High Points of 2013: Tree Section, Part I

By Dave Fratello | January 22nd, 2014

We're going to look back now at some of the top sales in the Tree Section of Manhattan Beach last year.

It was a year that saw the most sales of $2M and above since the peak years of the last cycle, 2006-2007.

With 41 sales at that $2M+ price point, 2013 comes in as the year with the third-highest ever total of sales at that high end. (To see a list of those sales, click here.)

As you see in our chart here, there was virtually no such thing as a $2M sale in the Trees until 2005. Then there were 4 hot years with 30+.

We're in the fourth year now of double-digit $2M+ sales, but watch for this to continue much longer than the last run. It's not just pricing trends, it's housing stock: Newer, larger homes built during and after the previous upcycle seem likely to keep hitting the 2's based on vintage and square footage.

Meantime, among the higher-end sales in 2013, there were 2 that exceeded $3M in the Trees – by a lot, in each case.

These top sales were next-door neighbors, new construction at 705 26th (5br/4ba, 4875 sq. ft.) (pictured) and 709 26th (5br/4ba, 5120 sq. ft.), selling for $3.599M and $3.700M, respectively. Each was ultra high-priced because they dug out basements for each new home, giving them a big leg up in terms of square footage.

It's worth noting that with 2, the year 2013 fell short of 2012's total of $3M+ sales, which was 5.

We see 2-4 sales per year at that level looking back to 2005, with just one spike of a year: 2007, with 11 sales at $3M and above. So maybe we can say 3 is the new 2 - an occasional peak, unless/until it becomes the norm for prime, new and newer homes.

Other New Construction Highs

There were 3 new builds in 2013 that all sold in the $2.8s:

594 33rd (6br/6ba, 3500 sq. ft.) sold in October for $2.848M. That's a big new Cape Cod with a big, open first floor and nice, modern materials in the kitchen and baths. Bonus: Detached guest house over the garage.

585 31st (6br/7ba, 3500 sq. ft.) sold in April for $2.800M. This is on the lower part of 31st, just down a bit from the prestige block of the 600s-700s with its signature tree canopy. Views from the front of the home – including a rare, very large front porch – are pleasant, capturing lots of trees and the sand dune.

562 36th (5br/6ba, 3600 sq. ft.) sold in October for $2.818M. Color us surprised on this one, given the style (Mediterranean), location near Rosecrans and the refinery, and a somewhat chopped-up layout along a downsloping lot. In any other market, you could have seen these factors leading to huge DOM and notable price cuts. But the buyers appreciated the style and finish of this super custom build, and considered their discount of $131K off asking to be more than enough.

Highs Among Resales

It makes sense to see new construction getting top dollar. But there were actually three resales, two of them average in size, that eclipsed the new homes to get the highest sale prices of the year in the 2's:

2701 Palm (5br/4ba, 3300 sq. ft.) is a 2008 Cape Cod with a big-ticket builder's name attached. Given the so-so location in the north eastern part of the Trees, you have to think the $2.950M sale price in October included a very substantial premium for that name. The sale was almost immediate and there was more than one party clamoring for it.

This was also a $200K markup over the Spring 2008 sale price. So even if it looked like they overpaid back then, right before the crash, well, maybe not.

1813 John (4br/5ba, 3550 sq. ft.) is a newer, gorgeous Cape Cod on an ultra-prime street. If you went looking for downsides, you might note the limit of 4br or the pool occupying the backyard – not everyone's goal.

This one came out at $2.999M and drew multiple offers, but tax records and the MLS show a closed sale price of $2.900M in April.

927 27th (5br/6ba, 4230 sq. ft.) is uniquely large for a Tree Section home, thanks to a basement as the home was built into a modest hillside lot. The home's a heavy Mediterranean, elaborately decorated but with a tiny backyard (call it an ornate patio) with built-in pizza oven. (Yum.) The sale this year at $2.900M put it in the top 5 for the year, but still fell short of the initial sale in 2007 at $3.150M.

Other Notables

3305 Laurel (5br/5ba, 4300 sq. ft.) was new way back in 2007 and tried, but failed, to sell at $3M+ prices. It launched at $3.750M, dropping over 300+ DOM to $3.3M in early 2008 before quitting.

After several years renting this home out, they brought it out looking good in 2013 and asking $2.8M. They came close: $2.720M in July – impressive in its own right, even it it's still $1M or more shy of the initial plan.

1829 Laurel (4br/3ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is a true fixer, the only one we really see in the list of $2M+ home sales for the year. The April sale at $2.040M was followed by several months of rehab. Fortunately for the buyers, the market shot up steeply thereafter. So if they were gaming out the resale value as a measure of how much to pour into remodeling, well, the resale value went up steadily each day the contractors showed up to work.

3113 Maple (4br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.) is a mid-90s Cape Cod-inspired home with a nice, big, open first floor. Our take on this when it emerged was that it was plenty livable as is, but really could benefit from modernization in the kitchen and baths. Unlike 1829 Laurel, the updates were not essentially a condition of taking title. This one sold for $2.151M in November.

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