Swing High, Swing Low

Posted by Dave Fratello on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 10:00pm.

The pendulum of the local real estate market didn't just swing over at 410 31st. Imagine more like a violent flapping – spanning a decade.

As a piece of real estate, 410 31st (3br/2ba, 1600 sq. ft.) is sort of unremarkable. The home's on roughly a half-size lot (1425 sq. ft.) on a corner with Vista up on the plateau.

A late-60s original home has some updates from the last couple owners, including wood floors and a kitchen that was remodeled roughly within the last 10-15 years – nice, but not high-end, 21st-century stuff.

With the most recent sale of the property, though, you see how fickle the local real estate bubble could prove to be. High prices came, and went, rather quickly at 31st.

Way back in December 2005, someone paid $1.450m for the home.

That was exactly double the July 2001 price, $725k. (Which was down nearly 10% from asking.)

Now this year, the 2005 sale looks like bad case of the overpay blues.

A deal first made in Nov. 2010, nearly 5 years after acquisition, closed last week at $1.050m after a long-ish escrow. (That sale was for 12% off the start price.)

That means the newest trade was -$400k/-27% off the price from just a handful of years earlier. Bye, bye, bubble values.

Maybe MB's median prices are down a moderate 14% from the peak (see "4th Qtr.: More Sales, Lower Prices"). But as 31st shows, individual homes won't track the median perfectly – particularly if the pendulum swung much, much too high on the upside.

Worth noting: Ocean views from 31st were disrupted to a degree between the 2005 and 2011 transactions. In a recent writeup, MBC described the current view as "a sliver" of ocean from the rooftop deck. A new building immediately west may have blocked some views that were available before.

The home's bigger issue was probably layout, which includes a downstairs space that seemed to be used as a master, but had the setup of, perhaps, a former 2nd unit. It has been described as a "multi-use" room in 3 consecutive listings, hinting at the identity crisis and the resulting awkward fit that the home would make for most buyers.

Past sales: Redfin's property detail page also shows several early-90s sales for the same property. We don't have any info on the condition or remodeling from then, but take a look anyway:
  • Oct. 1994: $362,500
  • May 1996: $418,500
  • Aug. 1998: $585,000
Whatever the issues this year, the home has still traded for 45% above its 2001 value, so the value rewind – severe as it may have been – didn't nearly go back to the decade's start.
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