Another 10% Off an 'Investment'

By Dave Fratello | June 13th, 2011
Back in February, in "Underperforming Trees," we took note of a 3-pack of Tree Section homes all snapped up in 2005 by an investor. The homes became rentals on the apparent assumption that the homes would appreciate in value and resell later for a tidy return.

We needn't say this, but the plan didn't pan out.

One, 3313 Pine, sold off-market in July 2010 for $2.040m, 10% below its Dec. 2005 acquisition price ($2.265m). A second, purchased for $2.0m in August 2005, has never been put back up for sale (for that reason we don't give the address).

The third home from that group has a been offered back to willing buyers a couple of times in recent years, though it's technically logged "only" 220-ish total DOM so far. Most of that time it has been considerably overpriced.

2610 Pacific (5br/5ba, 3225 sq. ft.) is actually a pretty nice, newer (2003) home on a wider-than-normal 43' wide lot. (The total lot size is 4810, not bigger than the norm.)

Its kitchen was upgraded from its build condition by the prior owners (2003-05) before the home became one of those 2005 investment purchases.

Having sold for $2.1m in Sept. 2005, it was offered back at that price in July 2009, when the investor first saw fit to try to get out. The price came down gradually to $1.974m in October '09.

This year, it began at $1.990m, and predictably drew little attention, except on a real estate blog.

Now it's suddenly down 10% more to $1.799m, a full 14% loss, just on the face of it, from the original price. (To really assess the hit, you'd need to know the costs of sale when/if this goes through this year, the loss from vacant months, etc.)

And the bad news is: $1.8m for a fairly typical early-oughts spec home on a busy street still doesn't look like much of a bargain.

Trying to add some sizzle, the listing comes out of the gates pointing to a former resident:

NHL Superstar Defenseman Lubo Visnovsky lived in this beautiful home while playing for The Los Angeles Kings, and now it's your turn.
Visnovsky left the Kings 3 years ago. Talk about old news. And besides, we thought the big-name athletes all loved East MB. The pitch here is just a bit odd.

Back in February this year, we pointed to another '05 acquisition that was up on the market: 2304 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 3350 sq. ft.). That one traded for a whopping $2.3m in early 2005, came back this year and was last listed at $1.880m (-18%) when a deal was posted in early April (more than 2 months ago.)

Both Poinsettia and Pacific were probably overvalued when purchased in 2005 – Poinsettia by more, even. But there was this sense then that you couldn't do any wrong.

If and when Pacific finds a new owner, one marker to look back at will be the price paid for the home when new, in July 2003: $1.449m, before some of the customization was done.

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