Closing Out Q1 '08

By Dave Fratello | April 11th, 2008
With the close of the first quarter several days ago, we now offer a second round of data analysis on the local RE market. (Our first data runs were published under "Another Poor Quarter" on Monday.)

Now we have a complete report (click to download PDF) on all of the closed SFR sales in Q1 2008 in our subject region (west of Sepulveda), and a new look at the average monthly sales rate in the whole of MB.

Let's start with the graph (click to enlarge further). This is the second time we've published the 12-month moving average for monthly sales of SFRs in all of MB. (See January's "Another Look at Sales Rates in MB.")

This is one of the best ways to show trends. Each month's sales figure is the average of that month plus the 11 months preceding. Presenting the data in this way dampens or removes seasonal effects, which are prominent in RE sales.

The recent peak was May 2007, and now we're scraping out a new trough. As of the end of March, the moving average hit 24, a total of 10 fewer than in May '07 (-29%). The downward arc from last May is stunning. The only similar drop in the 12-month moving average came from the hallucinatory high of 52 in Sept. '02 to 42 in Aug. '03. But that Aug. '03 figure was still 75% higher than today's sales rate.

Of course, it's not big news here anymore that the MB RE market is very slow compared with the recent boom years, so we won't dwell. A bottom of sorts is, however, in sight. We told our computer to assume that the rest of 2008 would see 20 SFR sales per month, just like March had. The 12-month moving average bottomed out at 18, just 25% below today's average.

Now let's look at the specific sales that closed in the first quarter. Click to download a 3-page PDF that shows all of the SFR sales west of Sepulveda for which MBC had information this quarter. (We're also putting this up on the upper-right corner of the front page, under "MB Market Info & Updates.")

The data here cover 33 sales of SFRs west of Sepulveda in this period. One of those (117 Highland) had been listed on the MLS, but it expired before it sold and the sale price was never posted there. That means only 32 of these sales are from MLS data. As we noted the other day, there were 48 sales of SFRs in all of MB in the same period, so our subject region west of Hwy. 1 represented 2/3rds of all sales.

The 3 separate pages of the download organize the sales by:
  • Closed date;
  • Sale price; and
  • Home condition.
On the "sale price" sort, we've noted the median sale price for these 33 sales west of Sepulveda: $1.950m. Actually, 3 homes sold for that price. Below that, 2 homes sold for $1.85m and one for $1.84m. So the median for this sample was, pretty stubbornly, going to be in that range.

Illustrating the extremes of our local market, the lowest-priced home sold for $772k (626 Rosecrans), while the highest-priced home sold for $5.6m (200 19th). (Doesn't that make us a diverse community?)

Ten new homes were among the 33 sales; 4 of them netted less than $2m – a fairly new phenomenon.

There's plenty to work with here, so we'll look forward to readers' reactions and analyses as well.

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