Let the Market Decide

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 5:18am.

You can assess, appraise, or guesstimate what a property's worth – what it should sell for.

And then there's the market.

Over and over (and over) this year, we've all been surprised at some point by the prices buyers have paid – bidding wars and no bidding wars. (Do you smell a year-end wrap-up post?)

But before we get all nerdy and comprehensive, let's focus on just the last week's examples.

Hugely, first, we'll look at 311 32nd (3br/3ba, 3500 sq. ft.).

Golly, it was just last week that we pronounced that they'd "failed" to sell this one, after an overly ambitious 23% markup attempt.

Aha! said the seller. In fact, I have sold it.

Tuesday, 311 32nd closed for $2.8m, a markup of 7.7% over this very recent past sale in April 2012 ($2.6m).

Take out costs of sale, and the seller made a little money getting out – though no one would advise this as an investment strategy. (Buy in April, sell in December = Profit!)

What did we say a couple times? "Good luck with that."

Well, they did have some good luck with that.

424 30th (2br/1ba, 1100 sq. ft.) stands out as different, a small half-lot house up on the Plateau.

Cute? Sure. (See our review from September.)

But the $1.169m asking price was also, more or less, what we expect to see as lot value for the sale of nearby 441 28th – a full-size lot (2700 sq. ft. vs. the 1350 at 424 30th). (They're having some problems closing 28th, but it's in escrow at this level.)

Could they get $1.2m for a full-size, 3-story, newer home on a half lot among the mostly larger Plateau homes on this block? Sure.

For a tiny original?

They had good luck when the market decided. They got that asking price, $1.169m.

1450 5th
Now let's go east.

1450 5th (5br/6ba, 4300 sq. ft.) is a 2001 original that we called "smashingly updated" and needing nothing.

We speculated: "It might linger, though, due to price, which began very ambitiously.... at $2.599m." (See "East MB Options Growing," Sept. 2012.)

The basis for that comment about the price being "ambitious" was our (apparently quaint) observation that the total number of comparable East MB homes to sell for more than $2.2m in the past 3 years was: One. 

(That'd be 1544 Voorhees at $2.6m. See "East MB Sale Crosses $2.5m" for more.)

Well, 1450 5th did linger – a month, before posting in "backup offer" status.

With a sale last week at $2.490m, this one becomes a very bullish comp east of the highway.

How did they get that? We did say, "this one is, hands-down, THE class entry among East MB offerings right now, so it's no wonder they're pushing for extra... [T]he newest owner went to work and really tricked out the place over the past year-plus."

That work made it a must-have estate on a quiet block.

They had good luck when the market decided.
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