High/Low Prices of 2009, Trees

By Dave Fratello | January 5th, 2010
Time to wrap up our short series looking at sales of SFRs west of Sepulveda in 2009.

We covered high and low prices for the Hill Section here, for the Sand Section here, and for the Strand (separately) here. Also, here's that link again to our 2008 wrap-up, for comparison's sake.

In the Trees in 2009, the big-dollar news was all in the American Martyrs section, so we've broken that out for separate treatment. We'll start there.

(Remember, highlighted addresses link to Redfin's complete pages of listing information – yes, now for closed sales, hurrah.)

Tree Section – American Martyrs Division

The Martyrs neighborhood is mostly a hilly, beach-facing, downtown-adjacent neighborhood that isn't much like the rest of the Trees. (Try to catch an ocean view somewhere along Pine, for example.) But this area's still technically the Trees. If you wish to quibble with the mapmakers on this, you may need a séance.

Heck, we could have run a whole series on Fisher Avenue's redevelopment alone. The top 2 sales were there:

Highest Price: The Fisher King, 1212 Fisher, is a huge (5br/6ba and 5825 sq. ft.), bold modern that once got star treatment as an LA Times "Home of the Week." Rightly so: Who knew you could get those panoramic ocean views in the Trees, with landmark-type construction to boot?

The custom build, along with a similarly styled home next door (see below), was a huge achievement, but evidently not a big score for the developers. After a start at $5.950m, before the listing sold, a display ad in a local free weekly called a reduced price an "Opportunity to Steal the Crown Jewel of Architecture" and added: "BELOW Market," "BELOW Cost" and "BELOW Appraised Value."

1212 Fisher ultimately closed for $4.550m in August, still the high-water mark for the Trees. (Note: The Redfin listing isn't updated, but this LA Times follow-up lists the closed price, as do public records.)

Runner-Up: The Fisher Queen, 1208 Fisher, sold for $3.650m in June, somewhat before the King. The Queen is somewhat smaller at 4br/4ba, 4750 sq. ft., and differed some in styling, though it offers similar panoramic views and – for the time being – unobstructed views due south, insasmuch as there's a puny brick cottage next door. (1204 Fisher is for sale, however.)

Honorable Mention, I: Santa's House, a big 6br/4ba, 6000 sq. ft. home occupying a double lot at 633 15th, went for $3.550m in October, down substantially from its start nearly 18 months before. (See "Santa Gets $2m Less Than Hoped.") A big chunk of the value was in the land, as the large home needed some rethinking and retooling. As this story ended, 2009 was the first year in memory without the over-the-top holiday decorations at the home. Things change with time...

Honorable Mention, II: 523 14th (5br/5ba, 4900 sq. ft.) was, like the Fisher King & Queen, new construction.

Unlike those two, it had pleasant, easy-to-love Cape Cod styling and a fairly quick sale (93 DOM) near asking – going for $3.1m in September.

Tree Section – The Rest of the Story

Highest Price: 2401 John proved late in the year (Dec. 1 closing) that new construction in the Trees can still command a $2m+ price with the right mix of location and quality.

Though recent sales of comparably sized new homes lingered near or below $2m, 2401 John got $2.275m, the highest non-Martyrs sale price of the year.

That was well above the consensus opinion of readers in our pricing poll (see "Poll Results: 2401 John"), and it made John the first new home in the Trees (non-Martyrs) to close above $2m after February 2009.

Runners-Up: A tie – 700 35th and 2705 Palm both sold for $2.250m, and each had something else in common with the other: both sold below their fairly recent acquisition prices.

700 35th was truly one of MBC's favorite listings over the past couple of years. It's bigger than the norm for the area (5br/4ba, 3675 sq. ft.) and has a larger 5400 sq. ft. lot, affording a big and surprisingly sunny back yard.

When it first came to market, the sellers hoped to get out flat or with a little profit over their June 2006 acquisition price of $2.482m. That didn't work out. In an MBC pricing poll a full year before the sale, 25% of readers correctly placed the final sale price in the range of $2.2m-$2.4m, at a time when it was priced $250k higher than the top of that range.

2705 Palm (5br/5ba, 3300 sq. ft.) was new in early 2008 and sold quickly for $2.587m in June of that year. (No pics or details on Redfin, unfortunately.) It's a Cape Cod, one of 2 built at the same time by a top local builder. (The twin neighbor, 2701 Palm, of the same size, closed for $2.749m in the same month of '08.) This year, the owners of 2705 got out by selling for $337k less (-13%) than acquisition.

Honorable Mentions: 1812 Palm was a resale of a beautifully remodeled late-90s build, subject of one of few bidding wars this year – the home was bid up from $1.899m in quick sales action back in May to $2.1m. The sale was bested by $50k by new construction at 1901 Walnut in February.

Lowest Prices: Here we could almost create a new division, too: The Rosecrans Division, since the 3 lowest sale prices in the Trees were all along that busy boulevard. All 3 prices are between $650k-$700k:
  • 958 Rosecrans (2br/1ba, 975 sq. ft.) on a 6000 sq. ft. lot, was the cheapest, an REO that sold for $650k
Surprisingly, this one went for $977k in July 2006 before slipping pretty quickly to the bank (seemingly with few or no payments ever made).  The bank appeared to hold it for more than a year before unloading.
We actually recall this property being offered around 10 years ago and being touted as the cheapest MB home west of Sepulveda – priced then in the 400s or so. In 2009, it was the cheapest again.
  • 656 Rosecrans (2br/1ba, 1200 sq. ft.) was a remodel (MBC previously called it "pretty crisp in parts, though not fully updated") that got $690k in September.
  • 662 Rosecrans (2br/1ba, 600 sq. ft.) is just about as tricked-out as a little 600 sq. ft. cottage can get, and had a deal within 2 weeks. It closed for $699k in August

Runners-Up/Non-Rosecrans: Both of these are close in price, though not a tie. 2111 Valley (3br/1ba, 925 sq. ft.) (pictured) sold for $725k in April.

That's a small house on a standard 4400 sq. ft. lot; it was sold "as-is" and seems to have been saved with some remodeling, not scraped.  

2500 Oak (3br/2ba, 1350 sq. ft.) is the home you see last on the way out of town up Marine at Sepulveda. That's what we call a location challenge. So it set a new low of sorts, selling for $738k in February, and it's been spiffed up in stages ever since.

So that's a wrap on our first look back at 2009. There are a couple other angles we'll pick up shortly.

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