MB Market Update for 1/31/08

By Dave Fratello | February 5th, 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 Jan. 31.

Total SFR inventory west of Sepulveda was at 74 on Jan. 31, +4 from the middle of the month and +15 from the beginning of the year. (See “Here Comes the Inventory.”)

In the second half of January, there were 6 sales (new escrows) of SFRs listed on the MLS. (In our subject region west of Sepulveda.) That means we closed out the month with 8 sales of MLS-listed homes.

We'd like to evaluate that fairly low number against a relevant data point, but we cannot quite do so. MBC's tracking began in March 2007, so we don't have an apples-to-apples (Jan.-to-Jan.) data set. We don't yet have a reported total for SFRs sales in all of MB for January, but those would be closed sales instead of new sales (the measure of buying activity during January).

Consider, then, two facts: Experience suggests that the west-of-Sepulveda portion of a month's SFR sales is usually 2/3rds or so, and February closings in 2005-2007 were 41, 32 and 29. Many of those began in the January before. If we saw just 8 new escrows open in January in our subject region, we're off pace, to say the least. Yet, to be definitive, there will be more data to be mined in the coming days and weeks.

Let’s look now at our region by section. (Click any address of an active listing for more details via Redfin):

Hill Section

There are 8 active SFRs.

There are 2 new listings since mid-month, but that was all the action:
  • 701 Dianthus is a 2-year-old home that reminded MBC of the Tree Section, offering 5br/5ba and 3600 sq. ft. on a 5200 sq. ft. lot, a skosh larger than you’d find on the other side of MBB; starts at $2.775m after the owners paid $2.530m exactly 2 years ago (for more see “3 More Held for Just 2 Years”); and
  • 508 Larsson shows its 1940s vintage, offering a smaller cottage (3br/2ba, 1200 sq. ft.) on a pretty large lot (6875 sq. ft.) that is, unfortunately, on the “wrong” side of Larsson (Sepulveda side); starts at $1.249m.
Worth noting – though the $8m listing at 923 1st came on in early January, it was in this period that MBC got a tour of the property. (See “Unpredictable.”)

Sand Section

There are 27 active SFRs.

Several new listings since mid-month, in order of price (highest first):

  • 332 20th (pictured), a spectacular and special new Spanish home near the top of the hill, offering big ocean views and a warm, custom feel, starts at $4.795m. That’s a significant step down in price from the new home nearby at 200 19th ($5.849m), though both offer the same square footage (4200) and 20th St., despite being east of Highland, feels like the superior home;
  • 125 31st, at the corner of Manhattan Ave. and 31st just high enough in the 100s to get some big ocean views, starts at $3.549m for a 4br/4ba home with 2900 sq. ft. on a 2/3rds-size lot (1800 sq. ft.);

  • 429 27th (pictured), a shingled remodel with 3br/3ba and 2000 sq. ft. on a small 1600 sq. ft. lot, starting at $2.175m;
  • 325 21st – pitched first as a lot sale (2700 sq. ft. lot) even though the “great home” is also mentioned (3br/2ba, 1550 sq. ft.), offered at $1.679m; and
  • 301 20th St – another apparent lot sale (1800 sq. ft.), though we’re told the “interior looks better than exterior.” That exterior is on Highland. Starts at $1.275m.

In addition, we had a comebacker – 505 3rd, which was offered for 6 months last year at $1.949m, has now put up a sign for the first time (one of the two agents knows the home very well), but it’s not on the MLS yet. Until then, or till we get the price, it's not counted in our inventory.

There were 4 sales (new escrows):
  • Long-suffering 232 30th Pl., with us so long they had time to change the address (from 3009 Highland), finally made a deal after 8 months, last at $1.289m;
  • 129 6th, a lot sale down by the water, lasted just a few weeks at a list price of $3.9m, rumored sale price of $3.65m (that affects 128 5th, still at $3.9m);
  • 408 6th, a mid-block walkstreet home, went into escrow a second time at $2.495m; and
  • 224 31st Pl, a 3br/4ba remodel (2050 sq. ft.) on a half lot, made a quick deal in its second tour – this one spent 6 months last year at $1.639m, came back at the same price after some time off and found a buyer.
In addition, at this writing, we know that 3617 Vista is in escrow, but that posted after Jan. 31. (See "Now It's a Buena Vista.")

