A Flood West of Highland

By Dave Fratello | October 16th, 2008
Sometimes it seems there ought to be 2 Sand Sections – the parts west of Highland and those that, sadly, aren't west of Highland. (We kid.)

The market isn't formally broken up that way, but that's a small matter. Everyone knows that the west-of-Highland walkstreets, in particular, are prize locations. They're hilly, with ocean views for most of the homes from Highland down to the Strand.

If you love the area, suddenly there's a lot to choose from. The walkstreet inventory west of Highland at this writing includes 15 SFRs. This is an extraordinary selection.

A year ago, there was just one single home in this category on the market – 224 31st, which recently canceled after 400+ DOM and went to "pocket listing" status.

Six months ago, in April, there were 4 – including 125 31st, which has sold, plus the above-mentioned 224 31st, and 2 more homes that are still listed today.

So, is west of Highland desirable? Yes.

Is it selling? Not really.

These are some of the priciest properties in MB. Here are the current listings, in order or price, from lowest to highest. It's a gallery of some pretty great homes. (Note: Every listing is on a full 2700 sq. ft. lot, except 1 specifically mentioned.) As always, click on any highlighted address to see more pics & details via Redfin:
  • 232 20th (5br/5ba, 4550 sq. ft.) (pictured) is a newer (2001) home with updates that abuts Highland Ave. Records show a purchase for $3.1m in July 2005. This one actually started Oct. 6 below the acquisition price, at $2.998m, but jumped to $3.490m all of 3 days later. A miscommunication between seller and agent? Not likely – it's the agent's home.
  • 129 8th (4br/4ba, 2950 sq. ft.) is a modern remodel (actually, the listing boats a "million dollar remodel" in 2005) that's quite sharp. It's cool enough to have drawn an immediate offer when it hit the market in September, but that didn't stick. Offered at $3.499m, almost exactly a million over its March 2004 acquisition price. (Did we mention the million-dollar remodel?)
  • 128 6th (2br/1ba, 900 sq. ft.) must be called what it is – a teardown – no matter how charming the little vintage cottage (ca. 1909). People don't pay $3.5m for a 900 sq. ft. home. We love the photo of the "outhouse" bathroom. Recent nearby lot sales generally support this price.
  • 133 17th (4br/4ba, 2925 sq. ft.) (pictured) is new to the market – a more traditional Cape Cod type home with a kitchen reminiscent of Diane Keaton's in "Something's Gotta Give." (A high compliment.) Starts at $3.650m.
  • 228 34th (3br/4ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is a newer home pitched as a "Celebrity Beach Home!" The celeb is Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Tony Gonzalez. Features a supercool roof deck. Priced at $3.999m.
  • 232 16th, aka 234 16th, is a 5br/5ba, 5000 sq. ft. remodel touted as an "MB landmark" and the developer's own home (built 1982) with custom details.
Offered last year, too, at $4.5m, before it rented out. Now at $4.295m.

  • 221 34th (5br/4ba, 4200 sq. ft.) (pictured) is a new, ultra-contemporary showpiece, stunning, cool, clean, and featuring world-class ocean, PV & pier views. It's in the midst of some price adjustments, having begun at $5.4m in mid-April, now down $1.1m to $4.3m.
  • 224 32nd (4br/5ba, 4400 sq. ft.) is essentially new, a big-time remodel. You get the big views and a new home, but this is our least favorite on the whole list. Start with a cold, uninspiring design and add cheap materials in many places, and the effect is underwhelming – especially for $4.790m. The lot was purchased for almost $3.1m in March 2006, so don't expect steep discounts.
  • 220 19th (5br/4ba, 4325 sq. ft.) is a very charming newer home that has adjusted a bit since starting at $5.2m in early July. Now at $4.850m (-$350k/-7% from start).
  • 215 19th is a big (4br/4ba, 4250 sq. ft.) and newer home with delightful kitchen and warm family spaces. Ocean views are automatic on this block, of course. Priced at $5.0m.
  • 220 35th (4br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft.) (pictured) is a unique, new modern that is simply spectacular. It drew Mrs. MBC's pick this past weekend, and lots of comments, too. Now priced a bit below initial reports at $5.0m.
  • 204 19th is a walkstreet home near downtown, built in 2006 and pretty much maxed out (4br/4ba, 4260 sq. ft.). Purchased new in Aug. 2006 by Dodgers starting pitcher Derek Lowe (noted by Realestalker in this story) for $5.0m. Now offered for $5.7m.
  • 2719 Manhattan Ave (4br/5ba, 3450 sq. ft.) is a newer (2002) "modern masterpiece" (listing). We agree. Now, about that $5.999m asking price...
  • 202 Ocean (5br/6ba, 4150 sq. ft.) (pictured) is a 1-year-old home that just dazzles. You almost cannot get closer to the Strand. Well-designed and decorated. Unfortunately, new construction to the north and south will soon limit the ocean views. Starts at $7.499m.

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