About 1.9 and Quick

By Dave Fratello | November 21st, 2011
Now that they have closed, it's worth giving another little shout-out to a couple of recent listings that hit a sweet spot just under $2m and found more or less immediate deals.

One was east of the highway, one west – and closer to Rosecrans and the refinery than you might expect to be instantly desirable.

The quick sales here point to a lack of quality inventory in a key price range – and suggest that sellers of comparable properties may have an easier time finding buyers.

1540 Gates (5br/5ba, 4125 sq. ft.) is a big and newer Caliterranean on a full-size, upsloping lot just a little bit east of Pennekamp.

The block is pretty nice – Pennekamp is just over a bump of a hill but not imposing, and Mira Costa, though nearby, is not exactly a neighbor or impact. The home's upsloping lot has been carved out interestingly so that the back yard is 2-tiered, ample in both areas. It's also very nicely planted.

Walking through the home, you'll notice a layout that's utterly familiar from the early-21st-century spec homes of MB, with the soaring ceilings over the formal living room off the entry, a 1br suite tucked away downstairs, a formal dining room and, in back, a big kitchen/great room opening to the yard. Everything is just a little bigger, though, and nicely outfitted, to boot.

Much the same can be said of the upstairs bedroom spaces – mostly what's expected, but a little more. The only demerit is for the surprisingly tiny jack-and-jill bath.

1540 Gates came out in mid-September and had an accepted offer within 10 days, though the property sat in "backup offer" status for a while and accrued DOM along the way.

It closed for $1.860m recently, just $39k off the start price. It had sold new in 2003 for $1.350m, and had a solar electric system installed and some other upgrades after acquisition.

709 33rd (4br/4ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is a classically styled charmer. We heard it called all kinds of things. "Gingerbread house?" "Hansel & Gretel's place?" A "French Chateau?"

Whatever you called it, the main home is undeniably different and warm. A 4th br suite, with lots and lots of space – including a kitchenette – is built over the garage. The home is not without some imperfections – we'd ditch that staircase in back that clogs up the eating area and views to the back, for instance. But on balance it's sweet.

The location is along a great, tree-lined block, one not to be dismissed for anyone's automatic aversion to north-of-Valley locations or the relative proximity to the refinery.

The fairly big 5400 sq. ft. lot is street-to-alley and partly wasted with a pool in the back yard – an amenity fewer families seem to want, but great if you do.

709 33rd had its first offer in hand within 60 minutes of hitting the market in September. No brokers were allowed to preview the property, and once the doors were opened, a buyer who liked the location checked out the house, confirmed they wanted it and got an offer printed up quick. The sale was for full price: $1.899m.

What do these 2 sales say?

Along with recent whiplash experience of 800 19th (see "Late Season Sensation"), they offer evidence that there are several buyers out there who want 4-5 bedrooms, good square footage and a nice location, under $2m – but there's almost no good inventory for them to choose from.

Tell us about it – we've got clients in the same range who are frustrated. This tier of the market has been lacking supply for much of the year. We're all looking for off-market options and poised for the next big surprise.

Of course, when the next good house under $2m comes up, no one should be surprised if it goes quickly. 

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