Flipping Fisher?

By Dave Fratello | November 3rd, 2009
What's a lot worth on one of MB's least-known, prestige blocks near downtown and the beach?

Maybe we'll get to that question soon with the new listing at 1204 Fisher.

What's that? You recognize that address as a sale earlier this year?

First, make sure no one is looking and pat yourself on the back, dear reader. That's because you're right – 1204 Fisher sold in late July for $1.375m. But it's back this weekk.

That price might have seemed fairly high for a 3300 sq. ft. lot, technically in the Tree Section, on a little block that's just one up from Ardmore and north of MBB. However, you need to recognize that this is, quote, "One of the best locations in Manhattan Beach" (listing).

In 2005, a development group thought much the same. They bought 3 consecutive lots – 1204, 1208 and 1212 Fisher, turning the latter 2 into the grand Fisher King & Queen. For 1204, the acquisition price (June 2005) was $1.7m.

Though the modern marvels eventually sold this year for impressive prices – $4.55m (King, 1212) and $3.65m (Queen, 1208) – that probably was not how those projects originally penciled out. Hence 1204 never became the "Jack" to join the other 2, and instead got dumped, costing the former owners $325k plus 4 years of carrying costs, not to mention costs of sale.

1204 was exposed to the market for a little over 3 months early this year, starting at $1.575m, but coming down quite a bit by July. Comparing 2005 to 2009, the market value for 1204 was down 19% over that 4-year span.

But please, pay no attention to those messy details. Because the start price now is: $1.699m.

It's like nothing has changed since 2005.

You're expecting, maybe, that we'll say again that we're living in 2004 prices now in MB. (As we did in "How Resales of '03-'06 Purchases Are Faring.") Apparently, though, that's just everyone else, not a Fisher lot. Those, you can flip for a tidy profit now, as the market is heating up. Maybe.

Let's close with just a bit more on Fisher Ave...

In early 2008, MBC ran a little survey on some obscure MB streets, rating 10 to see which were the very most obscure. (See "Where's Homer, Again?" for the setup and "Street Smarts" for discussion of the results; the original chart is reproduced here.)

In that poll, Fisher came in second to Francisco, the South End border street that was the "winner" for being least well-known. (See "Meet Francisco" for more.)

The vote was close: 23% knew Francisco, and just 25% knew Fisher. About half or more of the people responding knew 7 of the other 8 streets. Really, Francisco and Fisher are brothers in obscurity, separated by a dozen blocks.

Now, what are lot values over on Francisco? And where's that, again?

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