Getting Out Before It Gets Worse

Posted by Dave Fratello on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 5:19am.

They say no one's got a crystal ball, so no one knows what's next for local housing prices.

Meantime, some sellers need to take the best deals they can get and move on. Don't wait for better times – get out soon in case things get worse.

On Tuesday, 513 N. Dianthus closed for $1.640m. (Click address for pics & details via Redfin.)

Not bad for a 3br/3ba, 2470 sq. ft. home that was "completely upgraded" (listing) only last year, with a high-end kitchen and modern baths leading the way in the pricey re-do.

That whole remodel was actually some kind of a gift to the new owners, as the closed price was $10k below the sellers' pre-remodel, Oct. 2007 acquisition price ($1.650m).

Though this listing began in May at $1.899m, enough to pay for the work, it must have been clear pretty soon that that was never going to happen. And now the sellers simply took what they could get.

They also met the market with that $259k cut, which it wasn't so clear they'd do when they started. In May, in "Learning, and Not," MBC pointed to 513 Dianthus as an example of a listing that seemed to literally be "trying not to learn from the selling experience of their neighbors." To their credit, they changed course.

Also technically in the Hills, we have the first of the new MBB modern townhomes (aka "the John condos") closing.

1110 John is the "granddaddy" of the 3-condo set, offering 3br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft. That's 700-900 sq. ft. more than the others.

This one was the shocker of the set when it came out at the oddly precise asking price of $1,792,900 back in January. (See "A Surprising Development on MBB.")

Whatever pricing algorithm they used failed. A buyer has now stepped in and taken 1110 John for the very plain-vanilla price of $1,000,000, and a middling $402/PSF.

That's a drop of $793k (-44%) from start. (It's also $640k less than having your own place off of MBB over on Dianthus.)

Looking back to that first story on the John condos, MBC went out on a limb and said, "These new condos seem like a breathtakingly bad bet." Also:
With a crashing economy, the slowest real estate sales pace ever in Manhattan Beach and growing inventory (i.e., options), is someone really going to pay $1.8m to live on a busy street studded with commercial buildings?
Of course, the answer to that (wordy) question was "no," resoundingly.

[Hat tip: Blake Roberts also has a post on the sale of 1110 John, apparently beating MBC to press by a bit.]

Now, about 1108 John ($850k, $467/PSF, in escrow) and 1106 John ($850k, $531/PSF, available), can those get closed out before the market – perhaps – takes another step down?
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