Fall Cuts, Part II

By Dave Fratello | September 26th, 2011
It wasn't fully 2 weeks ago when we said that sellers who mean to make a deal this year had better take stock, check their calendars, and recognize that it's "[t]ime to cut and send a message." (See "The Season Calls for Cuts.")

As Fall takes hold, demand often slackens. Do you want to be on the market during the holiday season? That's bargain-hunting time.

Better to make your move now.

Here are few more places where a sense of urgency is kicking in. Bet on more later this week.

200 Shell (3br/3ba, 1900 sq. ft.) is a beaut that we've called "the fanciest custom build in El Porto Norte," noting that the 2007-built home "drips with higher-end detail at every turn."

Despite its location just 6 homes up from The Strand, the ocean views from 200 Shell are substantial from the top floor.

It's a thoughtfully done, gorgeous place that has now fallen from $1.799m to $1.399m, coming down in PPSF from over $1,000/PSF to $734/PSF. It is starting to look like The Deal in the Sand, certainly north of Rosecrans.

You can compare it to 229 Seaview (3br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.), another newer (2006) home – a TH – near the top of the hill in El Porto Norte, one door off Highland. We've called that one "splendid," too, taking note of its ornate details and quality materials. But that one's got lesser views and is priced $200k higher at $1.599m.

Meantime, over in the Trees north of Valley, 2 neighbors with the same location issue are duelling again.

3525 Walnut (4br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is on the newer side (2001 build) and quite big, and may now be the most compelling package in the Trees at $1.399m. The PPSF just nudged under $400/PSF.

You really have to bite down and accept the location, whose proximity to the refinery is all the more noticeable because of the elevation of this particular segment of Walnut. And there's not much of a "yard" to the home, so Tree Section buyers wishing for some out-of-doors space will mark the home down for that as well.

Like Shell, this one's down $400k, having begun at $1.795m in June. (The listing calls this a "Very price reduction." Very what?)

Prior sale note: 3525 Walnut was acquired in Oct. 2002 for $1.175m.  

Next-door neighbor 3521 Walnut (5br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is smaller and a more custom Craftsman home that continues to be priced higher than the Caliterranean neighbor. But they did make a new cut to $1.535m in response to 3525, and they're pitching seller financing as an option to entice buyers. That one's down from $1.899m.

Both Walnut homes were referenced in our late-August post, "Forgotten North of Valley?"

861 10th (5br/6ba, 4500 sq. ft.) is a home that's gotten such frequent mention here, you'd almost think we should invoice the sellers. Somehow we doubt they'd cotton to that, though, since one of our posts this year was titled, "Slow to Clue In."

The listing keeps making news, and we keep reporting it – from the Aug. 2010 public offering just 5 weeks after these new owners took title ("Hey, Didn't They Just Buy That?"), through a succession of failed listings with different agents over the past 14 months, right up till today, as the home's now being offered at 10% below last year's acquisition price. (By comparison, the citywide median price is down 6% year-over-year.)

The newest cut to $2.379m drops 861 10th a full $256k below acquisition, and the carrying costs during this span can't be any fun, either – the home's been vacant as long as we can recall during these various listings.

It seems to be the most desperate situation among 3 neighboring Hill Section homes, and it's a drag, in some sense, on the others (849 10th at $2.589m and 853 9th – also vacant – at $3.089m).

From this toxic mix – buying too fast for too much, facing an immediate job change and then waiting too long to find the market – some kind of bargain will be had. Maybe even this Fall?

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