John Relo Trades at '09 Price

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at 4:17pm.

If mid-2009 was the local RE market's bottom, can you get that kind of price today?

In one recent case, the answer is yes, with some qualifications.

Now, the high end in the Hill Section is hardly a typical slice of the MB market, but we do have a same-house trade that offers an example of someone getting an '09 price now.

612 John (6br/8ba, 7400 sq. ft., on a 10,000 sq. ft. lot) is a huge home with huge ocean views befitting a kingly corner-lot property.

This home commanded $3.320m in 2000 when new, and was listed in 2008 as high as $7.3m.

It actually sold for $5.450m in July 2009, right between those figures – noteworthy at the time because of that chop of nearly $2m from the start price. (See "Some of the Biggest We've Seen.") A positive turnaround of sorts in the local market began within several weeks of the closing.

Alas, the buyer at the time didn't have much chance to really settle in at John. Just a few months later, his massive aerospace/defense firm decided to move its headquarters from this area to the D.C. area. 

612 John returned to the market shortly after Labor Day this year at $5.499m, a tiny markup over acquisition, finally ready to sell as a relo.

It logged just 5 weeks on market and sold almost 2 weeks ago for $5.400m, though the MLS entry was just made late Monday.

That's a price we could call flat to 2009.

You could argue that 612 John was actually more valuable this year than in 2009, for 2 distinct reasons.

First, there's that elegant pool area. In 2008-09, the backyard was a grassy patch. Since then, the home got an elaborate, elegant pool and spa instead, and a raised entertaining/seating area surrounding and up above the pool that draws in outstanding views. (Even this pic only hints at the views to the south and west.)

Second, there's the new lease-on-life for the home's overall spectacular ocean and PV views from the first and second floors. The low-slung 50s wreck next door to the south at 600 John was purchased in January this year and, lo and behold, the new owners have opted to remodel the existing 1-story home and not build up. (See "Work in the Hills.")

You should be careful buying views, but, for now, that's pretty nice reassurance that lots of blockable views from 612 John will remain for a while.

612 John isn't quite this convoluted.
Why this property's unique: Of course, the size (7400 sq. ft.) and price are atypical of MB and even the Hills. Further, we've called 612 John a "puzzling palace." (That link's from our Sept. 2011 tour.)

Among the standout curiosities:
  • A master bedroom on the entry floor that opens to a formal living room with sliding/pocket doors. 
  • A seemingly endless numbers of stairs throughout the home (and outbuilding) that call to mind a famous M.C. Escher drawing (Relativity). 
  • A basement/media room that's modest in light of the large amount of official living space.
So, was the sale at John flat to the 2009 bottom?

Or below the 2009 bottom, given the new assets for the property?

Whatever your answer, it's hard or impossible to to generalize from this one – unless the comparison property has 7000 square feet and a roughly equal number of stairs.
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