MB Market Update for 2/15/08, Part 1

By Dave Fratello | February 19th, 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 Feb 15.

We're doing something different this round: splitting up the discussions of our 3 areas west of Sepulveda so we can focus more on each one. This should make the market update posts a bit shorter and more readable. You can download the complete spreadsheet now; it's the discussion with pics and links that will be broken up.

Total SFR inventory west of Sepulveda was at 84 on Feb. 15, +10 from the end of January and +25 from the beginning of the year.

This inventory total is the highest, by 1, that MBC has recorded in almost one full year of public market tracking. The previous peak of 83 was recorded at the end of June 2007, but that was a month with substantially more sales activity than we’re seeing these days.

In the first half of February, there were 5 sales (new escrows) of SFRs listed on the MLS. (In our subject region west of Sepulveda.) That already puts us above the paltry pace set in December and January for sales of MLS-listed homes. (See "Off a Cliff in January.") We're still lagging well behind the 2007 pace.

As always, we'll look at our region by section, with a focus today only on the Hill Section:

Hill Section

There are 9 active SFRs.

Finally, we’ve got something to crow about in the Hills:

First, an $8m house that looks like what you’d expect in an $8m house – 700 8th (click for pics and details via Redfin) is large (5br/5ba, 4925 sq. ft.) with a back yard you can almost call the “grounds,” a couple levels including a pool. It’s pretty grand, and that back yard is oriented to the south and west from one of the Hill Section’s premier peaks – which means world-class ocean views.

The comp here is 863 6th (5400 sq. ft., 11,000+ sq. ft. lot), which sold off the MLS last August for $8.325m. We’ve called that one a “huge outlier,” but a sale near $8m on 700 8th would sure make it less of an outlier. Also recall that, for $2k less, you can get a giant, if peculiar, home over at 923 1st (see “Unpredictable” for a report on MBC's whirlwind tour).

A new home at 815 2nd is a departure from the typical Hill Section estate. (Click address for details; there are just a few pics because the home was just completed.) With 5br/6ba and 4550 sq. ft., it’s comparable in size to 700 8th, though with a lot half the size, lower down, on a street that is among the busiest in the Hills.

There are ocean views on 2 levels, a cool lower level (too bright to call a "basement") with a tiered home theater. There are lots of crisp finishes and fine details. It's a unique family layout with cozy rooms although, unfortunately, some pretty small bedrooms. It starts at $4.795m.

As of Feb. 15, there were 3 marginal listings below $1.25m (1019 11th, 872 MBB and 508 Larsson), worth a look if that’s your need. (Click any highlighted address for details.)

Since our data window closed, we're aware that 1019 11th is in escrow. This is the one first touted as one of the best locations west of Sepulveda, later changed to "one of the locations" west of PCH. (See "It's Hard to Be Straight.") We're more interested in the flat pricing history on this one over the last 4 years' worth of sales.

On the horizon: Ads on Craigslist (click the word here or use the new link under "Prop. Search Tools" any time for MB RE listings) tout an upcoming offering at 906 9th. It'll be 6br/6ba, 5500 sq. ft. with "every imaginable high end amenity you can imagine." Craigslist price: $5.7m.

One price cut this period: 811 Boundary (pictured), soon to celebrate 7 months on the market, cut $100k more to $2.199m (start: $2.599m), so it’s down 15% already. Sellers paid just less than $1.8m about 3 years ago (Sept. 2004).

No cuts yet: At 939 Duncan, a big-time remodel owned and remade for 2 years by the sellers, has been on offer for almost 5 months, but there's been no change in their demand for $3.895m. (Unless you count their current Craigslist ad with the price at $3.890m.) They can't really make it to 6 months with no adjustment, can they?

Gone for now: One of the more peculiar offerings in the Hill Section, for about 4 months, was 222 N Dianthus. MBC wrote this one up in "Identity Crisis," calling the listing "a lot sale masquerading as a livable home for sale." It's now canceled and up for rent.

Deals are done: We saw two sale prices come through, $3m for a big lot at 872 8th (near Poinsettia on the eastern side of the hill, no views), and $1.2m for 1023 10th, a small home (3br/2ba, 1200 sq. ft.) on a good-size lot (7500 sq. ft.) that had sold quickly last October. That price was down just $39k (-3%) from asking.

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