MB Market Update for 12/15/07

By Dave Fratello | December 19th, 2007
The new MB Market Update spreadsheets are available for download by clicking here, or by using the link at the upper-right corner of the main MBC page. Information in this update closed Dec. 15. This and older updates are archived at our data-dump/sister site here.

Total SFR inventory west of Sepulveda was at 70 on Dec. 15, -3 from the start of the month, in part due to 6 cancellations. Upon publishing this update, we note that inventory has dropped further to 65.

There were 5 sales (new escrows) in the first half of the month among SFRs listed on the MLS. (In our subject region west of Sepulveda.) One was a big-dollar sale of new construction in the Hill Section, one was a lot sale in the Sand Section and the remaining 3 were lower-priced homes in the Trees.

Let’s look at our region by section:

Hill Section

There are 7 active SFRs.

Our new sale in the region was at 853 6th (pictured), a large new home (6br/4ba, 4925 sq. ft.) with those great Hill Section ocean views. Pretty cool features – a covered outdoor entertainment room and separate “casita” in the back with an office/bedroom. This one was quiet, waiting around for 6 months at $4.795m. Rumored sale price: $4.5m.

We also saw our second $3.5m lot sale in the Hills close during this period. 645 9th offers an ocean view on a 9750 sq. ft. lot. Previously, someone paid $3.5m for a larger lot (12,000 sq. ft.) on Pacific with no views (1012 Pacific).

No news among the actives, really, except that 402 Larsson (click for details via Redfin), whose foreclosure status is well known, popped up in the Beach Reporter legal notices with an upcoming auction date.

Sand Section

There are 27 active SFRs.

The one sale (new escrow) in the Sand Section was a strange bird that left a little egg on MBC’s virtual face.

On Dec. 5, 233 20th St. came on the market at $1.849m, offering a full 2700 sq. ft. lot. Less than a week later, the offering changed – 233 20th was suddenly down to $1.249m and the lot was down to 1600 sq. ft. This led to an MBC story (see “Whiplash”) in which we wondered aloud what the heck was going on. Alas, the whole lot was still for sale – the back half had simply been posted by its legal address, 2007 Highland, at $879k.

The whole package was now at $2.128m, shooting up +$279k and +15% from the week-earlier price. And boom: it was in escrow. (Note: We’re showing both property addresses separately in the spreadsheets, but we’re calling it one sale.)

There were 3 new listings in the Sand Section. One is a remodeled home with a bit more than 1,000 square feet at 329 10th Pl (pictured, click for details), seeking $1.5m. This “hidden jewel” (listing) is downtown just behind the Vons and west of Morningside. Sellers paid $580k seven years ago in Jan. 2001.

Two pricey homes held for rather short periods by their current owners came up in mid-December. As we discussed in “Stuff Our Stockings (Please),” 468 33rd (2nd pic, click for details) is big and luscious at 5br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft., and just a couple of years old.

Commenters at MBC who recalled the home from its last time on the market called it nice but said the location was not great, with views of the refinery and not much of an ocean view. One recalled that this home lingered for 6 months or so last time out. It finally was purchased for $2.775m just 18 months ago. The current asking price of $3.495m is +26% (+$720k) over that.

Meanwhile, 317 17th is a walkstreet home just north of downtown, an older building that has been updated. You’ve gotta love that location, but there’s talk that the layout is peculiar (we haven’t toured it). What caught MBC’s attention was the fact that this one was purchased last year (Nov. ’06) for $2.050m, and here it is up again at $2.799m – a 36% markup over last year’s price (+$749k).

We haven’t yet seen any homes appreciate as much or as fast as the sellers of either 468 33rd or 317 17th seem to believe theirs have, but we’ll see what happens.

There were two price cuts – one at 408 6th, a funky walkstreet home, which cut $126k (-5%) down to $2.499m after less than a month. And long-timer 3009 Highland (currently 232 30th Pl) cut $10k down to $1.289m. Sellers paid $1.225m 2 1/2 years ago, so we’re looking at about a break-even sale at that price.

Vanishing from the MLS, for now:
  • 505 3rd, a dated remodel in a nice location – sellers paid $1.6m two years ago, and tried for 6 months to unload it at $1.949m, with a couple of escrows that failed (see "What's Right for 505 3rd?");
  • 228 29th Pl, a shockingly cool, custom modern home with 4 levels and big views; this one began at $3.049m about 4 months ago and quickly came down to $2.729m, but the sellers could not reel anyone in at that price; and
  • 128 5th, a superb location that was offered as a lot, more or less, at $3.975m (see “Sand Lots”). We have to imagine there was interest, but the seller was also offering the home up for rent. We’re not sure why it’s gone after just 4+ weeks.

Tree Section

There are 36 active SFRs. Of these, 13 are priced below $2m, and 23 are above $2m.
In this report, 3 of the 5 sales west of Sepulveda happened in the Trees, all in the <$2m range. The sales (new escrows) were all on homes that had dropped their asking prices by about $200k:
  • 2413 Elm, a modest but large home (4br/3ba, 3300 sq. ft.) very near Marine that began way up at $1.799m and made its way down to $1.625m; and
  • 725 12th, a small home (3br/2ba, 1300 sq. ft.), very nicely remodeled inside, on the non-ocean side of the hill of 12th, near MBB, began at $1.4m and was at $1.199m.
Two new listings came on, one a returning veteran:
  • 2507 Valley (click for details), discussed earlier this year at MBC as it proceeded to an announced short sale and escrow (see “Short Sale Pending on Valley”) back in June, apparently never closed on that sale and instead wound up selling at a foreclosure auction. It was last at $1.799m, and it’s back at $1.790m. (See “Our First Shorty is Back.”) The listing now memorably begins "NOT A SHORT SALE!"
  • 652 36th, a smallish home (3br/2ba, 1525 sq. ft.) in a so-so location, is up at a modest price of $1.389m. It’s supercute, though (that's the kitchen pictured here) – the listing calls it a “[p]erfect remodel, owned by a professional decorator.” The decorator paid $1.175m in March 2005, so the markup is substantial, if not extreme (+$214k/+18%). The home sports a pool, too.
Six final sale prices came through in this period, and here’s a contrast worth noting. The sales in the lower end (<$2m) all sold very close to list price – in one case (1725 Oak) a bit above asking. At the high end, discounts were 14%, 14% and 28%.
  • 2509 Poinsettia secured $1.970m upon asking $1.999m – the home was purchased for a tick more ($1.980m) in April 2006 (see “A Year and Out” for the complete sale history, from 1999-present – hint: the value really flattened out);
  • 2208 Poinsettia, an OK remodel in a location MBC just didn’t like, got $1.250m after asking $1.329m;
  • 1725 Oak, a world-class beauty, overcame the location and got $2.050m, above the asking price of $1.979m;
  • 2310 Palm, new construction with lots of special Spanish details, lingered for more than a year before selling for a reported price of $2.325m, a chop of $374k from its start at $2.699m;
  • 3011 Elm, by all accounts superb construction, nonetheless lost money for the seller, who paid $2.8m in July 2005, but got $2.65m this time; and
  • 2807 Elm, a breath of fresh air in the glutted Tree Section, took huge cuts of $799k and 28% from its much-inflated start price, winding up at $2.1m. MBC asserted that this sale had ramifications for the lingering inventory, and found some sharp disagreement in “Winner of the Race to $2.1m.”
The closed price on 2310 Palm has rung the bells on the BS detector. Tax records evidently show the reported price at $2.2m, whereas the MLS-reported price was $2.325m. MBC will report on this separately when some facts are wrapped up tight. For the moment, don’t take that price at face value.

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