High/Low Prices of 2009, Sand

By Dave Fratello | January 3rd, 2010
Continuing our short series, we'll look now at the highest and lowest prices of 2009 by the beach.

Click to see our Hill Section report for 2009, or to see the full 2008 report.

Final note before we begin: Strand homes would dominate the high prices here, so we're covering non-Strand homes in this post. (See "Strand Sales of 2009" for a lowest-to-highest list among beachfront homes.)

As always, click any highlighted address for more pics & details from the original listing, all via Redfin.

Sand Section

If Strand homes are out of the running, guess which general type of home in the Sand is going to be at the top of the list. Did you say new construction on walkstreets west of Highland? Correct.

Highest Price: How's this? For top honors for 2009, we have a tie: Two new homes west of Highland that each sold for $4.9m.

Alas, look back to 2008, and it turns out a new home very similar to one of these sold for $5.6m in March last year. That was 200 19th, a Cape Cod boasting an off-the-beaten-path, yet plenty-near-downtown location.

This year's top two:

224 7th is a pristine new Cape Cod that's maxed out sizewise (5br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft.) and offers extravagant detail. The big outdoor room on the top floor has ocean views, as does the front of the home along the walkstreet. All this in a location very near downtown, but just barely out of circulation.

No doubt eyeing last year's top sale, 7th began at $5.695m in late 2008. That didn't quite come together, with the sale in May at $4.9m, or 12.5% below the previous year's top sale. (A slight location edge probably goes to 19th, inasmuch as there's no such thing as Manhattan Ave. in that part of town, hence none of the noise that being right downtown brings.)

Another possible point of interest: It appears that the dirt for 7th was acquired for more than the dirt for 19th, though 7th sold for less, meaning a smaller margin overall for the builder. County assessor data show an acquisition price around $3.275m from a June 2007 sale at 7th; the completed home was sold for $1.625m more than that. (The actual land acquisition price was hidden from public view, so this report could be off somehow.)

Meanwhile, by comparison, the land at 200 19th was purchased in June 2006 for $2.9m, and closed for $2.7m more upon completion – a million dollars more before the costs of construction at either site are even considered. No doubt, it was better to sell in early 2008.

Sharing top honors in 2009 was another South End, downtown-adjacent new home that was just very, very different than the Cape Cods referenced above.

128 9th (4br/5ba, 4100 sq. ft.) is a brand-new modern with, you might say, some Asian influences. This outdoor room pic illustrates a bit – you may be thinking it's a snapshot from some great hotel in Hawaii, but that's the MB pier in the background.

This one began even higher than 224 7th at $6.499m, shooting for a record of sorts, but came down $1.5m to meet the market.

There was little downside to the home itself – even the modern style did not slip into ultra-contemporary, a potential kiss of death. Just that location... west of Manhattan Ave. is nice, but the eastern face of the home abuts a commercial building (at least it's not a restaurant). That was something to get over, and someone did.

Another point of reference, since we covered land costs for the Cape Cods above: Dirt for 128 9th went for $2.970m in April 2007, selling for $1.930m more as a completed new home in 2009.

Runner-Up: 229 24th, a gorgeous big (5br/4ba, 4200 sq. ft.) Spanish west of Highland, sold for $4.2m in late November.

Lowest Price: Here we have another tie.

201 44th (1br/1ba, 1800 sq. ft. on a half lot) is technically the lowest-priced sale, by $1,000, at $799k.

For that, the buyers got an original cottage dating back to 1925, before trees were outlawed in El Porto Norte. (We kid, though Wikipedia does currently say of the area: "El Porto is probably the only community in the state that was almost totally developed with two residential units filling each of its tiny lots, with no room for yards and/or gardens.")

There's also no garage. Those appear to be legal nowadays.

The 2009 sale was mostly flat to 2004: the same home traded at $765k in May 2004.

The co-awardee for lowest price in the Sand is 444 33rd Place, up on the plateau.

Public records show the sale closing at $800k in October, though the MLS entry shows $835k – a figure which, if true, would have denied the new owners a little virtual statuette here.

The trials and travails of this spiffy little 1930s house (2br/1ba, 900 sq. ft.) on a full, wide (not deep) alley lot are discussed in some detail in "Sand Dirt in the 8s."

The short of it is that this home was purchased for $1.260m in October 2005, 90% financed, but fell into arrears during about a year and a half on the market. Somehow the listing was never called a short sale, but that final price is $334k less than the original financing. (The formerly giant bank that made the loans imploded in 2008 and got absorbed for pennies, helping a certain East Coast bank open branches all around us.)

At one point, we considered the listing's description of this full-alley lot as "perfect as a future building site" to be overly optimistic. For $800k, though, the numbers might work if the new owners choose to move in that direction – and the market stiffens up.

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