Look Who's Chopping

By Dave Fratello | April 23rd, 2013

Having trouble selling? Hanging around too long, accumulating DOM?

Eventually you might have to cut your price.

When we reported here daily on the buyers' market of 2008-2011, price cuts were the norm.

Very nice, mainstream properties price in reach of most MB buyers (let's say under $2M) would linger and linger, trying to find their market, along the way generating a trail of pricing attempts that would help tell a story.

Today, "mainstream" properties under $2M enter an overheated market and tend not to last.

Higher-end properties, though, sometimes do hang around. Put in one question mark or more, and the property may be passed over a while.

Here are some of the big-dollar homes in MB that have recently made cuts:

448 1st (4br/4ba, 2825 sq. ft.) is, shall we say, the least long in the tooth of the price choppers we'll discuss here. It's got just 25 DOM as we write.

This is an early 90s house in a location that could be great – the South End, opening out to the Robinson playfields (huge backyard!). It's got some extra land, really city property, to one side that is landscaped and gives you more of a "yard" feeling than expected at the beach.

But... it does run along 1st St., the busiest artery south of MB Blvd., and you will have to love the walking path right outside the wide side yard (that city property again), where kids who are coming and going from school pass by all day.

The house itself is a 90s build and still feels very 90s inside. So most buyers are going to want to retool it, maybe a lot.

This one launched at $2.549M and made a quick correction to $2.450M.

A reasonable comp would be similarly sized 525 2nd, sold in March for $2.350M. That one was also a 90s original, but absolutely updated with a 21st century flair. And it's not on 1st St. or with the kids-walking-by question mark.

The longest-running listing among the choppers we're looking at is 228 2nd (5br/5ba, 4250 sq. ft.).

Come on, now.

A big, remodeled walkstreet home west of Highland? Now in its 8th month on market?

It's true. Two true: 222 days on market as of this writing. (Vin Scully would say, "Deuces wild.")

This one launched at $4.299M and only just made its first price cut a couple weeks ago to $4.175M.

Let's head down 2nd St. just a bit. 

There we find 132 2nd (5br/6ba, 4100 sq. ft.), a complete and thoroughgoing, recent remodel of a late-90s house.

How big of a remodel? The listing advertises it this way: "Picture Extreme Home Makeover on steroids with no budget."

While any use of PEDs could keep 132 2nd out of the Hall of Fame, there's no doubting the flair and high style of this redo. Maybe it's a bit too flashy/modern for your mainstream high-dollar beach buyer, but it can find its place in time.

The start price of $6.5M was cut last week to $6.3M, which pretty much rhymes with the start price.

This one's up to 84 DOM this year, and it also accumulated another 69 DOM in a run last Summer.

The same home – before the remodel you see now – once-upon-a-time (2008) had a deal inked for $6.225M, but that one collapsed. A prior listing of this house went through a wrenching series of price chops and re-listings before selling, in early 2010, for $3.3M. That was a trifle below the April 2005 acquisition price of $3.5M.

(For a somewhat entertaining take on that prior listing's comings and goings, see our post, "Riches Slip Away," from June 2009, before the $3.3M sale.)

It's a different house now, really, but it's interesting to see the same place, 5 years later, scratching to get over $6M again. We'll see if they can get it for real this time.

232 16th (5br/5ba, 4975 sq. ft.) has been a frequent flier on the MLS over the years, sometimes called 234 16th, sometimes 232.

It's into its 6th month now in this run, with a recent price cut to $3.250M.

By any standard, that's rock-bottom type pricing for a big house on a treasured teen street just steps from downtown.

Yes, it's on Highland, and that's worked against the listing all along. Now the next-door neighbor is getting built up and former ocean views from 232 16th are being lost. (Cue the sad trumpet noise.) And the home, nicely done in the 90s by a builder for himself, probably wants some more updates now.

Some of the listing history here goes back to 2007-2008, when the home was listed for $4.3M-$4.5M, and even then was being touted as the lowest priced walkstreet home west of Highland. It surely is now, too.

316 23rd (3br/3ba, 1940 sq. ft.) is a modern on a half lot that's now about to finish its 6th month on market.

For almost $3M, you might want to see a lot more house, but this one launched at $2.995M and has just recently cut a trifle to $2.895M.

That $100K chop is memorialized in the listing, in quotation marks, as: "PRICE CHANGE" – as if to put those little air quotes around it. Is it really a price change? Or just pretend? Actually, fair question.

The comp for this one might be 217 9th St. downtown. That's sort of modern in style, also, with similar size on a half lot (3br/4ba, 1735 sq. ft.). 

217 9th was sold in 2007 for $3M (really!) and the most recent listing at $2.390M is in escrow now. (Quite a comedown from '07.) Watch where that one settles if you want a decent comp for 23rd, though they do appear to be very different houses. (We haven't toured 23rd.)

So, yes, folks, even in this market, some listings are lingering.

Some are chopping.

But it ain't like the old days, with so much demand for, achem, "lower priced" inventory.

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