MB Market Update for 2/29/08, Trees

By Dave Fratello | March 4th, 2008
This is the third installment of the twice-monthly MB Market Update, this time looking at the Tree Section. For the previous stories with the overview for this period and Hill Section information, click here, and for the Sand Section story, click here.

Tree Section

Total SFR inventory in the Tree Section was at 47 on Feb. 29, with 23 priced below $2m and 24 priced above that mark.

There were 5 new listings in this period:
  • 523 Marine is a cute cottage (3br/2ba, 1625 sq. ft.) purchased just 18 months ago (Sept. 2006) for $1.310m. The sellers are just trying to get out without losing much money, starting at $1.379m.
  • 3516 Palm is a stately 5br/4ba home with 3250 sq. ft. whose overall layout and feel you'll recognize from much new construction in the Trees these days – even though this one was built in 2000. It's a nice home, but the location is a strike, with proximity to Rosecrans just one of a few issues. Sellers paid $1.050m in 2002, and they start now at $1.849m (+$799k/+76%, or almost 13%/yr.).
  • 534 14th is unusual in that you don't often see resales in the $3m+ range. It's a large contemporary (ca. 1990) with sharp angles and ocean views. Offers 4br/4ba and 4100 sq. ft., with 2br up and 2br down. (At one point the listing stated the agent's opinion that it was not a home for families with young kids due to the bedroom layout; that's been revised to: "Not home for infants....") Start price: $3.350m.

  • 3307 Poinsettia and 3309 Poinsettia are lovable twins. Although styled differently (one's Craftsman [3307], one's Italianate), they offer the same basic profile (5br/5ba, 3250 sq. ft.) and layout. The writeups for both homes are almost interchangeable, too – both conclude: "This Home is As Close to Custom As You Can Get" – to which we'd add: "unless you look next door."
Kidding aside, the twins are lovely, just starting out very high at $2.795 – out of kilter with the sluggish market for new construction in the Trees. At $860/PSF, they're in territory reached only by new homes in "A" locations (717 31st at $914/PSF and 608 15th at $880/PSF) over the last 6 months. Most new construction has wound up closer to $700/PSF, with $716 being the peak – at 927 27th in late August.
There were 8 sales (new escrows) in this period in the Tree Section from homes listed on the MLS. (Another new construction pre-sale at 1813 Pine was posted as pending; this is on the spreadsheet too.) Let's look first at the lower-priced homes:
  • 3613 Oak (pictured) was one of the smaller and least-well-located offerings of the year, but it was attractive at $1.089m for 3br/2ba and 1400 sq. ft. Word is that the sellers were eager to move on to...
  • 790 Rosecrans, oh, lovable, awful 790 Rosecrans – big and tired, but offering a built-in pub and a pool, and lots of remodeling opportunities. It was last at $1.295m after beginning at $1.585m (-$290k/-18%). We know it's Rosecrans, but how often do you see a PPSF below $400? You do here: $398, based on the list price.
  • 626 Rosecrans is the opposite of 790 – small and spiffy, neatly remodeled. How often do you see a 600 sq. ft. home, a $799k price west of Sepulveda, or a PPSF of $1,300+? All those here.
  • 605 36th (pictured) was a pretender at nearly $1.6m in Sept. 2007, but it took time off, came back at $1.399m and snagged a buyer.
  • 3012 Palm could be a failed flip, or nearly failed – purchased in June 2007 for $1.3m, and last at $1.429m, down $150k from its start. If it was profitable, not by much.
At the higher end, we saw two brand-new homes go along with one newer home priced near $3m:
  • 2312 Poinsettia (pictured) was custom-built in 2006, and it showed in the very different layout. It's large with 5br/6ba and 4175 sq. ft. Nice bonus: a pub-like basement rec room outfitted by the owner with a gym, pool table, bar and massage room. Price started at $2.995m, and just $45k came off before a deal was struck.
  • 1417 Elm is a 5br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft. home that's fairly typical for the genre, though attractive with lots of extra detail work (custom woodworking, nice finishes all around). It spent about 6 months on the market, including pre-completion time; last at $2.099m (-$76k from start).
  • 2100 Flournoy reached above $3m for a while, starting out at $3.200m pre-completion, but it came to rest at $2.750m, we're told (-$450k/-14%). That's still quite decent, thank you, for this 4br/5ba, 3600 sq. ft. home. PPSF would be $764.
There were 3 price reductions in the Trees this round, but really just one worth much attention: 794 27th (at 27th/Pacific) dropped $200k to $2.399m after just 3 weeks on the market. Here's guessing that the local agent (of the 2) finally got some say in the price, which had been absurd given current conditions. The owner paid $2.5m less than 2 years ago, in May 2006, and, while she may lose a bit in getting out, at least she can remember the "Hot Property" treatment from a couple weeks ago.

Finally, we had 4 closed sales in this period:

  • 3104 Pacific (pictured), new construction that began at $2.149m, closed at $1.950m (-$199k/-9%). In doing so, it became the first new home to close below $2m since MBC began publicly tracking 1 year ago. (More are on the way.)
  • 2311 Poinsettia, a newer-style home (ca. 1989), also started at $2.149m in May 2007, but fell to $1.850m (-$299k/-14%) and $544/PSF.
  • 612 30th was a newer, Spanish-style resale that came and went quickly, grabbing $2.270m for 4br/5ba and 3450 sq. ft.
  • 652 36th was smallish (3br/2ba, 1525 sq. ft.) but quite stylish, and commanded $1.3m, a fairly modest 10% markup from the $1.175m paid in March 2005.

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