Close the Books on 332 20th

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 3:44am.

You can say the first quarter was warm and busy this year, but one new closed sale sure reminds us of 2009.

In the doldrums of last year, several sacrifice deals were made – particularly on new construction. Builders had to get out, and they had to sell into one of the toughest markets in memory.

It was all the more painful when spec projects had been planned and penciled out in the boom years.

Perhaps the deal of the year in 2009 was 218 N. Dianthus (4br/4ba, 6100 sq. ft.), which had launched in March 2008 at $6.750m.

Nearly 500 DOM later, the world was different.

The money behind the project didn't see things getting any easier, and they decided to get out. Once the price neared $4m, serious buyers moved in.

Dianthus sold for $3.920m in July 2009, -$2.8m/-42% from start. (For more, see "Deal Done Down Low, High on the Hill.")

Properly priced in early 2008, it might have fetched $5.0-$5.5m, but we'll never know.

Now we turn to one that might be remembered as the deal of the year for 2010.

Though, yes, it's early yet.

332 20th (5br/5ba, 4300 sq. ft.) is a gorgeous custom-feeling Spanish near the top of the 20th St. walkstreet over Highland. As we noted in our mid-February MB Market Update:

A high price ($4.795m) and tough market doomed the first listing, which ran from Jan.-Nov. 2008 before the home rented out.
It returned in Sept. 2009 lighter, at $3.895m, and finally found a buyer this year after shaving off another $500k to $3.395m.
It fell further from even those heights.

332 20th closed Monday for $3.050m.

That's -$1.745m/-36% off of the start price in Jan. 2008. It would appear that this sale was at a loss to the builders, who paid $1.85m for the lot in June 2005.

What might it have drawn in 2008, before the financial meltdown? $3.5m-$4.0m? Again, we'll never know.

20th is a wonderful house, unique, warm, with big ocean views that are well-framed by the home's design. Even in a living room, along a wall where you'd have cabinets or a big TV, there are view windows beckoning. Some found the layout and some of the design quirky or broken-up, but to a lot of us, it sang. Price was really the main problem.

Your blog author swooned perhaps a bit too much, and made 20th one of 2 properties mentioned in an early-2008 MBC poll (see "$1m to Cross the Street?") that compared it to a new-construction listing down on 19th closer to the water.

The comparison property west of Highland, 200 19th, sold for $5.6m, quickly.

That turned out to be a high-water mark even for walkstreet properties west of Highland, but it sure made MBC's question look silly.

The final gap between 332 20th and 200 19th was $2.550m.

So, in answer to the first question: Is a new home west of Highland worth $1m more than one east of the Sand Section's great barrier street?

The answer is: No. It's worth $2.5m more.

In answer to the second question raised here: Is 332 20th the deal of the year, already?

The answer is: It's April!
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