It's Better Now by the Beach

By Dave Fratello | July 2nd, 2010
Two listings in the 200 blocks of MB walkstreets are now a lot more interesting than they once were.

224 31st is a newer (2005) home west of Highland with max square footage (5br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft.) and ocean views.

It's been on and off the market over the past 2+ years, often trying much too high.

MBC's hand-crafted spreadsheets first recorded the home hitting the market in August 2007 at $4.995m. It slowly crept down to $4.595m before quitting more than 325 DOM later. (See "Recent Dropouts" from Aug. 2008.)

The home re-emerged on the public market last year, a fact which we recorded without really remembering. (Do you find you need to write things down more?) For a chunk of Summer 2009, the home was up at $3.6m. Problem was, it was 2009.

224 31st came back this week at $3.499m, which of course is nearly $1.5m short of that overreach from 2007-08, and it also looks about right today.

The closest comparable property has to be Derek Lowe's very longtime listing at 204 19th. Despite purchasing the home new in Aug. 2006 for $5.0m, the former Dodger had to resell it this year for a loss at $3.9m. (See "Way Lowe-r.")

Now, 19th is one of those prime walkstreets near downtown, uninterrupted by Manhattan Ave., so there's a clear location advantage there.

The new price on 31st appears to take that into account.

So is that price going to generate more interest on this try at 31st? As your magic 8-ball might say, signs point to yes.

The listing agent says the phone won't stop ringing, and an ad hoc showing was put together Thursday evening. It's not officially free to show till next week.

It's not clear that the same buzz is going to surround 221 3rd, but it could.

Like the 2 previously mentioned homes, it's newer (2006), maxed out (4br/4ba, 4075 sq. ft.) and, interestingly, designed by the same architect.

The listing tried for 6 months in 2009 without success. It was, after all, 2009.

3rd began at $4.790m and quit at $4.495m, no major moves.

Upon returning this April, it was down to $4.250m, but the chop that gives it a chance is this week's: It's now at $3.950m.

The adjustment (-$840k/-17%) isn't quite as dramatic as that at 224 31st (-$1.496m/-30%), but what matters is the current level. It's a squeak above the Lowe house. Now what's left to argue is the relative merits of the layout and the South End versus those special downtown-adjacent walkstreets.

Bottom line: Buyers wanting to be near the beach have some newer, better options than they did only last week.

Personal aside: Is it better by the beach? Maybe you find yourself griping about "June gloom" these days. Well, your blog author was forced, by work, out to the dusty desert the other day for meetings. More than 105 degrees, lots of concrete and asphalt, drying winds, all without benefit of short sleeves. Returning home to the misty low 60s was really a treat. So, yes, it's better by the beach, as if you doubted it.

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