Do-Overs in the Hills

By Dave Fratello | March 25th, 2011
You've seen them before, now you're seeing them again.

Three "new" listings in the Hill Section are familiar to some degree. Will they have greater success finding buyers this time?

913 Highview (3br/4ba, 2360 sq. ft.) has location going for it, and size working against it.

We called it "elegant" at some point during its previous 500+ DOM, which spanned June 2009-Nov. 2010. MBC readers have reported back positively on the home, too, though with reservations as to its overall size.

The location offers a peek at the ocean along with treetop views, plus the increasingly coveted quick walk to downtown and the beach.

The issue in past listings of 913 Highview has always been price. It was purchased for $1.910m in Feb. 2005, but made its first splash on the market in 2009 with a nearly $500k markup at $2.399m. Gradually it came down to $2.199m in early 2010 and parked it there for 10 months before quitting.

A fresh start at $2.099m now is still a markup of $189k (+10%) over a 2005 price, when most trades these days seem to be near 2004 prices, but that's still progress in the right direction.

923 8th (5br/5ba, 4350 sq. ft.) is a gorgeous, newer (2005) home with plenty of style and big city views from the master and main living spaces.

There's a great high-end kitchen, as you would expect, with a 6-burner grill and island with bar seating. The kitchen opens into a great room, all oriented toward the back yard and offering views to the north. The master has better views upstairs; all the bedrooms are nice. Layout is traditional with living spaces down; bedrooms up.

This one was also purchased in 2005 but – unlike 913 Highview – isn't trying for more this year.

The May 2005 purchase at 8th was for $3.350m, but the asking price now is $3.099m (-$251k/-7%). When the same home was listed early last year (for just 40 DOM), they sought fully $500k more than the new start price. The sellers obviously recognize that they'll need to rewind into 2004-ish prices to make a deal this time.

813 Duncan (5br/4ba, 4075 sq. ft.) is a large, early-90s home low on the Hill that we've mentioned here recently.

The home has an upside-down layout meant to feature its top-floor views of PV and ocean peeks.

It was offered late last Summer at $2.585m, but suffered from a dated kitchen.  It's back now at $2.395m after some remodeling work, including a much sharper, more modern kitchen.

Compare this one to 913 Highview a moment. Obviously Highview is close to downtown, but Duncan is quite nearly across the street from the local elementary school, and a quick skip to quiet South End beaches. So what's important to you, location-wise?

With far, far greater square footage than Highview (more than 1700 extra square feet, plus some storage space on the garage level), the PPSF for Duncan is much lower: $587/PSF versus $889/PSF at Highview – a 34% difference that's exaggerated, in part, by the big size different. Still, what's more important to you, space-wise and value-wise?

Buyers will be asking themselves those kinds of questions. We'll see which of these sellers means to make something happen in their do-overs this year.

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