Failed Auction, New Deal

Posted by Dave Fratello on Thursday, June 18th, 2009 at 4:23am.

There's a new act opening in the saga of 2509 Palm, one of the failed auction houses: It's got a buyer.

Oh my, a nice little pickup in sales in the Tree Section has actually spilled all the way over to one of MB's longest-running listings west of Sepulveda.

The backstory on this one goes way back... Back more than 2 years to April 19, 2007, in fact.

That's when this particular cookie-cutter speckie (5br/5ba, 3150 sq. ft.) was first offered to the public. Start price: $2.449m.

Just stop a moment to consider – what were you doing in April 2007? And how did you feel about the local RE market? Yes, things are different now.

For 2509 Palm, the clock ticked, the market changed, and eventually the home's twin at 2509 Walnut sold (for $2.025m, July '08). Still, they just couldn't get anyone to part with their money to move into 2509 Palm.

Enter the November 2008 attempt to auction 2509 Palm – along with 4 other speckies by the same builder. (See "Name Your Price?" from last October, setting up the auction, and "Forget 'Qualified,' Auctions Failed" for the postgame story.)

When that didn't work, Palm went back to the bank in the first days of this year.

The price history on this property is almost too complex to detail, but we'll focus on some of the recent prices that have been attached to Palm:
  • $1.499m – auction start price (buyers would have had to add a 7.5% "buyer's premium," so the effective start price was $1.558m)
  • $1.679m – last price on the active, post-auction listing, late 2008
  • $1.504m – posted "sale" price as the bank acquired the property, Jan. 2, 2009
  • $1.535m – quick sale price to an investor, Jan. 29, 2009
  • $1.799m – start price on the new listing, Feb. 1, 2009
  • $1.699m – last list price when escrow posted
Looking at that progression, a few natural reactions suggest themselves.

First, if the new sale closes anywhere near that $1.699m price, then buyers who walked away from the auction offering – assuming they'd get a better deal later – blew it.

Also, at or near that price, a high-wire-walking investor makes out with a 10% profit over 6 months. Not bad. Although, have you noticed that money invested straight-up in the market this quarter has far, far exceeded that kind of short-term return? (Yeah, but who knew?)

Alternatively, if the sale price nears $1.5m, the buyer calls it a deal and the investor wipes a tiny bit of sweat off the brow and moves on.

Either way, isn't it time for this saga to draw to a close?


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