MB Market Update for 3/31/20

By Dave Fratello | April 1st, 2020


The second half of March was the first period in which our local real estate market was fully impacted by the challenging economic conditions and stay-at-home orders necessitated by COVID-19.

It's difficult to show property nowadays, and many buyers are taking a pause anyway. As of April 1, we continue to have 25% "shadow" inventory in a "hold" status on the MLS. Inventory shows at 80 listings now, but would be 107 if all of the listings on "hold" had stayed active. 

We're going to celebrate the 10 listings that posted new escrows during this period in a moment. New escrows after the lockdown are quite the challenge. If you want to see the real estate market functioning, you want to see that deals are possible even in these trying times.

But first, we have data to share to show just how difficult this period has been.

Normally, mid-to-late March is when the market has a full head of steam, with plenty of transactions. Not this time.

With just 10 new escrows opened in this late-March period, we have just seen the slowest such period out of the last 8 years. This was about half the rates of 2016 and 2019, lower still than the other years which often had 25 or more new deals in the same period.

This brought March totals overall to a tie for lowest in 8 years (tied with 2016), and about half the pace of March 2013 and 2017.

Combining all of the data for the first two months of the Spring selling season, we see that the late-March dropoff caused 2020 to have the worst start of any of the last 8 years, with just 62 new deals over 2 months. That's especially tough to see because of the steep drop from last year's surprising early rally, where we had 91 deals opened in the same period.

Nerdy note: These data come from our hand-crafted, MLS-based, twice-monthly market updates published here at MB Confidential, and includes listings that go from active status to pending or "active under contract," in both cases reflecting an accepted offer. We have not made any effort to delete failed escrows from the data for any year – even though there has been an unusually high number of such failed escrows recently. The point of this measure is to capture real-time purchase contract activity between buyers and sellers.

Now let's offer a little cheer where it's deserved.

There is market activity. There are sales happening. Here are the 10 new deals that posted in the second half of March, keeping things rolling at least somewhat:

221 1st Place (3br/4ba, 2000 sqft.), a new TH last at $2.999M;

1612 9th (3br/2ba, 1750 sqft.), an east MB 60s modern asking $2.125M;

216 13th (5br/5ba, 4600 sqft.), a newer modern downtown with unblockable views, last asking $7.499M;

815 1st (4br/4ba, 3200 sqft., 8600 sqft. lot), a Hill Section land-value offering last at $4.200M;

717 10th (5br/4ba, 4250 sqft.), a Hill Section contemporary on its second try on the market, last at $4.575M;

1713 Wendy (2br/1ba, 950 sqft.), an originally sized Liberty Village cottage, asking $1.379M;

14 Bermuda Ct. (2br/3ba, 1550 sqft.), a Village court home asking $1.125M;

3516 Manhattan Ave. (4br/4ba, 2570 sqft.), Sand Section new construction last at $4.099M;

113 19th (3br/4ba, 1900 sqft.), a mid-90s modern in a hot location, a half lot on the walkstreet at Ocean Drive, asking $3.200M (low!) which had a deal within 3 days; and

1637 Mathews (5br/6ba, 4700 sqft.), an East MB 2001 Mediterranean that had already lost one deal, but made a new one, last at $2.680M. (UPDATE: After 5 days in escrow, 1637 Mathews fell out again, and is now active at $2.590M. We keep it on this list because we are tracking deals initiated within the subject period of time.)

Now, rub those hands together and wish everyone a little luck on being able to carry those through to completion.

Here's the rest of our local real estate market update report for the period ending 3/31/20:

  • 80 active listings as of 3/31/20 (-16 from 3/15/20) 
  • 64 SFRs (-11)
  • 16 THs (-5)

See the Inventory list as of 3/31/20 here, or see the MB Dashboard for up-to-the-minute data.

Active listings by region of Manhattan Beach in this report:

  • Tree Section: 18 actives (-1)
  • Sand Section: 37 actives (-11)
  • Hill Section: actives (+1)
  • East MB: 19 (-4)

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 3/31/20".

Please see our blog disclaimer.

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