Into the Trees, Cheaply

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 at 4:02pm.

Do people want into the 90266 on whatever terms possible?

There are 5 recent, lower-end Tree Section sales that point to "yes."

It's been a sudden, perhaps coincidental, recent rush. All but 1 of these 5 came in under $900k, and the one above that threshold wasn't far above. (As always, you can click the highlighted address to see the whole listing on Redfin.)

730 Rosecrans
730 Rosecrans (2br/1ba, 875 sq. ft.) is the cheapest by a lot, a very small 1950s cottage that was recently retooled for sale, with refinished floors, new windows, new wallboard, a new (if small) kitchen and fresh paint.

The "third bedroom" has a closet but is quite small and hosts laundry hookups. (Identity crisis!)

730 Rosecrans began at $779k, but sold for much less: $671k (-$108k/-14%).

Less than $700k!

2503 Valley
2503 Valley (2br/1ba, 950 sq. ft.) started slightly under $800k and closed a teeny bit above asking at $790k.

In August, we called this one "a surprisingly attractive option for the entry-level buyer," though it is "barely livable as is for most families." (Click for more of our review.) The point being, if you can deal w/ Valley, this home has some potential and interesting views of the trees along the greenbelt.

The home was last acquired in July 2007 for $1.031m, with the resale representing a loss of $241k (-23%) over about 4 years, before considering costs of sale. Since it was a rental in the interim, that looks like a flop of an investment.

3521 Pacific
3521 Pacific (2br/1ba, 800 sq. ft.) tried last year at $935k, which was never going to happen. (Did we mention 800 sq. ft.?)

As we said in a review in February, "There's a location issue, and the home's remarkably small – just one living area in the main home and a single bath that's almost impossibly crunched. But the home is spiffed up in lots of places, surprisingly charming for what it is." A bonus room off the garage is a plus.

3521 Pacific closed for $795k last week (-$140k/-15% off the start last year). Is that land value for a 4560 sq. ft. lot near Rosecrans? It's not much above.


1816 Pacific
1816 Pacific (2br/1ba, 975 sq. ft.) boasts a much better location along Pacific and a bigger lot (5080 sq. ft. vs. just 4560 at 3521), but it netted only a fraction more: $825k.

In a review in June, we called this one a "very little house, a real squish, without many indoor updates." But we noted "a big exception: out back," where there's a big swimming pool and hot tub set over newer stone pavers.

The listing touted the potential for a second story to be added, as if to say there's value in the current structure. At $825k, it doesn't seem the buyers agreed.

This one may have seen the greatest fall from its start price ($1.059m), with the closing at $825k representing a decline of $234k (-22%) from start.

That's a little funny because we overheard the listing agent saying at the first broker's open that there was "maybe a little room" to negotiate the price. Right, or 22%.


837 12th Ct.
Just sliding over the $900k threshold was 837 12th Ct. (3br/2ba, 1200 sq. ft.), a corner lot home right across from Pacific Elementary, which has just sold for $905k. (The house, that is, not the school.)

The home has some updates over its late-40s original, including a kitchen more of the 80s or 90s than mid-century. The yard is a bit awkward – it's accessed through the narrow side walkway and consists of 2 tiers, with a grassy area walled off from the lower, concrete patio area.

Of these 5 new title transfers at the lower end, none is really ideal as a building site, though 2503 Valley and 1816 Pacific have some potential. What the market could use – and some of our clients could use, frankly – would be well-located new lot offerings around the Trees. If you know of any options, post here or email MBWatcher. Thanks.
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