Update on Some Short-Term Holds

Posted by Dave Fratello on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 4:57am.

In MBC's early days, we used to run a feature about sellers with the "Two Year Itch." (See our most recent two-year-itch update, from February.)

We defined these two-year itchers as folks who were looking to get out of a home they had remodeled for a profit, or who just wanted to cash out on the appreciation they had seen by simply living in their homes for a spell at a fortuitous time.

We told some tales in 2007, in particular, of people walking with some nice checks. (Scan down a bit in the left-hand column and click the "Label" for "two-year itch" for more.)

There haven't been many of those stories recently.

Short-term holds aren't too profitable right now, in most cases. Consider our most recent story of this type, "Short-Term Holds (Sand)" from June.

Then, we looked at 14 Sand Section resales on the market that had been held 3 years or less and/or had been substantially remodeled recently before hitting the market.

We figured that a sample size like that would net us some useful data on the Sand Section's general rate of appreciation over a few years.

We were mostly wrong to think we'd get good data. The market hasn't cooperated.

Of those 14 listings, 6 now are still active, 5 have canceled, and just 3 have sold. (Actually one, 417 28th, appears to be stuck in a long-running escrow.)

There's virtually no useful market data coming out of that bunch, because only one closed sale (1501 Crest, $1.470m) offered a direct comparison to a prior purchase price (July 2006-July 2008: +7%). Sure, +7% over 2 years is nice, but it's just one data point.

The other closed sale was a recent big-time remodel – 448 27th, which closed 17% down from its start price, selling for $1.725m. That's good money, but it was the lowest PPSF (at $651/PSF) for a Sand Section listing for months – owing to the home's quirk: 2 bedrooms amid 2650 sq. ft. of living space.

MBC will keep watching the Sand, where inventory is growing appreciably, and we'll report back if we can get more data for any reasonable analysis.

Meantime, we're watching the Tree Section, where several current listings are now near, or under, their recent acquisition prices. Stay tuned...
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