How Two '08 Purchases Fared at Resale

By Dave Fratello | March 3rd, 2011
If you were going to buy a home in 2008, once the bell had rung and the bubble, locally, had quite obviously popped, let's imagine the best possible advice you could have received.

Drive a hard bargain. Buy and hold. If you're in it for the long term, OK, but be sure about that. Your value is not going up any time soon. Be ready to wait it out.

There were 165 SFRs sold west of Sepulveda in 2008, and as things worked out, not everyone could hang on for the long term.

Among 2 very recent closed sales, both sellers lost 12-16% of their homes' value after about 3 years. In the cases we'll examine here, that meant $350k or more in losses as the cost of reselling here in 2011.

And there's one new listing that's hoping to see a different outcome. One to watch.

742 33rd (5br/5ba, 3975 sq. ft.) is a big Cape Cod that hit the market right as the sound of the "pop" was being heard all over town, in Aug. 2007.

Its start price then: $3.295m.

The offering lingered more than 250 DOM before cutting a deal for $2.700m, down $595k (-18%) from the start.

That was in June 2008, and while the discount from start was impressive, it was still a fairly high price for the Trees.

Fast-forward a bit – the home was offered from August-November last year at $2.449m, but canceled. It sold off market this year, posting a sale this week at $2.275m, down a further $425k (-16%) from 2008.

MBC took note of this home when it hit the market last Summer (see "An '07 Speckie Returns"), and asked: "Would it surprise you to see the home trade $1m or more below that late-2007 start?"

No mystery now – it did sell for $1.020m below that '07 spec price.

473 31st (4br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) is a sharp, custom modern that was new in late 2007, and was covered here at MBC as the price dwindled from a $3.25m ask down to a $2.8m sale in July 2008.

As it happens, 31st sold just a week after 742 33rd back in '08, then this year resold 4 days before 33rd, making these 2 homes practically synchronized on both sales.

31st returned to market at the acquisition price of $2.8m last July, almost exactly 2 years after the buyers had moved in.

Reselling at the '08 price was an aspiration that lasted about 3 months, but then the cuts began. The last big public chop came a few days before Christmas, and a deal posted a week later.

The new sale came in at $2.450m, down $350k (-12.5%) from the 2008 sale price. For what it's worth, the newest sale was down $800k (-25%) from the original asking price.

These 2 resales are interesting specific examples of the overall trends locally over the past few years. As we discussed in January, MB's citywide median price in 2010 was down 14% from the full-year peak set in 2006. These 2008 purchases, each coming well after the peak, reflected some discounts due to timing, but nonetheless fell about the same amount thereafter.

Intriguingly, a new East MB listing seeks to defy the fates of these 2 recent sales. 1909 Magnolia (5br/5ba, 3775 sq. ft.), like the 2 homes mentioned above, was new when it launched in May 2007, spent 300+ DOM and sold in April 2008 for $2,242,500 according to tax records, $2.3m if you believe the MLS.

Well, there we have just given you reason not to believe the MLS, so permit us a quick aside. The 2008 sale appears to be a case where the representative of one party declined to take a commission, but the MLS-reported price was inflated by 2.5% to reflect the price "as if" full commissions had been paid. (See "The Mystery of 2310 Palm" from Jan. 2008 for another case of the same listing agent reporting an inflated sale price on the MLS. Here at MBC we routinely call the practice maddening, or worse.)

The Magnolia home's back on public offer now at $2.3m, flat to 2008 or a markup, depending on how you count.

In light of the experience of these west-of-Sepulveda homes discussed above, let's just say, "good luck with that."

Side note: The sale at 473 31st may finally provide some clearer guidance as to where 473 29th (5br/5ba, 4150 sq. ft.) should be priced. MBC confessed to uncertainty over the price on that nearby plateau home last October (see "How Near, How Far"). The home's currently off-market, but we hear it remains available. The 2003 build is somewhat bigger and has one more bedroom than 31st, a view over the Trees we've called "mesmerizing" plus more parking nearby.

29th was last asking $2.499m, and with 31st going for $2.450m, there's finally a real and recent comp to go by.

Second side note: Is it possible? Yes, a third 473 listing gets a mention here. 473 34th (3br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is much smaller than the others. Offered last year for $2.250m, and later somewhat less, it's back this week at $1.995m.

Bonus third and final side note: These various plateau prices are casting new light on 445 33rd, the "modern beach delight" that created such a buzz last Summer. (See our enthusiastic review from last June.) The home's smaller at (5br/5ba, 3600 sq. ft.) than the modern at 31st and its location can only be called better because it draws in some nice views – maybe horizon ocean peeks – by being somewhat closer to Alma. 33rd began at $3.125m, cut an immediate deal that unfortunately failed, then lingered 4 months till renting out. At this point, a $3m-type price looks fanciful, even for a dreamy home like 33rd.

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