17th Gets Busy

By Dave Fratello | November 13th, 2009
Two next-door neighbors on 17th St. have made deals after many, many combined months on the market.

We had to reach deep into the MBC archives to find our first reference to 317 17th. Fortunately, this is the Internet; we didn't have to kick up any dust to pull up "Stuff Our Stockings (Please)," from mid-December 2007.  (Click property address above for pics & details via Redfin.)

Back then, what drew notice was the short hold and big markup. To wit:
  • Bought Nov. 7, 2006 for: $2.050m
  • Offered in Dec. 2007 for: $2.799m
Yes, the seller sought $749k (36%) more after 13 months for the same property, no big improvements. Let's call that "bubble thinking."

Later, the seller seemed to come around. After almost 6 months on market, in late May 2008, the list price shifted to $2.199m. That was still a markup over 2006, but worth a mention at MBC for the "$600k Reality Check" that was evident in the chop. (That "reality check" story shows the price history from Dec. 2007-May 2008, with several cuts.)

The home itself boasts a 1920s heritage, some updates, and a rental unit out back. Various reader comments here at MBC have described an attractive, interesting property with layout issues that made the whole package a puzzle that was very hard to solve.

317 17th never sold, dropping out at some point along the way. But it has just hit the radar screen now, already in escrow. Price: $2.0m.

And here's where the shades of gray come in.

Gone are the attempted markups. There will be a significant, but not devastating, loss, after costs of sale. Yet, if this one closes at $2m, it will actually be an impressive example of a property holding near a 2006 market value. That's rare around town these days.

As to the neighbor up the hill a bit, 321 17th (aka 320 17th Pl.) is much bigger. The footprint, that is.

The property is actually a lot-and-a-half, 4050 sq. ft. instead of the standard 2700.

Make no mistake, it's a lot sale. The longtime listing (375+ DOM) has always said "lot value only." Also, the pics conform to the "first pic is a view" rule – actually, the first 6 pics are views. Definitely a lot sale.

This was a late-2007 acquisition – yes, later in this cycle than even the neighbor – and there will be some kind of markdown.

In Oct. 2007, the lot drew $2.7m. It was last at $2.499m.

Much like the neighbor, 321 17th hit the market about a year after acquisition, back on Oct. 30, 2008. Unlike the neighbor, the seller never sought a markup.

With both listings selling at about the same time, it's natural to wonder if someone has gone out and acquired two-and-a-half ocean-view lots near the top of a nice, big hill near downtown.

That, we don't yet know, so we'll simply note the coincidence alongside the evidence for surprisingly modest price declines for some semi-prime ocean-view lots. And more clearing of the inventory before the holidays.

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