Haven't We Seen These Before?

By Dave Fratello | February 9th, 2012
OK, we'll say it out loud: This post-Super-Bowl "rush" of inventory is really disappointing, so far. We had one harried week before the big game, and now there's not a lot coming out.

Even the burblings about upcoming or maybe-upcoming listings are limited, and quiet.

Disappointment gets doubled when you see, among the "new" offerings, mostly retreats of failed listings from last year. For example:

1808 Pine (3br/3ba, 1725 sq. ft.) ran about 5 months last year starting in May.

They began at $1.130m and came down to $1.030m, but restart now at $965k.

That remains high because, while the home has location going for it, inside and outside, it needs a lot of help. The "one-of-a-kind design" (per the old listing) is not very attractive. The separate garage out front is connected to the main home through a small passageway; meantime, residents and visitors will typically approach the home along what feels like a narrow bridge. (Pictured.) All that's missing is the moat.

Inside, the home's 3 original bedrooms include 2 that are quite small. The kitchen needs an update, pretty much the story for the whole house.

On top of everything, the sale is "as-is," more what you'd expect of a lot sale – and that's a view of this property that many buyers will take. What can we build here? But at $965k? There has to be room to talk.

230 Anderson (4br/5ba, 6125 sq. ft.) tolled a full year last year on market, gradually chopping from $5.5m to $4.5m.

(We're going to try to put aside the flight of fancy that was a $7.2m listing in the go-go days of Spring 2007.)

It's back now at $4.295m, really not so different from last year's offering price, but we'll see how it pans out.

In its way, this one's a Hill Section beauty, boasting one of the highest points you'll find in the Hills, with good ocean views.
But the ultra-custom home is so profoundly formal, with an elaborate "French Riviera" style (per the listing), that it needs a buyer with exceedingly similar taste. The relative shortage of bedrooms for the square footage is also a concern. (One "bedroom" on the top level, just off the living spaces, poses the question: Is this really a 3br house?)

The extra, extra bonus space on the lowest level (woodshop?, motorcycle shop?, recording studio?, home theater?) cries out to the right buyer, but not everyone.

766 33rd (5br/5ba, 4800 sq. ft.) is a giant, early-90s home on a much bigger-than-normal Tree Section lot (6900 sq. ft.). It launched in November last year, but seems to have gone offline for a couple of months since Thanksgiving.

The home's assets – location, size and lot size – are nice starting points, but that $2.499m price (then and now) puts this flawed home in difficult territory. With $2.5m to spend, do you really want a home that needs work? Is it a $3m+ home after the work? (See our review from last November.)

Among the Speedy Speckies (a crop of 6 new Tree Section homes developed by the same builder last year), 2610 Maple (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) seemed to boast the best location.

While some other Speedy Speckies show pending deals (none have closed), 2610 Maple has sat, forlorn, with just one brief flirtation of a deal in September 2011 that quickly flopped. It has been offered for lease, and seems to have even found a short-term tenant.

The start price for 2610 Maple in July 2011 was $1.999m, quickly corrected to $1.899m in August. That's the "new" list price now, after a short-term lease expired, but is it a good deal in 2012?

Looking back at prior posts on the Speedy Speckies, we found this note from August 2011:

One thing we know about spec homes, though – they do sell. Usually. So we'll find out something about the market for these homes later this year, more than likely.
Here we are in the next year already, with no closed sales but some of the speckies leasing out, some deals pending. Maybe we'll find out more about the market for these in 2012.

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