Blowing Their Price Points

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 at 5:26am.

To a degree, price points like $1m, $2m and $3m are just symbols.

In the Tree Section, $2m has served for some time as the minimum price for new construction. When a new home recently came on the market a hair below $2m, MBC treated that as news. (See "First Newbie Below $2m.")

By the same token, $3m has served as the marker connoting larger, higher-quality homes in the Trees.

Now two new Tree Section homes that had sought more than $2m and $3m, respectively, have sunk below those symbolic thresholds.

742 33rd (click for details via Redfin) first went on public offer in late August at $3.295m, 10% above the $3m mark.

Now, by way of a bogus re-list (not the property's first) and a new $190k cut, it's at $2.995m. It's not going to fetch $3m, after all.

1901 Poinsettia began a week before 742 33rd at $2.499m, 25% above the $2m mark. Today, after a new cut of $180k, it's at $1.999m. This one will miss the $2m+ threshold.

Either Poinsettia or 1144 Elm is going to be the first new-construction home in the Trees to sell for less than $2m in quite a while.

There will be some venom directed at the builder of 1901 Poinsettia, who already shook up the Trees by selling 2807 Elm for $2.1m, -$799k from its start. (See "Winner of the Race to $2.1m.") He threatened the comps by taking $600/PSF for Elm, and now he's offering Poinsettia at $625/PSF, at least $100/PSF lower than the norm.

MBC almost loved 2807 Elm, but we found Poinsettia a challenge to like. Still, we've heard from folks who were ready to move on Poinsettia, but wanted a deal. Guess what: at $1.999m, the builder is asking just $449k more than he paid for the lot – he's unloading.

Over at 742 33rd, the price remains at a more reasonable (achem) $744/PSF, though that's lower than all the new construction above $2.3m. MBC found this home plenty spacious and glistening in parts – especially the kitchen – but bemoaned the lack of a real yard, and the ho-hum media room, in this case just a bright finished basement. The house also fairly screams "stage me" to help bring order to its open first-floor living spaces.

If a home begins in one tier and later sells in another, hey, it's still selling for a pretty penny. But there could be a psychological blow from slipping from one tier to the next – and not just for these builders.
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