MB Market Update for 11/15/09, Trees

Posted by Dave Fratello on Friday, November 20th, 2009 at 5:14am.

Let's wrap up our look at the first half of this month with a look at Tree Section activity.

Recall from our first story that active SFR inventory in the Trees stood at 34 by MBC's count. Click here for Tree section actives as of 11/15 priced below $1.5m, and here for actives above $1.5m.

What's new?

How about a misguided flip attempt, a probate auction house and a 2007 acquisition that's marked up a bit – for now. To wit:


  • The '07 acquisition is 937 27th,  a late-90s build (4br/4ba, 3150 sq. ft.) that was brought up to crisp, 21st-century standards just last year by the newest owners. 
They paid $1.900m in Feb. 2007, did the work, and now seek $1.999m. (Could this remodel work out to be a "gift" to the next owner, just as we characterized the 513 N. Dianthus remodel yesterday?)
Very attractive, though there have been some choices for buyers near that price, above and below, including bigger homes without the problem of the cut-through-street at 27th.
  • 1204 Fisher is the would-be flip, as referenced in (of course) "Flipping Fisher?" Recall that this is one of three contiguous lots that a developer purchased, but wasn't able to use. Current (new) owner paid $1.375m in late July and seeks $1.699m now. Sometimes builders play this game before starting their own projects – why not see if you can get your profit without the trouble?
  • The probate auction house is 1801 Elm, subject of a recent post called "A Different Kind of Auction." The head-slapping $399k start price is not even really the auction start price, just a placeholder in the MLS entry. You'll see a lot more on this one before the Sunday, Dec. 6 auction at the property.
  • One more new entry is 845 Marine, a good-size (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.), mostly dated 1950s cottage (one updated bath!) that starts out at $1.079m.
  • Not exactly new, but returning to the MLS after several weeks of an escrow that failed, is 590 36th, very big for the area (5br/4ba, 4300 sq. ft.) and now not really marked up from its March 2005 price, $1.584m, before the current remodel. Now at $1.599m.
A few sellers managed to find buyers in this period, with 4 new escrows opening (see the Tree Section solds page), including:
  • 566 31st (5br/5ba, 3350 sq. ft.), a warm and authentic-feeling Spanish in a fairly quiet setting, though quite near controversial Sand Dune Park. If there ever was a time to sell in this location, it was during the current "indefinite" closure of the park, meaning no impact. For now. 
31st began at $2.1m and moved quickly to its last list price of $1.795m, over less than 90 days.
  • 648 26th (5br/3ba, 2775 sq. ft.), an open and pretty charming custom Mediterranean with a backyard pool. Began at $1.799m and sold in about 5 weeks.
  • 500 14th (3br/3ba, 2250 sq. ft.), a mid-century-style home with some recent remodeling that boasts proximity to parks, downtown and the beach, though it's set just above busy Ardmore.
The owners paid $1.290m in August 2004, mid-bubble. They tried to sell for $1.849m (+$559k/+43%) in Sept. 2007, but recently returned to market at $1.499m and were down to $1.399m when a buyer knocked. They might get out flat.
Just 2 price cuts this period besides 590 36th:
  • 2100 Pine (5br/5ba, 3100 sq. ft.) is a sharp new custom-built Nantucket (listing) that for some reason has lingered quietly for 150+ days. 
The listing began at $2.425m – rich for new construction these days – and is now down to $2.165m
It says here that the lot was acquired for $1.4m in Aug. 2006, leaving not so great of a margin anymore for the eventual sale.
  • 2405 Elm (3br/3ba, 2175 sq. ft.) took another step down to $1.1m, getting a bit more interesting based on the square footage, though the home needs a range of updates and won't be moving further from Marine any time soon.
Finally, we logged 3 closed sales in the Trees in the first part of the month. Of those, 2 were discussed in "Three Sales, Several Trends" – the short sale at 649 29th ($1.375m) and the cheap cottage at 3609 Poinsettia ($792k). (Click any address to see pics & details via Redfin – yes, even for closed sales now!) (Side note: Yes, we were a bit too cheery referring to the Poinsettia house's "old-time charm" when expressing a measure of relief that it wouldn't be scraped for a new speckie. Some readers, including Mrs. MBC, noticed and commented... the home isn't all that charming.)

So we'll close out here with a discussion of the third closed sale: 3109 Laurel.

Just last week, this small (2br/2ba, 1025 sq. ft.) cottage on an awkward upslope lot closed for $847,500.

That's one of the lower dirt values for a stone's throw distance from this location in a while, which won't make any of the neighbors happy.

But we also have a measuring stick that makes it hurt a bit more: a previous sale of the same property, in April 2006 (hello market peak!) for $1.375m.

Last week's sale price is a drop of $527,500 (-38%), from that crazy peak price of just 3.5 years ago.

38%. Your results, peak to trough, may vary.

This one had been offered as a short sale earlier this year, without success. Back in August, in "More on 'Foreclosures' in MB, Part II," we noted the "shock," that Laurel recently had been acquired for $568k. That was less than half what was owed when the home was foreclosed upon by the bank, which was apparently feeling generous (or desperate) at the foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps.

There was more to it – complexities, nastiness and other liens that we're not going to discuss here – but an investor found a way to take care of the clutter and get this property back to market, offering it at $899k and selling for the above-mentioned $847k and change. That price is a real market price, and a real blow in one corner of the Trees.
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