14 by 11/11

By Dave Fratello | November 12th, 2010
You thought those toasty days last week were a sign that November would be hot?

What about the first several days of the month in local RE?

By the evening of Nov. 11, there were already 14 new escrows opened on SFRs in MB this month, with 10 of those deals coming west of Sepulveda.

What's selling? Let's look at them all.

No Huge Surprise

The first 2 we'll mention can't be regarded as surprises. Each got a mention in our "Weekend Opens" as they debuted and both looked crisp and well-priced – as you had better be if you're going to debut on or after Halloween.

(1) 2920 Laurel (3br/2ba, 1875 sq. ft.) is a "smartly remodeled cottage" that launched at $1.249m and posted a deal within 5 days. Decent location, good family space and a tight re-do were all big pluses.

We noted in our writeup that nearby, slightly larger, and much odder 2908 Laurel (3br/3ba, 1985 sq. ft.) recently closed for $1.180m, underscoring that 2920 was shooting straight, perhaps low.

(2) Also going quickly in the Trees was 1720 Poinsettia (4br/4ba, 2700 sq. ft.), a "charming entry in a desirable location" that came on at $1.499m, prompting MBC to say, "Certainly there will be interest; a quick deal isn't out of the question."

That one took all of 9 days to post a deal. (Technically they're seeking backup offers.)

(3) 636 9th is a 9425 sq. ft. Hill Section lot with "ocean view potential" that lasted a full week at $3.0m. This one was fairly easy to comp. A 50% larger lot at 809 Highview (14,140 sq. ft.), higher up the hill but with a one corner that nearly touches 636 9th, just sold for $4.3m in August. If you want to try to be precise, 9th was 2/3rds the size of Highview, and 2/3rds the $4.3m price would yield a value of $2.86m for 9th, before you adjust for the higher view location.

Obviously they began in the right ballpark to begin at 9th.

Reasonably Quick Deals

(4) 410 31st (3br/2ba, 1600 sq. ft.) ran just 6 weeks before finding a buyer. It's a late-60s original with updates on a corner up on the plateau in the Sand. It didn't scream "must have" and required some compromises, but it was priced to move.

410 31st was purchased for $1.450m in Dec. 2005, but the market has declined since then, and the home lost its views to the west when a big new building went up. It began at $1.195m and took a chop to $1.099m before posting a deal. 

(5) 1540 21st (4br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft.) is a great example of how much extra you can get for the money east of Sepulveda.

It's nearly a max-size lot at 7200 sq. ft., a fairly big (and single-level) home, and hey, if it is a bit of a jumble or needs updating from its 60s vintage, a lot of people will gladly take on those challenges at a price near $1.1m. Especially with a quiet location 2 blocks off Redondo, yet close to schools and Polliwog Park.

The listing launched in late October at $1.170m and cut to $1.120m before finding a buyer.

(6) 226 Larsson (3br/3ba, 2600 sq. ft.) is a clean early-90s home on one of the skinny 3400 sq. ft. lots near the Larsson Parkette. As a bonus, there's a finished roof deck with great city and mountain views. This one kicked off at $1.379m and had a deal in less than a week.

Eyebrows May Raise

747 26th
(7) 747 26th (4br/4ba, 2825 sq. ft.) drew a mention in our early-October post, "How Near, How Far," as a listing that was "far" from where it needed to be pricewise, displaying "too much confidence in a $1.5m+ price."

In fact, they never cut below $1.599m in the list price, and had a deal a month later, on Monday this week. We'll see where they wind up. 

MBC had opined that the sellers were "seeking a premium-type price for a home that needs quite a bit of work and is also difficult to contemplate," with a layout that "poses challenges" and a pool in the yard, not everyone's favorite amenity. Location's an unquestioned plus, though. Looks like we'll see how wrong we were.

(8) 509 N. Dianthus (3br/3ba, 2250 sq. ft.) was nice and significantly upgraded from its 1960s-era build before the current owners recently bought it, back in May 2009 for $1.150m – not quite 18 months ago.

It was upgraded further with a much more contemporary flair, getting a plus kitchen, flooring and such before the sellers decided to move to a different home in the Hills.

