Guessing Games

By Dave Fratello | June 26th, 2009
Quick: What's a double lot in the Hill Section worth?

Go ahead and guess – anything.

OK, ready?

Now, did you come closer to $8m, or $5m?

Last year at about this time, 222 N. Poinsettia, a double lot totaling 13,800 sq. ft. with some views, hit the market at $7.9m.

That was a guess.

There have been adjustments since.

This week, it's down yet again – $700k in one chop. Now all the way down to $5.295m.

This, at least, is an educated guess.

Experience showed that the dirt wasn't going to fetch $8m, or $7m, or $6m. So it was time to get closer to $5m.

As the property history (via Redfin) here shows, a cut of $700k was the smallest yet. The previous cuts were each at, or near, $1m.

Total chops to date: $2.605m (-33%). That has to be some kind of record.

It's still the priciest of several lot offerings in the Hill Section (see "More Hill Dirt Options" from February).

Earlier this year, when the listing for 222 N. Poinsettia was still at $5.995m, your blog author tiptoed out onto a limb and said:
At this point, we would not be shocked – though the sellers might be – to see another $1m shaved off before a deal is made.
The price is still $300k above the level that would make that sorta-prediction turn out to be correct.

Off the hill, down by the sand – well, right on the beach – there's a similar situation at 3216 The Strand, another would-be trophy property that has been working on finding its market price.

Briefly, try the same exercise as before. A Strand lot in the 30s. What's the value?

$7m? $5m?

The current listing began at $5.9m in early March, but that wasn't the opening bid.

Last November, this one was touted as "charming and livable" and yet listed "for lot value" at $7.3m. (See "And Then There Were 4.")

Now 3216 The Strand is at $5.199m – down $2.101m from that high start.

It's still listed for lot value – $2m later – and now touted as the "Best priced piece of land available on The Strand in Manhattan Beach."

Unlike the Hill Section double-lot, which suffers partly from a lack of recent land sales or other comps, there are a few recent Strand sales, including scrapers, providing some data.

Most significant among them is nearby 3404 The Strand, which closed for $5.35m in early May. But at 3404 the buyers got a big, unique home that just needs updates if they keep it. At 3216, no such luck – that duplex has to go.

Both of these lot sales could go near $5m. Just a guess.

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