October's Crop

Posted by Dave Fratello on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 1:16pm.

The harvest is largely behind us, as those jack-o'-lanterns the other night symbolized.

So how did MB do this harvest season compared with prior years?

Glad you asked.

October's sales pace among SFRs west of Sepulveda – MBC's traditional coverage area – was back in line with the last bubble year, 2005.

If we count only closed sales of SFRs in the month of October, you see that 2010 was precisely equal with 2005, half the level of 2003, and just a bit more than half the rate of sales seen in 2000 and 2001. (Click chart to enlarge.)

Both Oct. 2009 and 2010 outperformed the 3 slump years of 2006-2008. That's in line with the general sense that a local RE recovery of sorts began in Q3 2009.

There's still some chance that a couple of more sales will be added to the October closings later, since our source is the MLS, and that relies on agent input. Maybe just a few had too much, er, candy on Sunday night and haven't yet entered their data. Or we can blame escrow.

Just a few highlights from the October closings:

225 39th (3br/3ba, 1600 sq. ft.) (pictured) is a snappy El Porto Norte remodel purchased as a short sale in 2008 at $1.185m, after someone had paid $1.595m in June 2007 and tried to flip it for more. This year it lasted about a week on the market and closed at $1.159m.

1144 Elm (5b/5ba, 3300 sq. ft.) is a long-suffering listing that debuted in Nov. 2007 as the first new construction in the Trees in quite a while priced below $2m. (See "First Newbie Under $2m.") After a rental period, it came back in April this year at $1.599m. The home's got character but a major location issue, near MBB and abutting a commercial building parking lot. It closed for $1.480m.

The big appeal of 856 11th (4br/3ba, 2225 sq. ft.), besides the Hill Section address, is the big 6,000 sq. ft. lot with a sunny, truly parklike yard. The mid-70s home tends to show its vintage in places, and its 2-up/2-down layout with the bedrooms was not going to work for everyone.

MBC mentioned this home a couple times in late 2008 when it was offered at $1.479m. 11th began a bit higher this year but closed for $1.4m.

801 Highview (6br/7ba, 6425 sq. ft.) is certainly worth a mention, a big corner-lot view home that's more of what the Hill Section is known for. There are just a few prime positions up there, and 801 Highview's got one of them. 

The late-90s home has been updated, though it's heavy on stone and tile, not the hardwoods that buyers seem to prefer these days. Highview ran 280 DOM in 2009, requiring a not-insubstantial correction from a start at $7.495m to be taken more seriously at $5.997m. This year it has closed for $5.625m.

Can it be? This looks to be MBC's (welcome) last reference to the trapezoidal tower, the Gateway to MB, the town's most profoundly misconceived late-bubble speckie, host to a surprising number of vehicles gone wild, the would-be pride of El Porto Norte turned surfer-dude rental – 4419 Highland, which found a buyer after a rechristening as 4419 West Highland this year. (See "New Label for the Gateway.")

For a recap on the history, check out "'Gateway' Creeps Under $1m" from June this year. But suffice it to say the ambitions for the trapezoid cascaded downward for years, from a start at $1.695m to a closed price of $940k. The lot was purchased in Aug. 2005 for $730k.
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