In exchange for the re-do, the sellers sought nearly $200k extra at first, but were down to $1.299m (+$149k) before making a deal. Though this wasn't a flip per se, it's still unusual to see marked-up, quickie resales around town.

As a reference, look also to 226 Larsson, mentioned above, about 350 sq. ft. larger, which posted a deal priced at $1.379m.

(9) 229 42nd (4br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.) makes our list of early-November deals here because it was on the roster of SFRs, despite its current status as a 2-unit building.

Maybe we haven't watched El Porto Norte quite closely enough, but the $1.448m start price for a home on a half-lot seemed plenty ambitious. Its $101k increase 2 weeks later seemed, well, not "reality-based."

And yet, $1.549m was the list price when a buyer knocked this week, 7 weeks into the home's run on the market. Where does this one wind up?

Relief At Last

(10) 757 36th (5br/6ba, 3725 sq. ft.) launched in late June, but had to wait for the exceedingly similar, but better-located, 763 33rd (5br/6ba, 3825 sq. ft.) to close first.

The homes share the same basic layout – which we like, in part, for its full-size kid suites – but 36th is newer by 3 years (2003).

33rd did sell, for $1.850m just after Labor Day, after a start just short of $2.1m.

36th was never priced that high – it began at $1.849m, the market's price for 33rd. But it's closer to the refinery and Rosecrans, knocking it down a bit. We also found the finishes and décor at 36th to be not quite as nice as we recall from 33rd.

The last list for 757 36th: $1.699m. They've now posted a deal in the listing's fifth month.

(11) 1632 Curtis (5br/5ba, 3400 sq. ft.) is new construction east of the highway, on a hilly block mostly made up of newer homes. The Cape Cod-ish home is stylish and nicely detailed, with thoughtful pluses including skylights, pocket doors and a huge attic with 6-foot ceilings.

The home takes up most of a full-size (7500 sq. ft.) lot because it's all on one level – an interesting choice that was going to work perfectly for someone, but for many buyers it probably meant a potential space crunch or lack of privacy, and a smallish yard that would more familiar west of Sepulveda.

Curtis launched in May at $1.999m and was down to $1.798m when a buyer knocked 6 months into the listing.

(12) 1510 Mathews (5br/5ba, 4600 sq. ft.) is a big, newer home just off Artesia and very close to the high school, but that didn't stop it from selling for $2.737m new just 2 years ago.

Loans went bad and the home hit the courthouse steps, selling for $1.4m at auction in April, if we're reading the records right. 

It came back on public offer in late April at $1.995m, and hadn't cut much to $1.939m when, more than 6 months later, a handshake occurred last week.

This is a big one to see through to the end: Last list was -$798k/-29% off the 2008 price, but also a sweet markup of more than $500k over the acquisition this year.

If some investor really earns $500k on a foreclosure next to Mira Costa, it could be MB's deal of the year – and, of course, in this case, we don't mean for the buyers.

(13) 507 S. Aviation (3br/2ba, 2000 sq. ft.) isn't inspiring at all, a mid-70s home that is maybe freshened up a bit, but mainly provides a cheaper way into the 90266 at $795k. They found a deal just shy of 100 DOM.

We admire the listing agent's forthrightness in providing a principal photo that features a huge chunk of asphalt. Yes, that's a busy 4-lane road right out your front door.

On the flipside, you wonder: How hard was it to time this pic so that there were no cars whizzing by?

(14) 2513 Elm (4br/4ba, 3150 sq. ft.) was a late entry to our list of early-November deals, having posted one deal already this month that washed out, but they got a new one Thursday.

This is a late-90s home that will remind you of lots of speckies from the past decade, with a safe Caliterranean look, a split-level living space with a nice great room and medium-sized yard and some recent updates, particularly the kitchen.

Elm began in June at $1.730m, but was at $1.550m when they found a buyer here in the listing's fifth month. Worth noting: The sellers paid more, $1.599m, in Aug. 2004.

Now, the first half of November doesn't often look much like the second half.

The calendar tells us that there's a big holiday and travel week. Schools are closed. Things could slow down.

But then, rates don't often reach historic lows during the holiday season. Anything could happen.

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