Moderating Trends - Manhattan Beach Market Update for 9/30/21

By Dave Fratello | October 5th, 2021

It had to happen eventually: The local real estate market is no longer creating gangbusters new records every month.

In fact, the past 4 months have seen more-than-solid sales activity, but these months look paler than the same months of 2020. And overall sales data are flattening out - at a very high plateau.

Let's get to the charts, to show you what we see.

First, pending sales.

As you know, MB Confidential publishes our own data pulled from the MLS twice per month. This allows us to develop historical data that would be hard to find elsewhere.

We track pending sales in our updates, and can compare the pace of new escrows for any given period of time.

In this chart, the blue bars represent 2021's pace of new pending sales (new purchase contracts) by month, for June-September.

In every one of the past 4 months, 2021 under-performed the same month of 2020 (green).

However, 2021 also out-performed 2019 (red) month by month.

For instance, 38 new contracts for September 2021 was a respectable tick up from 2019's 29 new deals. But 38 sure looks puny compared to Sept. 2020's 62 new deals.

This year's 38 was better than all other Septembers going back 7 years before 2020, except one (2015) where there was a tie.

And mostly, as you compare 2021's Summer-and-September data to past years, it's the same pattern. With rare exceptions, 2021 would have been the best year of the past 9 years, if not for the huge numbers of 2020.

To use a baseball analogy, imagine that your team just finished the season with 106 wins, but for some reason a crew of nobodies from Northern California, supported by obnoxious fans, somehow finished with 107, clinching the division. 2021 might feel that way about 2020.

This does not mean that this year isn't hot. It is.

Last year, the market was "making up for lost time," specifically the COVID shutdowns that froze the real estate market when it should have been at its busiest. More business was done starting in May and June because it had been deferred. Meantime, 2021 has had much more regular seasonality and pacing to it.

The number of closed sales tells a similar story.

Here we see the incredible bounceback of the market after the March 2020 shutdown.

The total number of sales over 12 months ending June 2020 was a recent low, 327 sales.

By June 2021, we were at an amazing high: 546 sales.

What a year! A 67% jump year-over-year in sales!

But after June this year, the pace of closed sales was moderating, standing at "just" 531 sales over 12 months ending Sept. 30.

That's still a 35% year-over-year increase from September to September. Just not as gaudy a jump as June to June.

There's still some up-ticking going on, however, in the area of median home prices in Manhattan Beach.

In June, the median was $2.800M, in July $2.900M (as noted here with some ballyhoo), and in September: $2.935M, another new high.

We don't mean to bury the lede here, as we know that for some people, the whole story is supposed to be captured by median price data. But it's somewhat less surprising to see that number hit a new high when that's been going on so long.

One bigger overall observation: The fact that this market continues to post such world-class numbers for pending sales and closed sales is astonishing in light of the minimal inventory that is on the market at any given time.

We wrapped September with 54 listings, compared to 117 at the same time the year prior. The inventory crunch is still an important part of the story for what's happening here today.

Here's the rest of our local real estate market update report for the period ending 9/30/21:

> 54 active listings as of 9/30/21 (+1 from 9/15/21) 

> 38 SFRs (+2)

> 16 THs (+1)

See the Inventory list as of 9/30/21 here, or see the MB Dashboard for up-to-the-minute data.

Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach in this report:

> Tree Section: 12 actives (-4)

> Sand Section: 32 actives (+2)

> Hill Section: actives (+1)

> East MB: (+2)

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 9/30/21".

Please see our blog disclaimer.

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