The Distress List

By Dave Fratello | July 11th, 2011
Taking note of The Pig over at 860 12th Ct. last week – a short sale with a very odd pic – we took to wondering how many distressed sales there are on public offer these days in MB.

Not so many, actually, at least according to the MLS.

We find just 8 coded as REOs, shorties and in-foreclosure listings, looking among all SFRs in all of MB (just 5 are west of the highway). Here are some highlights:

1750 Ruhland (5br/6ba, 4250 sq. ft.) nearly rules the roost, with an asking price just dimes shy of $2m ($1.961m).

The newer home (2006 build) was last purchased for somewhat more: $2.225m a full 4 years ago, in July 2007, at the peak. It's a short sale now at just a 10% discount from '07, not quite the same sort of rewind you find on other 2007 purchases. So worry a little bit.

And since they've raised the price $100k from the start, worry a bit more that there's some delusions at work. Often shorties are dramatically underpriced to draw interest, then you worry about whether the lender will approve.

Point of comparison: 1550 8th (5br/6ba, 4350 sq. ft.), also a late-bubble build (2007), was the highest-priced sale in 2010 in East MB, at $2.035m, after a foreclosure. 8th is bigger and better located, given Ruhland's position just a few houses off Aviation.

456 21st St. (3br/4ba, 3325 sq. ft.) is actually the highest-priced distressed property listing in MB, a 3br Caliterranean overlooking the baseball fields at Live Oak Park.

You'd think this one might command a premium given the prices for corporate box seats in big-league parks, but perhaps not if the local Little League (or Senior League) teams aren't performing on the field.

The listing at 21st has seen some of the boldest, most striking price cuts in MB this year, from $2.8m to start (a rescue price?) to $2.049m now, short.

1801 5th (2br/1ba, 800 sq. ft.) is the cheapest troubled sale, newly an REO offered at $695k. The little home on about a half lot (3825 sq. ft.) was purchased for $870k in May 2007, putting the current REO offering price 20% below the '07 value.

Little 5th was offered short for more than 6 months from late 2010 till May this year, at prices bouncing between $639k-$680k (the price literally went up and down at different times). Those short-sale efforts ultimately failed, though, and the bank took it back in early June.

In a fashion all too typical among REO listings, the current agent is from out of area, the listing pics are poor – the mops and missing ceiling lamp are highlights – while the writeup worse than perfunctory (our town is called "Manhatan Beach" and there's a reference to our "beachs"). And as we have seen before, the REO listing is priced higher than the same home as a shortie.

The question now: Is 5th a better deal now than it was earlier this year at a lower price?

3108 Walnut (4br/4ba, 3700 sq. ft.) is listed short with an NOD against it, but also seems to be dreaming of some kind of rescue.

The list price of $1.595m is higher than the total amount of the loans we see, and doesn't seem to offer much of a discount considering the potential hassles awaiting a buyer.

We like that location pretty well, but a mid-80s home that needs a lot of updates won't fetch $1.6m. Overpricing a shortie while the bank is breathing down everyone's neck doesn't seem like a good way to create a rush.

1412 Wendy Way (4br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is a newer (2005) custom build that backs up to Aviation.

East MB market followers may recognize this one from its on-and-off attempts to sell since early 2009, including nearly 9 months on market last year as a short sale, when, like Little 5th above, the price bounced all over, from a start at $1.2m in March 2010 to a high of $1.560m in late November. (No, there's no rhyme or reason to it, except perhaps the lender intervening and saying, "We'll take $x, not a penny less.")

The property foreclosed in January, with a reported transfer at $1.148m. It came back as an REO in early 2011 at $1.5m and dwindled constantly thru late June, down to $1.187m, when it officially failed. With a new agent, it started in late June at the last list price, but is now down to $1.128m.

What's that? A basically new, big house in MB for $1.1m? Steps to the running track, soccer fields and Redondo Performing Arts Center? How could that fail again?

The other 3 distressed listings: 2600 Oak (short, $729k), 408 17th (short, $1.650m) and the listing formerly featuring The Pig (860 12th Ct., short, $935k).

While we're looking at current, distressed offerings, we'll also note that 217 Seaview is on its second escrow now since MBC last called attention to it in "Can An REO Fail?" We suggested that a big markup over the previous public price (as a short sale) was unwarranted. This one was purchased for over $1.5m before the modernistic remodel, so $899k or so, or whatever this winds up at, is certainly a big discount.

That may even be an attractive price, which is supposed to be the point with distressed sales, right?

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