to this home sold in late 2010/early 2011. Same architect and floorplan, with the side courtyards and really interesting upstairs bedroom in a semi-octagonal shape, feeling a bit like a room in a castle tower. Those other recent sales were 2100 Walnut (4br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft., $1.915M, Aug. 2010) (pictured) and 1812 Elm (4br/3ba, 3065 sq. ft., $1.800M, Mar. 2011).
We should immediately note that 2304 Poinsettia is at least 300-500 sq. ft. bigger than those comps (thanks to the basement media room and spare bedroom), and, of course, the market has changed a lot since those sales. But neither of those homes were slouches at the time – both showed luxuriously – and each settled considerably under $2M. (What a great time to buy.)
2304 Poinsttia was last purchased just 2 years ago as a short sale at $1.700M. It starts now at $2.999M (it's still kind of shocking to say that) and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
2009 Palm (4br/5ba, 4050 sq. ft.) is now on the MLS after a "soft launch" a couple of weeks ago.
They're asking somewhat over $3M.
This is a big, custom house, built pre-ZORP in the early 90s, which means more interior square footage and a somewhat smaller backyard. (Mostly paved but featuring lots of green and a nice waterfall feature.)
The layout inside feels familiar, with a big 2-story formal living room and a spare bedroom up front, then formal dining and the kitchen/great room in back. Stylistically, the interior borrows a little from Mediterranean, 80s modern and, in places, a more elegant 21st-century modern. The folks who built it have simply updated it as styles have changed. It's hard to articulate what the current style is, though it's surely sharp inside.
Upstairs, one different feature is the master's completely separate sitting room. That makes it officially a "retreat." (The over-bed chandelier is a personal choice, easily reversible.) The master bath feels positively huge, and is perhaps the most modernized space in the home.
There are two kids' rooms on the upper floor sharing a jack-and-jill bath, and a large suit at the front, over the garage, which seems now to be in service as a second family room.
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.
Recent comps in the neighborhood would include 1813 John (4br/5ba, 3545 sq. ft.), a custom, darling Cape Cod with a little pool in the yard, where the sale was reported at $2.999M in May.
The other neighborhood comp is 2200 John (4br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.), a Craftsman-inspired inspired home with an open, more flowing layout and a darling yard, which sold for $2.875M in early August. (See: "Close the Books on 2200 John" for a bit more.)
2009 Palm is bigger than both of those, and starts at $3.150M. It is open Sun. 1-4pm.
1609 6th (5br/4ba, 4965 sq. ft.) is a specimen of a particular series of huge, huge homes built in this general neighborhood together in the late 80s/early 90s.
This one's been retooled to make it more luxe than you'd find in the 80s, with a modern kitchen, dark wood flooring and redone baths.
Common spaces on the first floor are just simply huge. The vast formal living room has a huge bar area just off of it, then you have additional living spaces opening to the yard with pool and built-in BBQ and bar. The formal dining room has been made just a bit more formal by the addition of ornate columns at one end.
Upstairs, the master is simply huge beyond description, almost. We brought a little MBC by the home, and he pronounced the master "big enough to play basketball in," and he's basically right. The room now shows with a whole separate living room inside it. Its master bath is extra luxe, with a step-up bath and other customizations.
There's yet another living space in the large landing looking over the formal living room. Right now there's furniture there, as if you'd stop in the hallway to gather and chat. In the same space, others might put a family homework area, or, as we've seen in one case, a grand piano.
The listing describes this as a 5br home, which would mean counting the one downstairs room as a bedroom. Because it lacks a closet, that's debatable. But it definitely can be a guest room or office, depending.
Here's what is maddening about these homes: They had nearly 5000 sq. ft. to work with, they provided gymnasium-sized masters and those extra landings upstairs, but they stashed the laundry room on the first floor. By definition, a large family is going to want a home this large. Don't they have enough to do, without also needing to lug the laundry up and down the stairs every time?
1609 6th starts at $2.100M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
320 2nd (6br/4ba, 3170 sq. ft.) is a duplex on a fairly quiet block in the South End.
We haven't previewed this property but would suggest your giving it a look.
Janie Sue Nagy did offer some detail in a post. Here's what she said:
This property is zoned for a duplex. According to tax records, the original home was built in 1940. Previous listings have shown a build date of 1988, which may be when it was remodeled to add the second level. Anyway, it has been recently remodeled and is quite livable. The main house has four bedrooms with two and a half baths. The separate rental unit has two bedrooms and one bath. The rental unit has its own entrance plus a living room, kitchen (with hookups for a stackable washer and dryer) and a private patio.Located in the desirable South Sand Section, it is about two and a half blocks to the beach and even closer to Robinson Elementary School. You can see the ocean from the front deck. Lots of windows and skylights provide plenty of light to the living areas on the top level. Bedrooms are on the middle/entry level. There is a large deck off the kitchen at the back of the house.The street-to-alley lot is 2,708 square feet. There is garage parking for two cars off 2nd Street and pad parking behind on 1st Place.
