It's Fall in the Trees

By Dave Fratello | October 29th, 2009
Four more Tree Section sales have closed, and this time, half are not selling short or at a loss.

Rosiest of all: 607 23rd, getting $1.015m for a cute little (3br/1ba, 1000 sq. ft.) 1950s cottage on a nearly full-size lot (4400 sq. ft.).

The land is the main asset here, but we keep seeing the little places go to buyers who just want in. The listing began at $1.225m in June, about 17% higher than it eventually closed.

Also doing fine: 758 29th boasts a bigger lot (4800 sq. ft.) in what most would call a better location. (23rd is quite near Blanche; 29th is on a quiet block ending at Laurel among mostly bigger, newer homes.)

Despite its pluses, 29th sold for $875k, in part because that 2br/1ba, 600 sq. ft. home just isn't livable for almost any family. We'll call this a lot-value sale until shown otherwise.

2007 was a not a great time to buy: No one should be too surprised that a home purchased in March 2007 was down in value this year.

2613 Oak, ostensibly 4br – there are 4 spaces, but bedrooms? – with 2ba (but no real master bath) and 1775 sq. ft., was sweetly redone outside, mostly crisp and clean inside with some ragged edges here and there.

In 2007: $1.385m.

In 2009: $1.199m (-$186k/-13%).

Big bank takes bath: The last one on this list was formally a short sale.

The bank with the stagecoach isn't notorious for risky lending like some other long-since-imploded institutions, but at 3210 Ardmore, the bank extended too much credit in 2005 and got bitten this year.

Though the owners had acquired the stately 5br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft. home for $340k in 1998 (that's the same year as construction; we don't know if they bought it finished or not), they began to draw against its value in a large way in the bubble years. First it was a credit line that pushed the total debt (max) to $1.2m in 2003. By July 2005, the stagecoach dropped in with $1.680m.

Of course, we don't know why the owners needed the cash nor why the bank offered it, but we do know that just 4 years later, with a short sale at $1.4m last week, the bank lost more than $300k due to its bubble thinking in 2005. Live and learn.

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