Highland Townhomes Chop to Sell

By Dave Fratello | December 9th, 2014

It has been a heck of a year for townhome prices in Manhattan Beach. Suddenly the 3's are not at all out of the question for a unit with a view.

Down on Highland in the South End, two 90s townhomes figured to be a part of the party. But both saw the market adjust from their initial hopes and aspirations.

The most extreme overreach was at 512 Highland (3br/3ba, 2135 sq. ft.) which debuted in the depths of August asking, achem, $2.789M.

We had several reservations about the place, including its layout (2br share the master bath for a feature we had to call a "jack-and-jill master bath") and its overall condition – not too much updated from the '97 build.

In terms of pricing, this one soon had a bigger problem: Competition nearby.

That was 616 Highland (3br/4ba, 2130 sq. ft.), a slightly newer (1999) but directly comparable property. It was floated off-market at $2.450M for a few weeks while they finished a thorough refresher inside (new paint, carpet and general fixups) and prepared for full public marketing.

This was right as 512 Highland was trying to gain traction, so the high, high aspirations at 512 had to give way quickly.

They chopped a quick 16% only 2 weeks into the listing at 512 Highland – to $2.449M – to prepare for a head-on Battle of the South End Townhomes. (See "Now That's a Chop," from MBC on Sept. 12.) The listing got new language about how it was priced for "immediate sale."

A week later, the battle was on. Buyers had the choice of two South End townhomes on the MLS, with comparable floorplans and comparable views, at the same price. 

And then both sat. And sat.

A month into its listing, seemingly the better of the two, 616 Highland, made a $150K chop to $2.299M. (Accompanied by a bogus re-list, resetting the DOM clock for no apparent reason. Why, folks?) 

About a week later, following in the wake of 616's chop, 512 Highland cut $50K more to $2.399M.

Curiously, it was the higher-priced, lesser property that made a deal first. 512 went into escrow Oct. 15, still with the list price at $2.399M.

A week later, it was 616's turn, with the list at $2.299M.

But it all settled out pretty much as it should have. Final sale prices:

616 Highland at $2.300M (-$150K/-6% from start).

512 Highland at $2.200M (-$589K/-21% from start).

Maybe it seems a little bit unremarkable: The market worked.

Both townhomes got taken down a notch in the process. The huge overreach got 512 Highland nothing more than extra days on market. And the spread between the two sales properly reflected the better overall floorplan and condition at 616 Highland.

Still, doesn't it seem like seeing the market work is a little bit novel this year?

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