Cape Cod Grabbed Off-Market

By Dave Fratello | December 18th, 2012
There are just 9 listings in the popular Tree Section of Manhattan Beach right now, none of them Cape Cods.

There's been a real shortage of homes in that in-demand style throughout the year; this is not just the end-of-the-year blues. (Here's our post from May 2012 lamenting the lack of Cape Cod inventory.)

So what have buyers done? They've trolled the off-market waters.

1417 Elm

Earlier this month, we saw 1417 Elm (5br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft.) sell off-market. And what a price: $2.149m.

This one was offered in Fall 2011 for a few months at $2.099m, down to $2.049m.

Those numbers were, frankly, not suited to the times, particularly with a home on the smaller side (3000 sq. ft.) and offering such a postage stamp of a yard. It quit and rented out, as the owners moved on up to one of the largest, and priciest, homes in the Trees.

We've called 1417 Elm, "a truly gorgeous bit of craftsmanship," not at all diminishing it, but the street, size and yard were working against it.

But that was 2011.

In 2012, people want houses, can't find them, see prices rising, and pay more.

That's how a littler house could sell this year for $100k more than the price it couldn't sell for last year.

And here we're just drawing a comparison based on the list prices from last year. We comped out 1417 Elm for clients last year, and sincerely saw it as a 1.8-ish house then... maybe 1.9.

It's a little more amazing to see that this year's sale price compares favorably with the late-bubble (Aug. 2007) start price of $2.175m, when this home was new.

The first and last trade on 1417 Elm was in May 2008 at $2.065m, so this one is actually up $84k (+4%) over a price from last cycle.

2808 Elm
Compare this to 2808 Elm (5br/4ba, 3225 sq. ft.), another Cape with unsuccessful runs on the market in 2010 and 2011. (See "What a Difference a Year Makes.")

Last year, they couldn't get a nibble with the price at $1.979m. This May, they sold for $2.150m on the open market. Call that the same price as 1417 Elm; nearly $175k above a failed 2011 price.

2101 Walnut
And the 1417 Elm sale comes in high in comparison to perhaps the best of a small set of Cape Cods to sell this year in the Trees south of Valley: 2101 Walnut (5br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft.).

Walnut has got the greatest square footage and best location of the 3 we're discussing here.  2101 Walnut also boasts a sunny, west-facing yard that is practically parklike when compared to anything else on a 4480 sq. ft. lot in the Trees. The sunken garage enables a large main living level and prevented the home from pushing back too far on the lot, preserving a truly great yard.

2101 Walnut sold off-market in May for $2.225m. That's $76k more than 1417 Elm, but you'd think the extras at 2101 Walnut were worth a lot more by comparison.

There's a hunger out there, an itch people need to scratch. It's called demand, pent up in a box, and it is pushing prices higher than you'd expect – for Cape Cods, or whatever you've got.

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