MB Market Update for 3/31/19

By Dave Fratello | April 4th, 2019

We're going to do our regular twice-monthly update here, but let's jump to one of the bigger questions right away.

Since Q4 2018 was a disappointment, how has Q1 2019 been?

Now, get used to this: The answer is mixed.

We could declare the quarter normal and successful based on sold data alone.

The number of sales of homes in Manhattan Beach closing within the 1st quarter was 77, better than 4 of the past 5 years, and down only 2 from last year.

Look at how that lines up. Only 4 of the prior 11 years had more closed sales in the first quarter. Even those that were higher weren't a lot higher.

Closed sales are what matter most. Inventory, pending escrows, price ranges... all the data matter, but your bottom line is always going to come down to closings.

And yet.

Demand from qualified buyers may best be measured in real time by the number of new escrows opening.

By the measure of pending sales, Q1 2019 was more concerning.

With 87 new deals made between Jan. 1-March 31, Manhattan Beach was off pace from the past 3 years, notably.

Looking at the whole run of 12 years' worth of data here, we see a dropoff in new purchase action year-over-year for two consecutive years, once a drop by 12 new deals from hot, hot 2017 to 2018, and another drop of 13 new deals from last year to this year.

And the total of 87 new deals in Q1 '19 is second-lowest of the past 10 years. Only 2015 was lower at 85 deals.

The heating/hot markets of 2012-14 saw as many as 31% more new deals in this same period.

Why should lower numbers of new escrows be a concern, if closed sales totals are doing just fine?

The answer is: Maybe the pace of new escrows is not a concern, but there could be a warning in these data. It's OK to begin to worry about Q2 2019.

Inventory is actually up quite a bit (more than 50% year over year), so if there is unquenched demand, why isn't that demand taking more listings off the board?

Moreover, Q1 '19 looked to be mostly continuing the downtrend of Q4 2018, which (obviously) it immediately followed.

Newly pending sales in the 4th quarter last year were the slowest in a decade (see "MB Had Its Slowest Quarter Since '08"). This past quarter was the second-slowest in a decade.

Come on, Spring. People are counting on you!

Before we go to the rest of the report, let's consider some notable sales from this period.

448 23rd Place Manhattan Beach CAWe liked seeing Dave's listing at 448 23rd Place (3br/4ba, 1850 sqft.) close in late March, of course.

This is a somewhat newer (2000) townhome very near to Grand View school. Our clients had updated the flooring with new hardwood, and made some nice kitchen updates.

However, it needed more to be ready for market. We outlined a plan for fixes, improvements, paint and staging, along with timing for the busiest/best time of year. Our seller clients agreed with our recommendations and we oversaw all the work.

The result: The first people who saw the home loved it and wrote an offer before we could get to market.

Sold for asking price: $2.099M. Meantime, another townhome listing on the same block has more than 2 months on market.

569 35th Street Manhattan Beach CAIf there's one sale that has people saying "wow" around this time, it's 569 35th (5br/6ba, 3700 sqft.)

It's a 2004-built Cape Cod with extraordinary stylistic upgrades.

The street-to-alley lot makes for a welcoming exterior and sizable, picket-fenced front yard.

Garage is in the back with a patio & small yard behind.

The asking was $3.499M, but the sale went even higher: $3.560M.

It's not easy to find Tree Section sales of comparably sized, resale homes at $3.550M or higher, though it has happened. (Resale meaning not new construction.)

Three homes in the past 3 years have sold for the same or higher: 3009 Poinsettia (twice, last year at $4.100M), nicely located 717 31st ($3.975M) and a newer modern at the busy corner of Blanche/Valley (2100 Blanche) at $3.675M.

It's a tribute to the value of proper updates.

Here's the rest of our local real estate market update report for the period ending 3/31/19:

  • 117 active listings as of 3/31/19 (+7 from 3/15/19) 
  • 90 SFRs (+6)
  • 27 THs (+1)

Inventory was up from 76 at this same time last year (+54%). Whoa.

See the Inventory list as of 3/31/19 here, or see the MB Dashboard for up-to-the-minute data.

Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach in this report:

  • Tree Section: 24 actives (-3)
  • Sand Section: 51 actives (+4)
  • Hill Section:14 actives (+3)
  • East MB: 28 (+3)

We're also providing a report on closed sales by region of MB.

Sales data, including PPSF for all properties, are organized by sub-region of Manhattan Beach.

Here's a link to the spreadsheet: "MB Pending/Sold as of 3/31/19."

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Latest Listings Among
Manhattan Beach Homes For Sale