320 2nd starts at $3.295M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
468 34th (5br/4ba, 3528 sq. ft.) is back on the market now at $2.399M.
By now, MBC readers are largely familiar with this home.
Here's a bit from the current listing description:
This beautiful, 2001 built, 5 bedroom/4.5 bath Cape Cod on a quiet cul de sac in the Sand Section has a grassy front garden and loads of charm.
468 34th is now asking $2.399M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
Friday, September 27th, 2013
Back in July MBC observed that very little was available for buyers looking for a Manhattan Beach home priced under $1M. (See "Nothing Under $1M?")
Today, at least, we can say we're doing something about that. Dave's got a new listing, 3017 Elm (2br/2ba, 960 sq. ft.) that's coming out at $925K.
Among Tree Section options, there's just one other offering under $1M: 3616 Pine (3br/1ba, 1075 sq. ft.), in its third month on market and now at $949K.
The next-cheapest listing in the Trees is more than 50% higher: 3520 Walnut at $1.499M. That's a pretty big gulf.
Before we go outside the Trees, let's just discuss 3017 Elm for a moment.
Dave was quoted on the front page of the LA Times early this year, saying of MB, "The days of little cottages for under $1 million are mostly behind us."
Yet this little cottage starts under $1M. That's because it's 2br, under 1000 sq. ft. and has a somewhat smaller lot than is typical in the Trees, 3730 sq. ft. in a tapered shape. Inside, though, the home has been revived with a mid-90s remodel that gives it charm and character. (But maybe you expect MBC to say that about Dave's listing.)
Your other sub-$1M options among SFRs today include 2 in East MB and 2 more in the Sand Section.
1806 Marine (3br/2ba, 1150 sq. ft.) is billed as a "[g]reat starter home" that's been remodeled some. It's a 1950s cottage. Now asking $875K and at 67 DOM.
Also east, you have 1336 2nd (3br/2ba, 1225 sq. ft.), a bit remodeled as well. It's at $999K (off a start at $1.1M) and is at 64 DOM.
Over in the Sand Section, the pickings are slim, but there's something.
The lowest-priced offering in the Sand is also one of the tiniest we've seen in a long time: 425 23rd Place (1br/1ba, 520 sq. ft.). When a place is this small, it's almost impossible not to call it "cute," as the listing does.
425 23rd Place is offered separately from, but also kind of in tandem with, 424 24th St., touted as a duplex and asking $999K.
As MBC noted in "2 Times a Half Is a Lot," each of these half-lot homes could be purchased and joined into one full-size, 2700 sq. ft. lot with some upside for development... if you can roll with the location. 424 24th gets an expansive view of the elementary school playground.
And that's it under $1M as of this writing.
MB has a total of 45 active listings of SFRs citywide, and just 6 are under $1M.
When you include THs/condos, we see 54 listings, and 11 under $1M.
Meantime, there are 11 listings priced over $4M.
Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
The newest listing in the Tree Section comes out just $1K shy of $3M, and raises an immediate question: Is this the "new normal"?
Are we just supposed to expect and accept that nice, newer (not new), average-sized homes on average-sized lots are going to scratch at $3M?
And even if you say "no" now, maybe some day in the foreseeable future?
The listing that prompts this moment of reflection is 2304 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 3500 sq. ft.).
This is a 2001 build with a familiar, crowd-pleasing floor plan. The basement space is a nice bonus.
Don't call it Mediterranean, please.
Three prior listings have called it a "unique Tuscan villa."
But we don't say "Tuscan" anymore, either.
Now it's a home with a "fluid Urban Morocco style."
Oooh, Urban Morocco. God bless the inspired copy writers at the listing firm.
When next-door neighbor 2300 Poinsettia was on the market in late June, we said that one had a "so-so location," specifically there because 23rd St. dead ends into that home. Well, 2304 doesn't have that specific liability. Still, we don't think location is driving a top-dollar price on this one.
We'll have to come through and tour to see upgrades, etc., and this one will be open this weekend for your perusal as well. You can make the call then as to pricing.
Meantime let's review some recent sales that have been in the neighborhood, pricewise:
- 1813 John (4br/5ba, 3550 sq. ft.) (pictured), sale reported at $2.999M (ahhh, John!)
- 2200 John (4br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.), $2.875M (ahhh, John!)
- 625 31st (4br/4ba, 3375 sq. ft.), $2.750M (ahhh, 31st!)
- 2301 Laurel (5br/5ba, 3400 sq. ft.), $2.850M (mmm, Laurel)
- 664 33rd (5br/5ba, 3560 sq. ft.), $2.700M
Among those sales, prime locations predominate.
Not one was built in a Mediterranean, Tuscan or Urban Morocco style. In fact, all were Cape Cod or Cape Cod-like. (2200 John was called Craftsman, 664 33rd was "Coastal Plantation.")
