Low By the Foot

By Dave Fratello | October 18th, 2011
Take an extraordinarily big home, expose it to the market for almost 2 years, and what might you eventually see?

One thing: A price per square foot that's dipping near $500/PSF, unusual for the Sand Section.

301 16th (6br/7ba, 6300 sq. ft.) is the home in question, one we've previously called "a mixed-up walkstreet contemporary along Highland."

With a recent cut, this one's now priced at $3.235m. That's still a chunk of change, to be sure, but we noted some language in the listing:

The price per square foot is below virtually all other homes on the market in Manhattan Beach - this property is a steal!!!
Turns out, that statement about lowest PPSF is really only accurate for the Sand Section.

At $514/PSF currently, 16th St. is undersold by only 2 active listings in the Sand:

    448 24th
  • 448 24th (3br/4ba, 2150 sq. ft.), a "highly customized" (listing), detached TH across the street from Grandview school, now up at $1.099m, or $511/PSF
  • 436 33rd (4br/6ba, 4050 sq. ft.), a big and pleasant family house on the plateau with a minor identity crisis – Cape Cod or Caliterranean? – up at $1.990m, or $493/PSF.
Citywide, however, including THs, there are another 26 listings with a sub-$493 PPSF, a total of 36 now below 301 16th's current level.

Looking at Sand Section sales this year, we see just 4 SFRs having closed with a sub-$500 PPSF:
301 35th
  • 301 35th (4br/5ba, 3100 sq. ft.) is, like 301 16th, on Highland, a much-updated 1992 original that took a big dive from its 2005 purchase price ($1.880m) and its initial listing price ($2.297m in May 2010) to close up at $1.5m late last month. By the foot, it was at $484/PSF.
  • 4104 Highland (3br/4ba, 2550 sq. ft.) is also on Highland (as the address clearly indicates) and, like 301 35th, also took a big dive from a 2005 acquisition price ($1.450m) when it sold at $1.071m in March – a PPSF low for the year at $418/PSF.
Since we mentioned that 2005 acquisition price, we should also note that 4104 Highland actually foreclosed in 2008 and sold on the open market in 2009 for $970k. That put this year's resale up 10% over a bottom-year REO price. The old price by the foot: $380/PSF.
408 17th
  • 408 17th (4br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.) was a short sale on a recently remodeled home with separate rental unit near the end of the walkstreet overlooking Live Oak Park. 
Without a Highland liability and with a house that's in very good condition, it's shaping up as one of the deals of the year in the Sand. Sold for $1.550m (public records), or $431/PSF.
  • 421 26th (3br/3ba, 2900 sq. ft.) is a late-70s "contemporary" that needed work (a big project) and sold short in June for $1.240m, a then-unheard-of by-the-foot price of $427/PSF. (See "Shortie Gets Stolen.") 

Clearly 301 16th is flirting with being a bargain of sorts, even in just the low 500s or high 400s by the foot.

We'll note that the listing began in February 2010 at $4.649m, burning through 2 listing agents quickly before a new team came on in Sept. 2010, with a start price of $3.599m.

At about this time last year, in "They Say It's Nice to Be #3," we shared the conventional wisdom that being the 3rd agent can often be the charm – sellers are finally becoming realistic. By the same token, this owner had shown a quick hook for the prior agents, so we figured the new team "had better figure it out before Thanksgiving."

We meant Thanksgiving 2010, and here now 2011's feast day is in sight, but maybe a new price and some TV exposure – the listing boasts that the home will be featured somehow on the HGTV series "Selling Los Angeles" – can make it happen this year.

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