Shaking the Trees

Posted by Dave Fratello on Thursday, November 1st, 2007 at 4:43am.

We've got action in the Tree Section both above and below $2m that may influence future sales.

First, the closed sale price on 754 14th came in at $1.665m. This is the Arbolado Ct. home that popped up last month and sold within a week – see "Aggression Pays" – not only showing up the long-time neighboring listing at 758 14th, but destroying its price. (More on that in a moment.)

754 14th (5br/3ba, 3100 sq. ft., $537 PSF) got a quick sale by apparently "underpricing," or, you could say, accurately evaluating the market.

And what a kick to see that the sellers took a bit less – $33k – despite getting a more or less immediate offer. Convention is that you get full price that early, but, again, the sellers were looking to make it happen, and a trifling $30k wasn't going to get in the way.

So 758 14th, the neighboring house, for which the owners paid $1.695m last year (see our first story on the home, when it began at $1.990m), is now obviously very overpriced at $1.699m. The sellers were already destined to take a loss, but now it's clearly going to be worse.

Another casualty: 2413 Elm (pictured; click address for details).

This is not a bad house. It's quite large (4br/3ba, 3350 sq. ft.) and has some charms as well as some challenges. Some of the design and remodeling are adequate or nice; some feel dated (it's just an 80s thing).

We don't love the impossible entry – a downhill hike along concrete steps – and the master bath needs an expensive overhaul. The location, second house off Marine, is a big minus, even if you don't notice it once inside. So the current price of $1.699m was a good guess at the value, but it makes little sense after a nicer house in a better location got $1.665m. (The sale price on 2615 Valley – now pending – will be a factor too; was last at $1.599m.)

If you're the sellers at Elm, and want to be aggressive after 100+ DOM, try $1.4m, and you'll have a line at the door. (Sellers paid $845k in 2000.)

Meantime, the clustering around $2.1m-$2.2m continued, with 1313 Oak chopping almost $200k, down now to $2.199m – and sorry, still no more free Mercedes.

Don't forget, this one began at $2.799m last year. (Stupid dream.) The owners paid $1.525m in Dec. 2004, and they haven't gotten the message yet – they still want +$674k (+44%). What can we make of this entreaty from the listing language:
SELLER MOTIVATED, PLEASE CALL FOR DETAILS
Though reality is dawning slowly for 1313 Oak, someone else is trying to find it.

The new construction at 2807 Elm has made a new $200k cut to $2.299m, a month after we noted that there had been "Systematic $100k Cuts on Elm." So, yeah, that's twice the normal cut for this one.

We'll say it again, 2807 Elm a lovely, large home (3550 sq. ft. plus a larger-than-normal 5500 sq. ft. lot) that simply started too high at $2.899m (mmm-hmm, they're down $600k in 4 months).

We find this Elm house noteworthy because it's a rare example of a builder/seller trying to get the price right quickly, not waiting around to see what happens.

What we said in late September applies now:
Step by step, the folks offering 2807 Elm will keep working to find the price that gets you to say, alas, "this is a great home at a good price."

With a decent location, a plus build and two nice outdoor spaces (the lot is larger by 1100 sq. ft. than your average Tree Section lot), they could pull it off. They have to get the price right, but at least you can say they're trying to find where the market is now.
Hey, where is the market now? A lot of people would like to know.
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