Drought Ends in Hills

By Dave Fratello | March 3rd, 2009
The Hill Section is getting crowded with listings – 35 at our last count – and that's a measure of the gradual, but nearly complete, dropoff in demand.

Some of our town's prestige, high-end estates are up in the Hills, and more seem to hit the market every day. (See as an example 100 S. Dianthus, another big, newer home with big views, starting at $6.299m on Monday.)

Those with big-time money to spend face an embarrassment of choices. But few are acting.

Exactly 3 months passed recently between closed sales in the Hill Section.

The last one MBC recorded was 808 Highview on Nov. 25, 2008. (It was such a deal at $3.6m, it made news at MBC twice: see "High Up, But Below Trend" and "Best Deals of 2008: Hill Section.")

On Feb. 25, a newbie at 930 John closed escrow, ending the drought.

This home (5br/7ba, 5400 sq. ft., with city views) hit the market in April 2008 at $4.995m, which turned out to be $1.295m (26%) too high. Closed price: $3.7m. The builder paid $1.7m for the lot in June 2006.

As it worked out, only 2 new Hill Section homes listed publicly sold in 2008 – 853 6th was a deal made in late 2007 that closed in 2008 at $4.5m, and 911 Duncan made a deal and closed within the year at $3.190m. The escrow for 930 John opened around Christmastime 2008 (see "Finally, Finally a Newbie Sells in the Hills").

There are now 9 newbies unclaimed in the Hills, a few of them fresh, several of them grand, one of them short.

As to sales, when it rains, it pours – kinda. Another Hill Section sale closed on the 27th of February. But this was no newbie.

505 Anderson (4br/2ba, 1850 sq. ft.) was a major fixer – a teardown, by some reckonings. As such, it was priced low at $799k, and it was gone within a few days.

We heard about multiple offers for 505 Anderson, so it was something of a surprise to see the price close at $825k. That's not the kind of frenzied bidding we saw earlier this century.

There was one other deal made recently in the Hills, also on an attractively priced property, not a perfect view manse. Readers will recall 620 9th, which MBC featured in "Low on the Hill" in mid-February. That property, listed at $2.199m, was in escrow after a week (still viewable while in "Backup Offer" status via Redfin).

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