Time for a New Champ

Posted by Dave Fratello on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 at 5:55am.

Fall is a time for clearing out old, tired listings.

Now, like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky, they've finally taken an offer at 317 5th (4br/5ba, 4150 sq. ft.), a mid-90s contemporary on a corner lot on a South End walkstreet. (Listing may still be viewed while in "backup offer" status.)

A deal here doesn't just clear out a slightly old listing – it knocks out the reigning DOM Champ for the Sand Section, possessor of an unmatched 538 DOM until now. (Listing began 4/10/08 and pulled a bogus re-list or 2 afterward, so ignore the DOM you see in the listing now.)

Back in early June this year, 317 5th was just the runner-up for DOM in the Sand, lagging behind the new contemporary at 425 26th, but that one closed in August. (See "A Selection of Sand Closings.")

At MBC, we don't mind saying when we've made a mistake and/or going ahead and correcting it. So we can now say we were clearly wrong in mid-April 2008 when we said that 317 5th was "priced competitively at $3.2m." (See "Options Grow on South End Walkstreets.")

It wasn't, and it didn't respond quickly or substantially to the market over the next 18 months, trickling down slowly to $2.875m before posting a deal. Who knows, maybe we were drinking some bad kool-aid when we said it was well-priced.

One potential nominee to replace 317 5th as DOM Champ might have been 505 3rd, a ragged investor-owned property that recently dropped well below its acquisition price to try to find a deal. (For more see "Another Flopped Flip.") It has been for sale, on and off, pretty much since MBC's inception in 2007. Purchase price in Sept. 2005: $1.6m. Most recent price: $1.425m.

Alas, that listing just now dropped out.

And it has an NOD against it as of late August.

The amount of the loan gone bad: $1.425m, just like the last list price. Could we see this one on the courthouse steps soon?

So the real, new DOM Champ for the Sand is 204 19th, a splendid, big (4br/4ba, 4250 sq. ft.) home on a great block that just hasn't been in any hurry, ever, to sell.

At $4.599m, it's now priced $401k below the Aug. 2006 acquisition price ($5.0m), and $1.1m below its start price from Sept. 2008. It's at 387 DOM as of Oct. 2.

Depending on his offseason choices, the owner, Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe, may wish to take up residence again, his team having fallen out of playoff contention officially on Thursday. In that (unlikely) event, we could be fishing for another DOM Champ soon.

As we've noted before (see "Lowe-ring the Price"), Mr. Lowe may be in no hurry, but he also has little obvious reason to worry about a paper loss on this home. He's just completed a $15m season, and has 3 more to go, guaranteed money at the same pay rate. Now that's a champ of a different sort.
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