High Points of 2013: Sand Section, Part II

By Dave Fratello | January 10th, 2014

Any year in the Sand Section is going to see the top sales right near the beachfront. We covered those earlier this week. But there were more than 100 sales in this part of Manhattan Beach that were not on The Strand or nearby. Here's our look at the most notable of those "other" sales.

Teen Streets

The Teen Streets (16th-20th) west of Highland represent a special submarket with typically just a few sales each year.

The shocker in the area for 2013 was 228 18th (4br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft.), quite near the top of the street and only one door off of Highland. This is an 80s original that's been added onto and restyled over time to fit today's 21st-century beach-modern tastes.

You could say it had an unusual layout, or that the jaw-dropping views could be endangered some day, but such reasons for "caution" went blowing away in the ample ocean breezes. The $3.500M start price was destroyed by multiple-multiple-offer bidding, settling at $4.225M (+$725K/+21%).

This is what happens when lots of people say, all at once, "don't distract me, I'm in love."

There were 2 other sales in the area at around the same price, both on 20th, both bigger and wanting some love and attention from contractors: 128 20th (5br/5ba, 4600 sq. ft.) and 112 20th (4br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.), each of which commanded $4.200M.

A more conventional early-2000s Mediterranean at 215 19th St. (4br/5ba, 4250 sq. ft.) sold for $4.700M late in the year.

There was no more captivating home offered on the Teen Streets (16th-20th) west of Highland than 201 18th St. (5br/7ba, 7900 sq. ft.), but at $12.875M, that one will take a while to find its buyer.

Plateau Highs

Two of the top sales on the Sand Section plateau (400 blocks north of Grand View) were neighbors – literally across the street from one another.

472 29th (5br/6ba, 4600 sq. ft.) is an extra-large, newer (2003) home that was the larger of the two, thanks to a 3000 sq. ft. lot (+10% over the standard size).

When they put this one out at $2.899M, it frankly seemed a reach. There had been some late-2012 off-market presentations of the property before it hit the MLS, but there were no takers at that number. And then, just before the Super Bowl, they hit the public market and made their deal – over asking, at $2.912M.

473 29th (5br/5ba, 4165 sq. ft.) is a warm and large home, also a 2003 build, that had trouble selling previously, including two separate runs on the market in 2009-2010, with offering prices running down to $2.499M.

No worries. In 2013, it sold before the first open house for the asking price of $2.695M. Both of these plateau-area home sales closed in April.

Coming in right between those, the 2nd-place finisher among plateau homes was 421 32nd (4br/5ba, 4250 sq. ft.), a Cape Cod also built in 2003. (Up on the plateau it was the year to sell 10-year-old houses.) That one clocked in at $2.830M in late August.

Townhomes Hit New Heights

Go ahead and try to find a typically sized townhome sale east of Highland for $2.8M.

There was no such thing until 2520 Alma (3br/4ba, 2520 sq. ft.) sold, off-market, for $2.799M this past May.

The same 2009-built ocean-view TH had sold twice in recent years: New for $2.400M in May 2009 and not-new in Jan. 2011 for $2.300M. That means the resale this past year was $500K higher just a bit over 2 years after acquisition.

Pushing toward that level was the substantially larger, luxe 2905 Crest (4br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.), but it came in well below at $2.625M in July. (Worth noting: 2905 Crest sold for the exact same price new in 2007.)

Our favorite TH of the year, though, had to be 2417 Crest (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.) – not only because of its modern flair or massive views, but also because we got to learn about the "South African Braai-style fireplace" from that feature on the cool back patio. (See "Come for the Views, Stay for the Braii.")

2417 Crest sold for $2.575M.

Now, don't nod your head and say, "That's just the way these things go." The total number of THs east of Highland to ever sell for more than $2.400M, not including these, is just 2, and one of those is listed at 3500+ sq. ft. That makes 2520 Alma, 2905 Crest and 2417 Crest part of an small and elite crowd.

Flip of the Year

A newer home with gargantuan ocean views hit the market in 2012 as a short sale. It was 316 45th (3br/4ba, 2140 sq. ft.), and it sold quickly for $1.537M.

That was then. In 2013, the proud new owners saw a chance for some big profits. They offered the TH back to the market with a markup of more than $1M, at $2.635M.

To their credit, they knew that was a vast overreach. They made a good deal quickly for a lot less.

To their bank account's credit, the sale price was $1.995M, more than $450K over acquisition, a net of roughly $360K after costs of sale. Even if it wasn't that $1M profit they started out reaching for, that truly is good work if you can get it.

An El Porto Highlight

121 Moonstone (3br/3ba, 1850 sq. ft.) was an elaborate and nicely done European charmer. It is rare that an alley street in El Porto gets this kind of lavish treatment, but sometimes people just build where they can get the dirt.

This one was one of two "median houses" for MB, with its sale price of $1.725M coming in right at the 2013 median for SFRs citywide.

Wonder how many times that price has ever been exceeded on a half-lot SFR in El Porto?

Just once: In 2007, for new construction at 209 42nd (3br/3ba, 1940 sq. ft.) at $1.835M (Nov. 2007).

Lot Sales of the Year

441 28th is a full-size lot in a good location on the plateau near Grand View school. It sold for $1.190M in June.

We could note that this listing had only 5 DOM, or that it sold $200K over asking, but that would be missing two critical parts of the story.

First, those 5 DOM occurred not in 2013, but in August 2012. Then they began an 8-month escrow – delayed by some litigation.

And second, the market rose while those 8 months were tolling. Substantially. We don't really doubt that the same lot would fetch closer to $1.4M today, perhaps more.

A Dec. 2013 sale at 457 30th, which came in at $1.300M, makes clear that 441 28th sold at least $100K under market, but we still might expect more.

Bottom line: This turned out to be a good value for a very good location, and they made money waiting for the lawyer stuff to settle out.

We should mention, also, 128 8th St., which offered in 2013 but actually just closed here a few days into 2014.

That one is legally two separate lots (with old structures) sold as one, ready to be joined for future development.

Their $4.150M asking price was obviously high, but the sale at $3.950M (for dirt!) says the sellers were closer to right than many observers thought.

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