26th St. Is Smokin'

By Dave Fratello | June 18th, 2014

West of Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach, within the Tree Section, there are really 4 quadrants.

One of the best of these suburban quadrants is north of Valley and west of Pacific Ave., all the way to the sand dune.

In the 500-700 blocks, you have a close-knit community that's a quick walk to Grand View school, with a nice off-the-beaten-bath feel to it. Legions of kids seem to be out all the time. It's easy for potential buyers to say, "Oh yeah, that's what we're looking for."

One of these streets has seen more than its share of head-spinning sales recently: 26th St.

Start with the newest: 724 26th (5br/3ba, 3400 sq. ft.).

There's no doubting the appeal – big house, bigger-than-normal lot (5125 sq. ft.) with a fairly big, sunny, south-facing yard. A spare bedroom downstairs, great room layout opening to the yard. OK, easy.

And yet, the $2.650M sale price – fully $50K over asking – really makes you sit up and take notice.

Inside, the house retains several 80s features – for instance, a big, step-down living room, kitchen and master bath that each could use a full modernization, a missing 4th (or 5th) bathroom.

Compare this one to other Tree Section homes that have sold recently:

2301 Walnut (4br/3ba, 3585 sq. ft.) (pictured) at $2.349M, with a smaller lot but more drastic recent efforts at refreshing (new carpet, flooring and paint, if not structural re-dos of the kitchen or master bath); 

2201 Agnes (5br/3ba, 3300 sq. ft.) at $2.300M, boasting a super location, some nice updates but a quirky 3-level floorplan; and

1821 Pine (4br/5ba, 3065 sq. ft.) at $2.250M, an early-90s house with a very open floorplan, some updates and a cool backyard.

Nice houses, similar vintages, but they're not on 26th St.

What about the little remodel-or-scrape cottage at 768 26th?

This 3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft. house sparked a major bidding war early this year because its dirt is so valuable.

The 6100 sq. ft. lot, with south-facing backyard, could have been built up into one heck of a huge new house, with a garage and/or basement built down into the rising lot. You could have seen 5000+ square feet with a sunny yard and hot location. A developer would be asking something in the 4's for the final project.

But no, the buyer just wanted to be on the street – in fact, was pretty insistent.

To outbid the builders and other other would-be remodelers, it took $1.900M. For 1400 sq. ft. (It was one of our "shockers" in this post.)

Go back to last year.

Builders were thinking big big big when they grabbed a double lot, split it and turned out two new homes with basements to boost square footage.

It had been a long time since there had been a sale deep into the 3's in this area of the Tree Section.

But the 3's were hit twice by these new next-door neighbors, 705 26th (5br/4ba, 4875 sq. ft.) (sketch pictured) and 709 26th (5br/4ba, 5120 sq. ft.), selling for $3.599M and $3.700M, respectively.

That was only last Summer. But those big sales encouraged a whole new round of speculation on what the "new normal" might become for new construction in good locations in the Trees.

Right now, in escrow, we see 640 26th (4br/3ba, 2600 sq. ft.), a 1940s original, remodeled perhaps in the 80s, with 2br up and 2br down, nice but not splendidly overhauled.

That one at 640 came out asking $2.099M and had a deal very fast.

As recently as last year, that kind of money might have gotten you a 10-year-old house, with a more conventional floorplan and a bit more square footage.

But maybe not on 26th St.

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