One Less Hill Dirt Option

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 at 4:39am.

After almost 18 months and $3m in price cuts, 222 N. Poinsettia has a deal. (Click to view pics & details via Redfin while the listing is in "backup offer" status.)

Regular readers will recall that this is a honey of a double lot with a charming, and somewhat updated, ranch house on site. Many have said we should keep the rancher, but, at $5m or so, that does seem unlikely. It's a lot sale.

222 N. Poinsettia is a wide, 13,800 sq. ft. lot that offers potential for big panoramic views – see the listing for some pics of views from the existing home that ain't bad.

In July 2008, the first request by the sellers was for $7.9m. Over time, those ambitions changed. The last list price was $4.950m (-$2.950m/-37%).

You can call that $2.5m for each of 2 separate 6900 sq. ft. lots, for reference's sake – or just in case the buyer ultimately tries to split them. (See our July 2008 story, "Just Split 'Em," for more such speculation.)

With this deal, the Hill Section is now down to just 2 lot sales on public offer:
  • 1022 1st, now over 400 DOM, a small 4800 sq. ft. lot fairly near Sepulveda (high on the Hill!), currently at $1.497m. The owners paid $1.3m in June 2008 and tried to sell immediately for $1.9m, but have had no bites, hence the gradual decline in price.
  • 113 S. Dianthus, at a similar point high up on the hill, a 6250 sq. ft. lot listed at $2.999m, and quite near a full year on market. It's on the west side of Dianthus, well positioned to capture big views. 

There was a time last year when the dirt options seemed to constantly expand. But by late November, after we saw 2 nearby 1st St. options vanish, suddenly the build-your-own possibilities were dwindling. As discussed in MBC's Nov. 30 market update post, 918 1st (10,000 sq. ft. lot) had sold (listed at $3.4m, still in escrow) and 919 1st, last at $4.5m, had quit.

Pinning a value on 222 N. Poinsettia has had its own complications. There's really not much comparable. (The 1st St. offerings were close, but different.) And the market changed from the time of the June 2008 start up till now.

The value of the dirt beneath 218 Anderson, a super-snazzy double-lot home that sold recently for $6.525m, could be an important reference point. The land there may be in the mid-4's. (The new owners, whose home ranked 1st in MBC's "High/Low Prices of 2009, Hills," are said to be contemplating further remodeling and upgrades.)

Due to 222 N. Poinsettia's ultra-high start price, this listing will wind up with one of the bigger chops we've ever seen when the deal closes.

To set a new record for a drop from start for the Hills (and likely for all of MB in recent years), the price would have to close $513k below last asking – at or below $4.436m – which would then eclipse the nearly $3.5m chop at 218 Anderson. (See "Ground Down to $6.5m.")

Regardless, this sale promises to be in the top 10 for 2010, and that's before the new owners start adding value by adding a little noise to the neighborhood – 'dozers, cement mixers, nail guns, etc., if we might jump ahead of things a bit.
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