First Newbie Under $1.6m

By Dave Fratello | April 20th, 2010
More than 2 years ago, 1144 Elm debuted as the Tree Section's first new-construction home in years priced below $2m.

That was November 2007, and MBC noticed. (See "First Newbie Under $2m.")

The listing ran about 5 months then, but the home rented out instead of sticking it out. The last list price was $1.879m.

Now Elm is back at $1.599m, a little worn, perhaps, from being lived in, and certainly having seen its market value take a hit since early 2008. (True, this is not strictly a "newbie" anymore, but we liked playing off the old title.)

The home itself (5b/5ba, 3300 sq. ft.) is fairly standard, though as we said back in 2007:

[It] has character inside, with good living spaces downstairs, nice detail work in the kitchen and baths, even kids' bedrooms that don't seem too scrunched. It's bright, too, despite a northern orientation – apparently a good use of skylights.
The issue here is location – next to a commercial building and MBB. It takes a lot to swallow that. But as they say, price can fix a lot of things.

Back in Nov. 2007, MBC said of the vanguard role Elm was playing by starting below $2m:

Until recently... new stuff in the Trees always started over $2m. Certainly, since Spring this year, that's been the case. No new home has been priced at, or sold for, less than $2m.
Did you notice any hedging there?

There was actually one new-construction sale early in 2007 that was below $2m: 3405 Pacific, which is also back on the market now.

Pacific began much further back, in March 2006, at $2.149m, lingering nearly a year before closing for $1.775m in March 2007. That was one of the first sub-$2m sales we had seen.

Pacific is back for slightly less than its March 2007 price: $1.729m.

While sub-$2m sales of new homes were rare when 1144 Elm first came around, there were several last year, including:
  • 3404 Pine (5br/5ba, 3250 sq. ft., $1.895m on May 21)
  • 560 36th (4br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft., $1.555m on June 2)
  • 2103 Elm (5br/4ba, 3100 sq. ft., $1.880m on June 2)
  • 3109 Oak (4br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft., $1.660m on June 5)
  • 2509 Palm (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft., $1.675m* on June 30)
  • 3309 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 3250 sq. ft., $1.900m on July 20)
(Notes from * and **: 2509 Palm's sale price is based in part on a property exchange; that property was previously an REO; also, 2504 Poinsettia was an REO.)

Quite recently, we saw the closing of 660 33rd, much bigger than all the homes listed above (5br/5ba, 4750 sq. ft.) at a reported price of $1.990m – just a nudge below that semi-magical $2m threshold, but actually a greater value by the square foot than the rest.

Meanwhile, 1144 Elm and 3405 Pacific are 2 newer homes with significant location challenges, probably set to define the lower end of newer-home resale prices.

Since we won't have a lot of new construction to track for a while, resales of this kind could be the next big category to watch.

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