Highest-Priced Tree Section Sales of 2020

By Dave Fratello | January 12th, 2021

The Manhattan Beach Tree Section is the city's middle-of-the-road suburban district west of Sepulveda.

You kind of expect to find a "family home" of 4br+ and 3000-ish square feet with a small yard.

Indeed, more than half the sales in the Trees in 2020 met that profile, and about 1/3rd of Tree Section home sales with those minimum parameters (4+/3000+) fell between $2.5M-$3.5M.

But there were also big, big sales.

Martyrs Division

The neighborhoods right around the American Marytrs church feature bigger lots and pricier properties than you typically find elsewhere in the Tree Section.

528 15th St. (6br/6ba, 6500 sqft.)

Sale price: $8.215M.

This ultra-luxe property was new in 2016, and sold for $6.800M then.

It was upgraded thereafter (yes, a new house, upgraded!). It was and is a paradise. (See our appreciation, with several photos, from our post in May: "Now That's a Place to Shelter... for $11.750M").

Oh, yeah. $11.750M. That didn't happen.

But even if it began 30% overpriced (it did), this home is now the single highest-priced sale in the Tree Section ever, not just in 2020.

501 N 18th Street Manhattan Beach CA501 18th (5br/8ba, 6125 sqft.)

Sale price: $6.750M.

This slick modern facing Ardmore and the greenbelt seemed an unlikely spec home, but there are gamblers out there.

The oversized lot (~6700 sqft.) sold to the builder in late 2016 for $2.450M. The new home debuted 3 years later in Sept. 2019 at $7.150M, before closing in April last year at that $6.750M number.

Suburban Division

Let's get away from Martyrs to review highest prices in other parts of the Trees.

2104 Flournoy (5br/5ba, 4300 sqft.)

Sale price: $5.700M.

This late-90s Cape Cod had been nicely remodeled. It hit these price heights because of its larger lot size (~8600 sqft.).

The trapezoidal lot features a wing-shaped home wrapping around a triangular backyard that is, frankly, not as huge as you might think for the overall lot size.

Sale price was about $1.3M below an ambitious start.

648 30th Street Manhattan Beach CA648 30th (5br/6ba, 4750 sqft.)

Sale price: $4.999M.

This ultra-high-style new construction home features a basement and a good location fairly near to Sand Dune Park.

That $4.999M sale price was also the initial asking price.

We've grown accustomed to higher-end new homes or nice remodels selling in the 4's.

In 2020, out of 110 sales, only 4 were between $4.000-$4.999M, and this (at the top end) was one of them.

Meantime, 95 out of 110 Tree Section sales were under $4.000M.

1801 Oak Avenue Manhattan Beach CA1801 Oak (6br/5ba, 5250 sqft.)

Sale price: $4.300M.

Face it, there's just a little bit of shock involved with seeing an Oak Ave. property on a short list of top sales.

But this is a home that we labeled, upon its debut, as "some kind of wonderful," as well as "far and away the most ambitious project ever on Oak" (see "Sunday Opens (10/13/19)") on account of its designer style, ample basement and "more and more."

Now, they did aim much too high, asking $4.999M for a long time before chopping $600K off those ambitions, settling for the $4.300M.

Previously, only one Oak property had sold over $3M, 1716 Oak at $3.175M in 2019.

Overbids Division

641 26th Street Manhattan Beach CA641 26th (5br/5ba, 3500 sqft.)

Sale price: $4.100M.

Overbid: $401K.

When a property is reasonably priced and very desirable, you may see multiple offers. This past year in the Trees, that happened, with overbids of $5K, $10K, $50K and $100K in various instances.

And then there was this remodeled late-90s home on a lower block near Grand View. The cosmetic aspects of the remodel were very high-style. The backyard paradise, with outdoor room, bar, pool and spa, featuring elegant stone, was a standout feature and selling point - especially for folks who had just lived through a lockdown and wanted the best place they could have if ever that should happen again. 

You can get crazy overbids when the listing agent and seller intentionally set too low of a price, throwing up their hands to basically open an auction.

When we toured 641 26th with clients, we concluded, together, that it's a super house that doesn't quite overcome its 1990s design, priced about right, all things considered at $3.699M. But our counsel was also: This one is emotional, and will cause a frenzy.

A $400,000 frenzy!

Land Value Division

839 17th/849 17th (16,000 sqft. plot + 8,000 sqft. plot)

Combined sale price: $11.250M.

When a big double-lot hit the market at 839 17th in July, it seems to have inspired something. A buyer thought, "that's a nice, really huge lot." Then: "I wonder if I can get more."

The answer was yes. 849 17th, directly adjacent to the huge 839 17th lot, could be had off-market for the same lot price per square foot as the on-market property at 839 17th.

One sold for $7.500M, the other for half that, $3.750M.

855 17th Street Manhattan Beach CA855 17th (12,150 sqft. plot)

Sale price: $5.050M.

This big lot was both the 2nd-largest and 2nd-priciest land sale in the Trees.

At $415/PSF for the dirt, it didn't quite hit the heights of the two neighboring lots ($469/PSF), and didn't measure up to its $5.900M start price, but these are quibbles.

These lots along a short stretch of 17th are huge in large part because of their depth, 160' back from the street. 855 is also 76' wide.

There are just more than a handful of lots along 17th and 18th with these huge lot sizes, so scarcity was surely a factor for the buyers.

641 27th Street Manhattan Beach CA641 27th (4800 sqft. plot)

Sale price: $2.125M.

We're looking at this one as the highest price for a conventionally sized lot.

In this case, it's location that makes the difference.

You could spend $300K-$500K less for a Tree Section plot that wasn't in the 500-700 blocks north of Valley.

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