So it's safe to say that 2304 Poinsettia would be defying expectations if it were to sell in that general price tier. It just doesn't look like the comps up there.
And look at the competition on the market now, all Mediterranean-type homes (no Morocco, though):
- 570 29th (5br/4ba, 3375 sq. ft.) seems like a comparable house with a wow location, asking $2.649M
- 644 33rd (5br/5ba, 4225 sq. ft.) is huge and has a decent location, asking $2.899M
- 927 27th (5br/6ba, 4235 sq. ft.) is also big, drippingly nice and has a location comparable to 2304 Poinsettia, asking $2.795M
So buyers have choices. And 2 of those 3 have really been hanging around this year.
As is customary here at MBC, we will also take a look at past trades on 2304 Poinsettia. It's an interesting series:
- new in 2002: $1.679M
- 2005: $2.300M
- short in 2011: $1.700M
So we have 2 trades at $1.7M and a peak-year sale at $2.3M. Not much hint there that a $3M listing was ahead in the near future.
No doubt, the 2011 short-sale purchase was brilliant. There are profits to be had, sizable bucks, if they can find a buyer this year – at whatever the market price is.
Is that $3M or so? We'd be surprised if that's the case... this year.
Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
It was bold. It was bullish.
In April, a home we called "one of the most difficult listings from 2012" came back to market priced higher than it had been in its failed run last year.
That was 1701 Gates (4br/3ba, 3390 sq. ft.), where the act of increasing the price to try to sell this year "fairly dares this market to prove that everything really is different in 2013," MBC said in April.
Gates dared. The market stared back. A 5-month standoff ensued.
Alas, Gates blinked. And quit.
At 1701 Gates, anyway, everything was not different in 2013.
You will note in our post from April ("A Challenge from Gates Ave.") that MBC was skeptical that this tactic of boosting the price 13% was going to work out. You try never to say never – if you're old enough to know better – but the prospects for Gates this year seemed, achem, not to be improved by jacking up the price.
The listing had run almost 6 months in 2012 at prices of $1.598M down to $1.498M. They came back this year at $1.698M.
As we said in April, "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 yard is also a bit cluttered (whoops, the description calls it "lush") and not, seemingly, well integrated with the living spaces."
Not much changed this year, even with low inventory making a lot of amazing things happen all over town.
Anyone want to place a bet for 2014?
Monday, September 23rd, 2013
About 5 weeks ago, we proposed to have MBC track Zillow's accuracy by following several (then) new listings. We'd see how Zillow's estimates from then compared against actual sold prices later.
(You may have missed that mid-August post while on vacation – here's the link: "Testing Zillow's Estimates.")
We now have one sold property to look at, and a little further info.
The sold property is 509 N. Dianthus (4br/3ba, 2150 sq. ft.), a remodel in the eastern part of the Hill Section with city views.
This listing launched at $1.625M publicly, while Zillow was counseling that it might sell for $1.746M.
The verdict from the market? A sale price of $1.620M shows that the agent and homeowners had it right.
Zillow had shot high by 7%.
How does that result stack up?
By Zillow's own self-reporting, they are within 5% about 1/3rd of the time.
This time, no.
Interestingly, Zillow's robots don't yet know that Dianthus sold. (Here's the property on Zillow.) They've adjusted the Zestimate downward a bit, though, to $1.709M. That new estimate is exactly 5% over the sold price. So with a little internal self-correction, Zillow's just about in their target range of +/-5%, even if they were high at the time the property was first offered.
As we move on to update you further, here's the full list of properties we're tracking, with the Zestimates included 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|
As it happens, the top 5 on that list are all in escrow, and the bottom 5 are all active, still looking for buyers.
509 Dianthus is the only closed sale. 3201 Palm went into escrow but canceled – we're not sure of the story there.
Out of the properties in escrow, 3 of the 5 are not going to be close to the Zestimates if/when they close. We stipulated that up front in the first post: 1202 Tennyson, a condo, appeared to be getting too much credit for the listed lot size; 1509 Magnolia had just been completely redone, but Zillow didn't know that; and 594 33rd is new construction, a fact which also seemed to escape the computers.
Of the 5 active listings, there's 1757 Voorhees, the once-a-FSBO listing, which has cut to $1.380M, now $100K under the Zestimate from August, but no deal yet.
Also, there have been price cuts at 25 Sausalito Circle ($1.625M), 1336 2nd ($999K) and 1806 Marine ($875K). Sausalito is still way above its Zestimate, the owners feeling very proud of their spectacular remodel and not interested in $1.3-ish pricing. The bland 2nd St. house is now $45K under its Zestimate, and Marine is $70K below.
We're certain that there is interest in 112 18th, despite the $5.2M pricetag (almost $1M above the Zestimate), but something will have to happen to make a deal go ahead.
As we see more market action and closed sales, we'll come back to this and see how Zillow's doing in guesstimating Manhattan Beach real estate values.