MB Market Update for 3/15/08, Trees

Posted by Dave Fratello on Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 12:42am.

This is the third installment of the MB Market Update for the period 3/1-3/15/08. The Hill Section and Sand Section stories were posted earlier this week.

Click here to download the complete 3/15/08 spreadsheet, or any time, use the link at the upper-right corner of the front page.

In the article below, click on the smaller pics to enlarge and, as always, click on any highlighted address for pics and details via Redfin.

Tree Section

There were 47 active SFRs in the Trees as of 3/15/08, of which 26 were priced below $2m, and 21 were priced above $2m. This continues the trend we've noted previously, a slight reversal of what we saw for much of the year 2007, when most of the Tree Section inventory was above $2m.

Seven of the 9 new listings in our spreadsheets this period were priced below $2m; 5 were between $1m-$1.5m. (Note that one of the Twins in the Trees – 3309 Poinsettia – is shown as "new" here, too, meaning 10 show as new in the Trees, but its start date was actually Feb. 28.)

Short Holds

Two new listings were purchased in late 2006/early 2007 by their current owners:

2005 Oak (another Oak listing!) was offered for $1.460m in Fall 2006, and purchased for $1.350m by the current owners, who now face a job transfer. The home is delightful in some respects – garage tucked away in back, spacious kitchen/dining area, cute living room up front. There are only 3br/3ba, however, and the living spaces could start to seem cramped quickly. Asking $1.479m to start.

3412 Pacific was offered seemingly forever in 2006, staring at $1.65m and slashing down to $1.349m over time. The listing canceled late in the year. Imagine our surprise to learn that the home sold for $1.491m in January 2007 – $150k over asking, after almost a year on market. There's a story in there somewhere... The remodeled home is not much on the outside, but has surprising space – 3br/3ba and 2200 sq. ft., on two levels. It returns to market at $1.199m, fully $300k below its Jan. 2007 purchase price, and $150k below its last list price.

Gotta Have 'Em

Two gems came on and sold quickly. 1906 Flournoy, a flat ranch-style home with 4br/2ba and 1800 sq. ft. in a quiet location, came up at $1.680m and sold within 3 days – for all cash, according to comments at MBC.

Meanwhile, much larger 738 26th (pictured) sought $1.799m for 4br/5ba and 2900 sq. ft. in an nicely isolated location (at 26th/Agnes). Before you knew it, the home was in escrow, but unfortunately that didn't hold. Mrs. MBC liked the traditional look and feel; others didn't like the layout. You've got another chance now, but we doubt it will last.

The Rest

The bargain among the other new listings was 709 35th (pictured), with 5br/4ba and 3400 sq. ft., priced at $1.499m – at $441/PSF, the lowest among actives and barely higher than the $425/PSF paid for nearby 561 35th just a month ago. (We say it "was" the bargain because it's now in escrow as we write.)

1412 Elm and 2904 Laurel offer similar profiles: 3br and 1850 sq. ft., both near $1.4m (Elm: $1.385m and Laurel: $1.449m). Laurel has no garage; that was converted to an extra bonus room with bath.

661 26th is new construction in the Cape Cod style – a familiar layout with high ceilings on a larger lot (5120 sq. ft.), with a good-sized back yard and a spacious front patio that might really be usable as an outdoor living space. This one offers 5br/5ba, 3400 sq. ft., and starts a bit high at $2.699m. Also new is 2705 Palm – still nearing completion (as the dirt piles in the pic show), it will have 5br/5ba and 3300 sq. ft. It also begins at $2.699m.

There were 6 sales in the Tree Section from homes listed on the MLS, plus another sale that was posted to the MLS, though we had not seen the listing active (2401 John at 3br/2ba, 1350 sq. ft., $1.189m):
  • 742 27th is in its second escrow; the last price was $1.999m but we're hearing the sale price is higher. This one began at $2.4m in October 2007 and MBC ran a pricing poll on it in January. (Click here for the results.)
  • 2507 N. Valley, a longtime listing that foreclosed last October and was purchased for $1.643m by a private party, had been listed for 3 months at $1.790m, offering up to 90% seller financing.
  • 609 26th, a home that had been offered in 2007 at $2.299m and came back a bit lighter at $2.099m.
  • Two new homes that, oddly, had the same numerical addresses, both sold during this period – 644 33rd and 644 35th. The 33rd St. home (5br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft.), a somewhat striking Spanish-style home, has always been listed at $3.250m, and it was nearing 500 days on market. The 35th St. home (6br/6ba, 3650 sq. ft.), by contrast, was offered for less than 2 months and took one cut, from $2.459m to $2.359m.
In this period, 11 listings made price reductions (all indicated on the spreadsheets with boldface type). Some of the highlights:
  • 570 27th (a.k.a. "The Farmhouse," pictured) cut $200k more and is now below $3m for the first time, down $900k from its start price of one year ago (March 14, 2007);
  • 3500 Blanche, a month-old listing of new, busy, Spanish-style construction, chopped $150k to $2.399m;
  • 1825 Oak, a practically new home, cut $100k to $2.299m; and
  • 1413 Pine and 3505 Pine, both intriguing new listings from early January, each completed $100k worth of cuts, with 1413 now at $1.659m and 3505 at $1.399m. In this period, 1413 also re-listed upon "expiration" of the initial listing, and Mr. MLS hasn't imposed the full DOM count of 66 (as of March 15).


Interestingly, while we count 12 homes in escrow in the Trees during this period that had made their deals prior to March 1, only 1 sale closed in this 2-week period. We imagine that credit market issues are slowing some escrows down, but we can't be sure in any specific case.

2709 Oak, the one sale, was one of the longer-term listings of new construction, with 521 DOM when the escrow began. It closed for $1.950m, down $445k/-19% from its start price of $2.395m from August 2006.

Oak is now the second example of new construction in the Trees to close under $2m in the past year. 3104 Pacific, in the last report, was the first, and 1901 Poinsettia is waiting in the wings to become #3.
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