High Points of 2012: Tree Section

By Dave Fratello | December 31st, 2012
We continue our look back at 2012 with a focus on the Tree Section.

New Construction Over $2.5m

One of the headlines of the year has to be the sudden, near-overnight revival of $2.5m+ new construction prices in the Trees.

Given that the last round of new spec building finished in 2006-2008, most "newer" homes on the market are at least 5 years old, adding scarcity to the often-prevalent demand and premium for "new."

712 29th (rendering)
712 29th (5br/5ba, 3350 sq. ft.) closed in October for $2.580m. It's on a standard lot (4800 sq. ft.), acquired for $962k in Oct. 2011 – one of the last good lots you'll see go under $1m for a while.

616 30th (5br/4ba, 3350 sq. ft.) closed in August for $2.512m. Again, it's a standard-size lot (4800) and acquired in 2011 well below $1m, at $850k in Feb. 2011.

Pending out there right now is 2801 Palm (4br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.), in a good location but without some of the prestige of the 600-700 blocks west of Pacific. It was listed at "only" $2.250m.

Martyrs Madness

624 14th
624 14th (5br/6ba, 5765 sq. ft.) is a home we called "a ginormous, newer Mediterranean in an A+ location." It sold in August for $4.9m.

This was the highest price garnered in 2012 in the Tree Section, just eclipsing the $4.7m paid in Aug. 2011 for 533 15th (6br/7ba, 4875 sq. ft.).

Amazingly, this $4.9m sale at 14th was also a 13% markup over the 2007 acquisition price. Look all over the place for people getting more than they paid in 2007: It's rare. 

Confused monster house at 650 18th
Also in the neighborhood, 650 18th and 635 18th sold for $2.6m and $2.4m, respectively, as lot sales to neighbors with their own designs on the land. (See "Raze the Monster.") The houses' days appear to be numbered.

One very recent sale right near the church also raised some eyebrows: The Craftsman at 647 15th (5br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.) that just sold for $3m in late November.

John Madness

Who can forget the 20 offers for 1805 John St. way-back-when (in March 2012). The 5065 sq. ft. lot went for $1.352m, and that wasn't even the highest bid.

That would not turn out to be the craziest crush on John in 2012.

2301 John
2301 John (4br/3ba, 2600 sq. ft.) may have been the stranger case, since the lot isn't as flat or private as 1805, and there's a very workable house on site that probably does get some serious work. This one drew 15 offers amd got bid up way beyond anyone's expectations to $1.880m, blowing far past the $1.519m start price.

Less flashy: 1812 John (4br/2ba, 1750 sq. ft.) drew several offers twice – the property came back to market after a failed escrow. The structure needs help, but probably won't be razed. That one fetched $1.330m.

The 'Median House' of the Trees

1304 Elm (4br/3ba, 2800 sq. ft.) is a somewhat large mid-80s build with an updated kitchen and a pool. It's a familiar layout if you know local homes of this vintage; not as big as some.

This one was marketed in 2011 without success, but sold off-market in September this year for $1.435m.

Out of 120 sales in 2012 in the Trees (as of 12/30/12), this one was right smack in the middle. That makes this not-huge, imperfect, 80s house the "median house" of the Trees – pay more, get more, and vice versa.

Biggest PPSF

2702 Ardmore, the funny little house on the triangle lot, got $703k in a sale closing in mid-December.

You can call this $878/PSF if you count all the interior space you find on site (the listing called it 2br/1ba, 800 sq. ft.). However, only 500 sq. ft. and 1br appear on the tax records, and part of that space is the former garage, swallowed into the house. You could argue that the legit PPSF is more like $1,400/PSF.

Besides that, the lot simply could not be tinier – just 2130 sq. ft., with one of the most awkward shapes and locations in the Trees.

Hard to sell? Yes, in 2011 – 6 months, no sale.

This year? Immediate sale, with overbids from the $675k start. (Oh my, 2012, you've given us some interesting bidding wars.)

On larger lots, the highest PPSFs were at:
  • 1813 Oak (4480 sq. ft. lot, $910k sale [$61k overbid!], $904/PSF), and 

Sheer Joy on 31st

Everyone's got some favorite houses.

763 31st (5br/5ba, 3575 sq. ft.) has always been on our list. It's a wonderful contribution to the neighborhood – huge curb appeal. Inside, it's got an intense, lovely, timeless European style. It feels like a serious house.

We've glossed over the shortcomings of the layout in favor of just appreciating the joy of the place. Finally this year, after a couple of years of trying, the house sold.

And it looked like a pretty nice deal at $2.450m, especially relative to several much higher list prices over the past couple years. We had expected a sale around $2.7m.

We were obliged to note in a post that the new sale is off $575k (-19%) from the previous (2006) trade, when it exceeded $3.0m.

But sometimes the real story is just that someone got a great house at a good price.

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