MB Market Update for 10/31/08, Pt. 1

By Dave Fratello | November 4th, 2008

The new MB Market Update spreadsheets for 10/31/08 are available for download by clicking here, or at any time by using the link in the upper-right corner of the MBC front page. Information in this update closed Oct. 31.

Inventory of SFRs west of Sepulveda has receded again from the new high of 124 that was reached mid-month, down now to 117. Both sales and cancellations drove inventory down, as we'll detail below.

During this period we counted 10 new listings and 1 more that returned from a prior cancellation, all adding to inventory, while 10 sales (new escrows) and 8 cancellations reduced inventory. Inventory broke down as follows:

  • Hill Section: 25, down 2 from mid-month;
  • Sand Section: 47, flat since Oct. 15; and
  • Tree Section: 45, down 5 from mid-month.
Last week we noted that sales in the second half of October were running at a decent pace (for more, including a list of homes that made deals, see "Some Sales Stack Up"). We wound up with a total of 12 SFR sales west of Sepulveda in October, pretty weak overall, but the picture was improving as Halloween neared.

October 2007 also ended with 12 SFR sales West of Hwy. 1, as noted in our update then. Both months were unusually weak, and both months followed the onset of troubles in the financial markets that began to spill over into real estate locally. The more things change...

Since we have covered the sales recently, let's focus a moment on the cancellations. We do this in part to create a record we can refer back to later if listings return:
  • 2812 Elm had been on the market forever – more than 2 years – when it finally canceled with 773 DOM by our count.
It serves as a cautionary example on overpricing, since this 4br/4ba, 2500 sq. ft. home began at $1.769m in mid-Sept. 2006, much too high, lingered near there a long time, and only moved down to $1.599m (its last price, $15k more than the owners paid in June 2005) at a point when even that was much too high. (See "Really, Don't Hurry," our story from January about a sales pitch on this home; includes some past-sale data.) Marked to market, this one might have been at $1.3m-$1.4m these days, but that's academic if the notion of selling is really past.
  • 1829 Poinsettia is also gone, having logged 525 DOM by our count. This oft-mentioned, spiffed-up cottage was last at $1.319m, down $466k from its May 2007 start price. We're not ruling this one out for a return, however. That Oct. 31, 2007, MB Market Update we linked to above also made reference to this listing's cancellation a year ago for some Holiday Season hibernation.
  • 201 43rd in El Norte hit the radar only briefly as a short sale earlier this month, and quit again shortly thereafter (shorties behave strangely, as a rule), last at $1.425m, short despite an acquisition price of $1.190m back in Oct. 2003.
  • 835 17th in the Trees was a newer beauty (6br/6ba, 6000 sq. ft.) on a near-double lot by Pacific School, which sought $4.2m for a few weeks.
  • 2602 Pacific (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.) was priced below $1m from the get-go, quitting after 90 DOM at $995k.
  • 672 19th (3br/2ba, 1675 sq. ft.) has tried and quit twice this year, first at $1.789m, second time at $1.599m, both times asking more than $1,000/PSF for a nicely painted cottage with no real master (see "Be Their Guest").
  • 3210 Ardmore quit after a brief time on market to rent out instead.

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