Pace of New Deals Slipping - Manhattan Beach Market Update for 2/28/22

By Dave Fratello | March 2nd, 2022

If you were ever a busy type-A teen, or happen to have had any around the house, you have either heard, or said, something like the following:

"If you keep running around like that, working so hard, staying up late, burning the candle at both ends, and not eating right, you're going to have a big crash."

Somehow, this occurred to us as we reviewed some of the latest stats for Manhattan Beach real estate.

We're not predicting a "crash." But we are seeing that the imbalance of supply and demand has gone on too long here. We're finally starting to see it in the data.

You see it in pending home sales.

Here's a look at these past 10 Februaries.

What sticks out?

The number of new escrows opened in Feb. 2022 was the fewest of any of these 10 years, at 22.

Three of the past 4 years, we had exactly 32 new deals inked in February. Once, back in 2016, a shocking 43 homes went under contract in the year's shortest month (albeit a leap year).

This is not a one-month anomaly.

Combine January and February 2022, and you see the same problem.

Here, with 41 deals made in the first 2 months, 2022 has notably the lowest number of deals in the last 10 years. The figure is way down from 2021's 56.

Several years out of the past 10 are in the mid-50s in January/February deals, with three over 60.

The issue here is not that buyers are giving up and refusing to buy.

It's the issue we have seen all year, and which is now turning into a real problem: Lack of inventory.

Somehow, for 10 months running, Manhattan Beach has had historically high sales totals despite tight inventory. The total number of closed sales over a 12-month period first exceeded 500 in May 2021, and still sat at 511 for the period of March 1, 2021-Feb. 28, 2022.

That trend-line is down, and we'll predict that by March, we could have less than 500 sales in a 1-year period for the first time in a while.

Prices should go up in these conditions, and the median price for Manhattan Beach homes did reach a record $3.065M at the end of February (for the prior full 12 months), besting the Dec. 2021 figure of $3.054M.

Tight inventory at least suggests continued price increases, but the market overall is lagging a bit because, well, it's trying to run too fast/too much, burning the candle at both ends, and it's not eating right.

Ask any frustrated local realtor.

You'd think potential sellers by now would have all the signals they could handle saying "this is a great time to sell."

But there's that ever-present question: Where are you going to go? If the purchase market looks tight, some won't sell, further tightening the market. It's negative feedback that locks things up.

Seems everyone is hunting off-market. This is its own frustrating, delicate dance. Everyone's asking the same questions and potential sellers keep hearing the same things. Some buyers find out those homeowners who "might sell" decide they won't.

There's a lot of speculation and dead ends in the murky "off-market" world, but it's where a lot of us, as local brokers, are spending our time now to help our clients find a match.

Hope springs eternal. It's time for the Spring market to unroll in a big way. The buyers are there.

Here's the rest of our local real estate market update report for the period ending 2/28/22:

> 26 active listings as of 2/28/22 (+2 from 2/15/22) 

> 25 SFRs (+3)

THs (-1)

See the Inventory list as of 2/28/22 here, or see the MB Dashboard for up-to-the-minute data.

Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach in this report:

> Tree Section: actives (+2)

> Sand Section: 17 actives (+1)

> Hill Section: actives (flat)

> East MB: (-1)

We're also providing a report on closed sales by region of MB

Sales data, including PPSF for all properties, are organized by sub-region of Manhattan Beach.

Here's a link to the spreadsheet: "MB Pending/Sold as of 2/28/22".

Please see our blog disclaimer.

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