MB Market Update for 12/31/07

By Dave Fratello | January 3rd, 2008
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. 31. This and older updates are archived at our data-dump/sister site here.

Total SFR inventory west of Sepulveda was at 59 on Dec. 31, -11 from the middle of the month and -14 from the start of December as lots of folks took the holidays off. (See “Shadow Inventory.”) This inventory level is also -7 from the lowest level MBC recorded for 2007, although our tracking only began in March, when inventory was at 68 – it was at 66 at the end of April.

In the second half of December, there were 5 sales (new escrows) of SFRs listed on the MLS. (In our subject region west of Sepulveda.) That means we closed out the month with 10 sales of MLS-listed homes.

Let’s look at our region by section:

Hill Section

There are 7 active SFRs.

There was absolutely no action on the active listings in the second half of the month, so let’s take note of a few facts about the listings held over through the holidays:

Short-termers: 4 of the 7 actives had been held less than 3 years before hitting the market:
  • 939 Duncan (pictured; click for details via Redfin) (4br/5ba, 3950 sq. ft.) was purchased for $2.53m in Dec. 2005, then massively remodeled (you’ll love the pool access through the master bedroom!), priced initially at $3.895m and it hasn’t budged in its 3 months on offer;
  • 811 Boundary (5br/5ba, 3400 sq. ft.) was purchased for $1.789m in Sept. 2004; currently priced at $2.249m (+$460k/+25%), down $350k from its start and at about 200 True DOM;
  • 1019 11th (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) had strangely frequent turnover and flat pricing in recent years – in July 2004 it was purchased for $1.150m, in July 2005: $1.165m, and now it’s up for $1.199m, just 2.8% more than the July ’05 price; and
  • 872 MBB (pictured) (3br/2ba, 1275 sq. ft.) was purchased for $960k in Sept. 2005, but is now up for $1.247m, a boost of $287k (+30%).
Days are numbered: 402 Larsson, in foreclosure and facing public auction in early 2008, is still a relative deal at $1.1m if you don’t mind its downsides. We might see this mid-year as an REO if no “rescue sale” occurs soon.

Room to fall: The sharp, modern and spacious (5br/6ba, 3700 sq. ft.) new home at 911 Duncan is already down $470k from its start price, now seeking $3.299m. (See “Fallingprice.”) The builder paid $950k in Summer 2005 for the lot, leaving $2.349m for costs and profit, so it would seem there’s room to move once a buyer is found who likes a master bedroom that opens to the living room and kitchen.

Sand Section

There are 22 active SFRs.

There were two sales in this region in the second half of December:
  • 117 Highland, a smallish home that needed some help (see “A Marginal Listing, a Decent Rental”), is in escrow after 8 months on the market. This one began at $1.449m and dropped a bit to $1.365m. It was offered for rent for a while after efforts to sell the property seemed to have been exhausted. When escrow began, the listing was canceled off the MLS instead of being posted as pending – poor form, to say the least – but we’ll watch for a sale price in 2008.
  • 408 6th is a walkstreet home MBC has variously described as “funky” and deserving of a rebuild, at least the walkstreet frontage. It began at $2.65m and was at $2.499m when it went into (contingent) escrow. Sellers paid the seemingly outrageous price of $1.050m one hundred years ago – no, wait, that was July 2001.
Just one new listing in the Sand, a lot sale at 129 6th, is seeking $3.9m. Interestingly, on Dec. 31, this lot’s near-twin, at 128 5th, rejoined the market after taking December off. When 5th first hit the market (see “Sand Lots”) it was priced just $75k higher. Both of these lot sales are now at $3.9m and appear to assume that 120 2nd set the market value of a lot in the 100s when it sold in April for $3.810m.

As we enter the new year, the new home at 3617 Vista (see “As Good As It Gets on Rosecrans”) is down another $100k, now at $1.899m, -$250k/-11% from its start.

Three Sand Section listings canceled:
  • 225 Moonstone – on and off the MLS for 6 months, 2 failed escrows, last at $1.279m; sellers paid $1.140m in Dec. 2005;
  • 616 Manhattan Ave – spent 2 months at $1.999m; and
  • 337 16th, a walkstreet home above Highland that began at $4.095m, and was at $3.999m for much of its 5 months on the market.
We’d guess we’ll see all 3 listings back soon.

Tree Section

There are 30 active SFRs. Of these, 11 are priced below $2m, and 19 are above $2m.

In our previous reports, the lowest inventory level for the Trees previously was 36, and the region peaked at 50 at the end of September. So we're down 20 from the peak. In the period of October 1-Dec. 31, there were 21 sales and roughly equal numbers of new listings and cancellations.

There were 3 sales in the Tree Section, all of which began above $2m:
  • 3300 Blanche (pictured), a newer home (2006) for which the sellers paid $2.425m in April 2006, was listed at $2.659m (+$234k/+10%). This one offers 5br/5ba and 3475 sq. ft., and it was just plain beautiful on walkthrough. As MBC said in November, the home has “lots of elaborate details in the construction, made all the more posh by lavish interior design. (The owner is a designer.) The place drips luxury.” The location is a minor horror, but you can see how someone wanted this house.
  • 2311 Poinsettia, a remodel (circa 1989) with 5br/3ba and 3400 sq. ft., started in May at $2.149m and was at $1.935m when it was canceled off the MLS. Word is that it is in escrow, however – just another example of poor form, canceling instead of posting a listing as pending.
  • 613 15th, the home atop Martyrs Hill that MBC discussed the other day (see “Success Selling Excess”). This one was listed for almost 3 months at $4.179m.
Just one new listing this round – a lot sale on the cutest block of Poinsettia, between Valley and 31st. 3009 Poinsettia is asking $1.399m, pretty high for a lot these days and surely high for builders who need to plan for the market of 18-24 months from now. (See “Last-Minute Lot Shopping.”) Would be a steal closer to $1.0-$1.1m.

There were 4 cancellations in the second half of the month:
  • 1409 Oak – a 2br/2ba home (can you say adobe?!?) first listed 5 months ago at $1.225m, last at $1.199m;
  • 3309 Pacific – a large, strange home marketed for 9 months starting in Fall 2005 and back for 3 months this Fall at $1.590m;
  • 2612 Poinsettia – a listing MBC has previously called “all but forgotten” and which was last at $2.199m with 482 True DOM; and
  • 644 33rd – a new home first offered (pre-completion) in November 2006, last at $3.295m.
Finally, 4 sales closed in the Trees in this period:
  • 648 35th (pictured) – Another casualty of the slowdown among new construction in the Trees, this home (with 5br/5ba, 3600 sq. ft.) began at $2.450m in July and has now closed for a reported price of $2.075m (-$375k/-15%). At $576 PSF, it came in lower than the last Tree Section newbie to sell, 2807 Elm ($592 PSF). The builder paid $1.330m for the lot, but it was the location, first and foremost, that punished this listing – paying too much near the peak (April 2006) very likely caused the builder a loss in this instance
  • 3404 Pacific – a 3br/2ba remodel with 1750 sq. ft., sold within a week and closed for $1.285m;
  • 1408 Poinsettia – a nice 4br/3ba home with 3100 sq. ft. across from the fields at Pacific School, closed at $1.749m (-$50k) after spending just about 2 weeks on the market; and
  • 1732 Pine – a dreadful, small home in a great location, sold for $1.130m, $100k less than the offer on its first (failed) escrow and -$165k (-13%) from its start at $1.295m; this one certainly seemed destined to be scraped, but if the buyer somehow remodels it nicely, we’d like to visit some day.

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