2 Classy Hillies Down $2m

By Dave Fratello | March 12th, 2009
There's frequent cause here for mention of the slowdown in Hill Section sales, particularly among new homes. (See, most recently, "Drought Ends in Hills.")

This week, 2 more reasons. Two terrific newbies made separate cuts that dropped them each $2m off their start prices. And at least one is starting to look like the best deal up there.

218 N. Dianthus (4br/4ba, 6100 sq. ft.) officially hit the market 53 weeks ago, seeking $6.750m.

If that was a bit rich at the time, you could still see how this grand home with big living/entertaining spaces up at the top of the hill might be a $6m home. Not so long ago, $1,000/PSF for new construction seemed the norm.

MBC has documented several of the cuts along the way. This week, a new $300k cut puts 218 N. Dianthus at $4.695m. That's down $2.055m (-30%).

Look around the Hills, and you'll see 8 other new homes on offer, 2 with lower PPSFs, 2 others just about the same as the new price on Dianthus: $770/PSF. As imperfect as PPSF is for comparison purposes, it's an indicator to watch.

The listing for Dianthus now says the price is below replacement cost. (That is, you couldn't buy the dirt and build this home yourself for less.) Though the lot acquisition price and loans aren't readily visible to us, our take is that's still probably right.

And when a home does drop below replacement, that's a threshold at which sales tend to happen. See, for example, 221 34th, the new beach-close walkstreet home that MBC called the "Best Deal of 2008."

511 Pacific has not been around as long, so its shedding of $2m over 4 months has been more dramatic. From a start at $8.0m last November, Pacific is now at $5.995m after a new $704k cut this week.

There's lots more that's dramatic at 511 Pacific: the whole package.

This giant (5br/8ba, 8300 sq. ft.) home has high ceilings, huge (and unexpected) panoramic views from PV to Malibu and a ton of space spread all about a network of hallways and staircases. You could get lost in this house. Any guests certainly would.

This home treats the master of the house very well, which ought to help sell it to the master-of-the-universe type who can buy it.

Much of the lower floor on the west side (with views) consists of the master, master bath, separate closet/dressing room (with extra bath) and yet another room that can only be viewed as the sitting room for the master. (It would be a nice, bright living room in any other home, but here it's extra space, divorced from the rest of the home's living areas but attached to the master.) The spaces open to a little yard. You could have a full day in your bedroom if someone would kindly truck down a couple of meals.

Suffice it to say, the builders have squeezed a lot of amazing, custom home onto this peculiar, inclined lot. Features like the media/theater room and disappearing window/walls (nanawalls) are state of the art.

There's been just one thing we can imagine keeping people with money from buying 511 Pacific: the troubles with money these days. Even the top tier needs some help getting a dream home. And in many forms, that help seems to be on the way.

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