Close the Books on the Crazy Craigslist TH

Posted by Dave Fratello on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 4:46am.

A couple months ago, we discussed a townhome that was in utter unloading mode at 432 24th. (Click for property history via Redfin.)

MBC doesn't cover THs much, but this one hit the radar due to serial, daily re-listings on Craigslist – often with different prices. (See "Craigslist Craziness.")

We can now report that as of late April, this TH – a 1995 build with 3br/3ba, 1975 sq. ft. – did make a deal.

The listing was off the MLS by then, so we only now came across the closing price. Here's the full progression:
  • Jan. 2005 (last purchase): $1.247m
  • Dec. 11, 2008 (listing start price): $1.299m
  • Dec. 12, 2008 (listing changed price): $1.199m
  • March 16, 2009 (listing changed price): $1.099m
  • March 23, 2009 (listing changed price): $1.075m
  • April 29, 2009 (sold/closed price): $1.030m
You may recall that the "Craigslist Craziness" story was partly about the fact that, while the home was offered on Craigslist at $1.199m and $1.299m, it was on the MLS at the same time for less. That fairly mocked the idea of Craigslist as some kind of bargain bin. You'd be paying more if you paid one of the Craigslist prices.

As things wound up, the buyer took a little more off the lowest MLS price.

More significantly, this buyer took a substantial bite off the early 2005 acquisition price: -$217k/-17%.

Interestingly, the same TH sold in Nov. 2002 for $810k. This puts the April 2009 value almost precisely at the midpoint of the two previous sales, which occurred 25 months apart (Nov. 2002, Jan. 2005).

We say often here that MB is largely living in 2005, pricewise, though we frankly doubt that our town will hover in that era for much longer.

Distress sales with location challenges will often lead the way. In MB, townhome values fall faster, too. These sales become the new comps and will keep pushing the market adjustment.
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