MB Market Update for 4/30/08, Sand

By Dave Fratello | May 5th, 2008
This is the second installment of our MB Market Update for April 30, 2008. You can download the complete 4/30/08 update by clicking here, or at any time by using the link at the upper-right corner of the main MBC page.

Sand Section

There were 40 active SFRs in the Sand Section as of April 30.

You'll recall that we provided a chart at mid-month when inventory hit 35, showing what a substantial increase this was over any inventory figures for all of 2007. (See the Sand Section update for 4/15/08.) So we're now 5 higher than that, more than double the very low level at this time last year.

This was partly the result of 6 new listings in the second half of April, plus one (444 33rd Pl) that began 4/14 but didn't get into the last spreadsheet, and one return (225 39th) that is news further below:

  • 429 29th St. added to our sense that half of the Grandview plateau will turn over in 2008 – so many listings there this year. This old-time cottage with an addition offers 3br/2ba and 1350 sq. ft. It's very charming, clean and well-kept, even offers a little yard, but whoa, you are not going to dig the "master bathroom." It's a closet-sized bath with fixtures at least 30 years old that is downstairs from the actual master bedroom. And it's the hallway bath you'll share with company. A huge compromise to make for $1.579m ($1170/PSF).
  • 2211 Highland (3br/3ba, 1950 sq. ft.) swept in and switfly defied the odds for a Highland property, going into escrow almost immediately at $1.399m. But that didn't take, and it's back.
  • 401 3rd is being called a Gothic Castle by one MBC-reading couple who toured it, and that aptly captures the different style and decor. It's brighter than that label suggests, though – nicely designed to draw in light from tall windows and strategically placed skylights. Don't forget the roofdeck, a nice bonus on top of the 4br/4ba and 3450 sq. ft. Now, who will solve the mystery of the 2 bedrooms blocked off from public access during debut weekend? Please don't tell us they're done up in dungeon decor. Starts at $2.685m.
  • 452 32nd is a vast (6br/5ba, 4500 sq. ft.), yet plain-vanilla new home. We frankly don't get the "French Country" tag the builders have applied to it. Location on 32nd is frowned upon by some because of its proximity to Sand Dune Park (right at the top of the dune). This one was offered pre-completion last year for $3.199m, but starts now at $2.999m.
  • Just a few blocks away from each other, 221 31st and 221 34th (pictured) hit the market at the same time and both at price of, essentially, $5.4m.
The 31st St. home is 6 years old and was purchased for much less than half the current list price ($2.175m on the last day of 2002).

The 34th St. home is a new, ultra-contemporary showpiece, stunning, cool, clean, and featuring world-class ocean, PV & pier views. Did you get the sense that we were impressed?

Now, if you're ready for a bit of a shock, despite the growing inventory in the Sand, there were no new sales in this 2-week period. (As we noted, 2211 Highland went and came in this period; it's active now.) However, plenty of sellers tried to make the big move by cutting back a bit:

  • As price cuts go, the one at 225 39th (pictured) was striking and newsworthy. The home recently went into default for the 2nd time in a year with 2 different owners. The listing canceled in late March at $1.525m, already down $70k from the price paid by would-be flippers who "rescued" an owner in foreclosure with their purchase in June 2007.
Suddenly 225 39th came back with a new (out-of-area) agent on April 17 at $1.1m. Really, $1.1m? (See "Failed Flip is Back, Short.") Turns out, it's set up as a possible short sale while the loans are in default and the threat of auction approaches. The agent stopped speaking to us when we asked if the lender had already approved a short sale. Since the answer wasn't "yes," we'll guess it's "no."
  • 317 17th was purchased for $2.050m in Nov. 2006, about 30 minutes ago in local real estate time. It started much too high at $2.799m and has now cut to $2.599m after 4+ months of failing to draw interest. And yet, that's still +$549k/+27%. Something to consider if you're interested in the property: apparently they don't deliver newspapers to this address.
  • 445 30th is a pretty sweet and spacious Spanish, an older home with some additions and nice updates. For more space and a yard, you can rent part of the neighboring lot, owned by the same folks. This one initially struck us as a better deal at $1.999m (its start price) than 3200 Alma (see our story and abortive pricing poll on 3200 Alma), a home that was 1100 sq. ft. smaller and priced at $1.899m. Now 30th is down below Alma at $1.825m.
  • 437 1st is extra-active for a new listing, making its second cut already in less than a month. The listing now crows that "the owner must sell this beach home," which helps explain the moves. It's now at $1.650m (-$90k/-5%).
Two facts matter. First, the same home was purchased privately last year for $1.450m before a quick remodel. That's the start for a fair gauge of its current value.

Second, this one has the same br/ba/sq. ft./lot size as long-stuck, nearby 505 3rd, which has sat around pointlessly for most of the past year, as high as $1.949m and now at $1.899m. (See "What's Right for 505 3rd?")

Now 1st is showing that 3rd is not worth much more than the $1.6m those owners paid in Sept. 2005, if it's worth that anymore. Thanks a lot, neighbor.
We'll also remember this period as the time when 4419 Highland moved from an overpriced new home to a would-be rental to offering a lease-purchase option. Give them credit for trying everything now, just about.

There were 4 closed sales in this period, including one lot sale – 3216 Alma at $1.561m, and another possible lot sale on a walkstreet west of Highland – 228 31st, which went for $2.1m after about 2 months' worth of quick cuts from its $2.599m start price.

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