MB Market Update for 3/15/08, Hills

By Dave Fratello | March 17th, 2008
The new MB Market Update spreadsheets are available: download the 3/15/08 update by clicking here, or by using the link at the upper-right corner of the main MBC page. Information in this update closed March 15.

We now split up the discussions of our 3 areas west of Sepulveda into separate articles so we can focus more on each one. You can download the complete spreadsheet now or any time. Articles on the Sand Section and Tree Section will follow.

Total SFR inventory west of Sepulveda was at 90 on March 15, +6 from the end of February. During this period, inventory briefly hit 94. The inventory total of 90 at the close of the period is the highest, by 6, that MBC has reported in almost one full year of public market tracking.

In this 2-week period in March, there were 17 new listings, and 3 cancellations and 8 sales (new escrows) of SFRs listed on the MLS. (In our subject region west of Sepulveda.) Of those sales, several occurred in the last few days of the 2-week period. By way of comparison, there were 14 sales (new escrows) in the second half of February, and 19 total last month.

We watched a couple of fresh escrows fail in this period, and we see several escrows stretching out for what seem to be longer-than-normal periods. The latter observation is difficult to quantify, since these deals are private and are sometimes made with contingencies or built-in longer escrow periods. Certainly we wonder to what degree financial market turmoil might be disrupting buyers' financing.

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

Hill Section

There are 13 active SFRs.

There was just 1 new listing in the Hill Section, the "new King on the Hill," as Blake Roberts has quipped. It's 218 N. Dianthus, offering 4br and a vast 5600 sq. ft. of living space.

There's a lot to love here, but the home suffers from some of the quirks that view homes sometimes do. To maximize the top-floor living spaces with the ocean views, the first level has all the bedrooms. The master feels like a living room, with glass doors opening onto the back yard. Other bedrooms are accessed off of a winding hallway around one side of the home that actually ends in a living room that also opens onto the back yard.

That said, the kitchen, dining and living spaces upstairs are robust and opulent. There's really too much space for regular family living, but you'll appreciate that when the house is full when you're entertaining. A large basement rounds out the offerings. Start price is $6.75m.

Another ultra-high-dollar listing took a second big cut since our last report. The 8,000 sq. ft. palace at 923 1st is now at $7.595m, down $403k from start. (See "Unpredictable" for MBC's review.)

It's interesting to note that 9 of the 13 actives hit the market for the first time in 2008. The 3 exceptions are:
  • 872 MBB – now at 4 months on market, down about $100k to $1.150m. Sellers paid $960k in Sept. 2005. For the first time, we note that the listing says the owner may accept a lease option or a straight-up lease of the property in lieu of sale.
  • 939 Duncan – nearing 6 months on market, a big remodel, down $200k to $3.695m.
  • 811 Boundary – nearing 9 months, down $400k to $2.199m. The sellers grabbed it for about $1.8m in Sept. 2004.
Meanwhile, 916 9th spent some time on the market in 2007 but was gone for more than the requisite 60 days before it started anew last month. We now show it as a 2008 listing for that reason. Current price of $2.895m is down almost $400k from its start last year.

We saw no closed sales in this period; there is one pending escrow at 1019 11th.

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