Two homes with similar addresses canceled: 3116 Alma, an old-time Manhattan house MBC kind liked (see “Old’s Cool”) is off the market for now, after a few months at $2.275m, and 3216 Alma, a lot sale asking $1.7m for a 3450 sq. ft. lot, is not active, though the sign remains.

Two price reductions to mention, one barely worth our time (-$10k at the crusty, forgotten half lot at 704 Highland, now $1.33m) and one somewhat more interesting: $-100k at 317 17th (pictured). The latter of these, an older but updated home (4br/3ba and 2850 sq. ft., including the back house), is now at $2.699m. But this is still $650k more than the owners paid just 14 months ago. (See "Stuff Our Stockings (Please).")

Tree Section

There are 39 active SFRs. Of these, 21 are priced below $2m, and 18 are above $2m.

Lots of new listings since mid-month here. This time, we'll go from cheapest to priciest, because it's news now that we've got more inventory below and near $1m:

  • 626 Rosecrans (pictured) is the smallest home on offer in MB, with 1br/1ba and 600 sq. ft. of living space, fully spruced up and modernized, though – worth a look if this is all you need and have $799k to spend;
  • 1708 Oak is small (2br/1ba, 860 sq. ft.) and backs up to a commercial building on Sepulveda, so it’s starting at just $949k; and
  • 3601 Poinsettia, a spiffy cottage with 3br/1ba and 1070 sq. ft., is just over the $1m mark at $1.139m, neighbor to 3612 Poinsettia, which just dropped to $929k;

Meanwhile, at the higher end:

  • 644 35th (pictured) (6br/6ba, 3650 sq. ft.) started out a notch above 2901 Blanche at $2.459m, but within days undercut Blanche by going to $2.359m (-$100k) – its issues include location (refinery view) and neighbor (the comparably sized new home next door just sold for $2.075m), but we're hearing it's sold (the link will expire if that's true);
  • 2312 Poinsettia is a large, custom home (5br/5ba, 4175 sq. ft.) that features a large pub-like/rec-room basement, starting at $2.995m; and
  • 2204 Palm is gi-normous (6br/6ba, 4925 sq. ft) and very bright and well-executed, though its basement is almost too big (see "Oh Yes, It Is Big") – it starts at $3.45m.
We’re also keeping 2404 Palm on the list here (see “Unique Ain't Always Great”), though it dropped out for the holiday season and returned briefly to the MLS in January. There’s still a sign out and we consider it to be for sale, accruing DOM.

A few new sales (new escrows):
  • 652 36th, a smallish cottage (3br/2ba, 1525 sq. ft.) in a not-great location that still had some sweet touches, made a deal within 6 weeks of starting at $1.389m – sellers had paid $1.175m in March 2005;
  • New construction at 3104 Pacific (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) made a deal within days of dropping below $2m from its start price of $2.149m from 6 months ago; and
  • 2709 Oak, the longest-running listing west of Sepulveda, with more than 520 DOM, went into escrow at a list of $2.049m, down $346k (-14%) from its start price in August 2006.
Out of several price reductions, two that stood out were at 742 27th, down $199k to $2.1m, and a token chop at 1413 Pine to $1.699m. Both of these homes were subjects of MBC pricing polls. (Click for the results on 742 27th and the results on 1413 Pine.)

Finally, 3 closed sales in the Trees were all down 12-16% from their start prices:
  • 2623 Palm, which had begun at $1.599m but took a big cut to $1.399m before selling for $1.35m (see "Modest House, Bold Move");
  • 2413 Elm, whose owners agreed to take $1.575m after starting at $1.799m – with 4br/3ba and 3300 sq. ft., that's $477/PSF (see "Deal is Done on Elm"); and
  • 725 12th, a small home (3br/2ba, 1300 sq. ft.) took $1.187m, quite simply the lowest price we've seen on a livable home in the Trees since July 2007.

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