MB Market Update for 7/31/09, Trees

By Dave Fratello | August 13th, 2009
There's no getting away from it – the Hills are fairly quiet, the Sand Section is too quiet for what it is.

The Tree Section is where the action is. So an update covering a month's activity requires a separate story.

Reminder: The MB Market Update spreadsheets for 7/31/09 can be downloaded by clicking here, or at any time by using the links in the upper-right corner of the front page.

Tree Section

Inventory stood at 50 SFRs as of July 31.

For the month of July, MBC recorded 11 new listings, 4 sales (new escrows) and 4 cancellations in the Trees.

Among the new listings, there are a couple of real treats:
  • 1811 Agnes (4br/3ba, 3425 sq. ft.) is on perhaps the most isolated street in the Trees, opening down a hill into a European-style courtyard. In fact, the old world stylings – mostly from a mid-90s remodel – are more serious here than in a hundred newfangled homes that claim an Italian or French style.
The charms are clear, though perhaps not for everyone. Starts at $2.295m.
  • 1706 Pacific (5br/4ba, 4650 sq. ft.) is probably our favorite current offering in the Trees. The Spanish-style home on an extra-big lot (7150 sq. ft.) has been steadily updated to reflect current tastes in baths and kitchens. Starts at $2.495m. Take it off Pacific, add $300k.
Also new in July:
  • 636 30th (4br/3ba, 3550 sq. ft.) is an early-90s build that has been updated some with a desert-resort vibe. Priced at $1.755m ($500/PSF), it's good for the size and mid-block location on sleepy street. And yet, $1.7m+ is a range that will get you newer and nicer homes.
  • 2610 Pacific (5br/5ba, 3225 sq. ft.) is a newer (2003) home on a wider-than-normal 43' wide lot. It's upgraded from its original condition – mainly by the prior owners – to include a superior kitchen inside plus an outdoor kitchen. The seller paid $2.1m in Sept. 2005, and began at that price before cutting soon thereafter to $1.999m.
  • 1900 Oak (4br/3ba, 2175 sq. ft.) is a remodel acquired for $1.253m in Sept. 2005 and starting now at $1.199m, a little below. Though the kitchen was fairly updated in 2005, the bathrooms are all new since then. Layout is peculiar in that one bedroom is more like a separate apartment above the garage.
  • 2812 Elm (4br/4ba, 2500 sq. ft.) is back after setting the high-water mark for DOM at 773 DOM before quitting in Oct. 2008. (For more on the history of this listing, see "Elm is Back, Too.")
It's an attractive remodel with some layout quirks. Owners paid $1.584m in June 2005. After all that time trying to sell from 2006-2008, the current listing, at $1.299m, is a short sale offered in "as-is condition."
  • 2100 Poinsettia (2br/1ba, 800 sq. ft.) is another in what seems a string of small, spiffed-up cottages that buyers just can't get enough of. Out of the blocks in early July, it was priced at $1.059m, dropped to $999k and is now in escrow (listing can be viewed while in "backup offer" status).
The month's sales (new escrows):
  • 1308 Walnut (5br/4ba, 3275 sq. ft.) (pictured) made its second deal, last priced at $1.899m. Sellers acquired this newer (1999) home for $1.841m in Nov. 2006 and upgraded the kitchen (mmmm, soapstone) and baths. They had begun at $2.099m.
  • 700 35th (5br/4ba, 3675 sq. ft.) was formerly one of MBC's favorite homes on the market. It has received coverage here several times due to the back-and-forth in pricing in relation to the home's acquisition price (see the most recent entry, "Unloading 35th?"). In short: The sellers paid $2.5m in 2006, tried to get $2.7m in 2008, and realized in 2009 that they'd better try closer to $2.3m.
  • 1813 Pacific (4br/3ba, 2125 sq. ft.), a remodel with a very open first floor, attractive and sunny back yard and a bonus room out back as well, tried last year at $1.599m, came back this year and gradually moved to $1.399m. During this listing, loans worth $1.180m went bad. Sellers paid $935k about 5 years ago (Jan. 2004) before the re-do. Late in July, the sale price posted at $1.380m.
  • 2808 Maple offers lots of space (5br/3ba, 3600 sq. ft.) in an updated late-80s home. This one calls to mind 1728 Poinsettia, about the same size and vintage, which closed for $1.6m in early March.
Maple has a tad more space, but a location probably less desirable than Poinsettia's. Maple began at $1.675m and was last at $1.598m.

Cancellations in July included 655 17th (6br/5ba, 4575 sq. ft., $5m) and 864 18th (6br/8ba, 7000 sq. ft., $6m), both new and higher-than-normal-style construction by a busy local builder who, sadly, passed away in an accident early in the month.

Closed sales in July included:
  • 1208 Fisher, a big, bold contemporary MBC dubbed "The Fisher Queen" (4br/4ba, 4750 sq. ft.), closed for $3.65m (-$1.345m/-27% from the start at $4.995m). The King (1212 Fisher) remains available at $4.995m.
  • 1204 Fisher (2br/1ba, 850 sq. ft., on a 3300 sq. ft. lot) is the little red brick house in the foreground above. It's one of 3 contiguous lots purchased at the same time by the developer of the King & Queen. As the 2 built-out projects are not working out very profitably, 1204 was unloaded for $1.375m, down $325k from its June 2005 acquisition price ($1.7m).
  • A little cottage that can stay as-is (it was snazzily remodeled), 864 14th (3br/2ba, 1350 sq. ft.), closed for $1.135m, down quite a ways from its $1.417m acquisition price from July 2006 (-$282k/-20%).
  • Another snazzy cottage, somewhat bigger, 1600 Elm (3br/3ba, 1975 sq. ft.) fetched $1.245m.
  • Also down substantially from acquisition: 620 30th (4br/3ba, 2975 sq. ft.), a 1992 build that had been remodeled, was priced well below its Feb. 2006 purchase price ($1.995m) at $1.545m. It wound up selling for a bit more $1.573m (-$422k/-21% off the Feb. 2006 price).
So, sure, a lot of smaller and challenged resales took hits. But there were at least a couple of bright spots:
  • 2200 Palm (4br/4ba, 3650 sq. ft. on a wider 5225 sq. ft. lot) was a mid-90s custom build that fetched an impressive $1.925m – a unique home on a sweet street will do that. (Note: The MLS entry says $1.975m, inflated a bit to reflect the fact that the buyers did not use an agent and saved some that way.)
  • 1812 Palm (5br/4ba, 3225 sq. ft.) (pictured), a crisp remodel in a darling location, tried to sell at $1.899m, but that was too low – a bidding war broke out and the home sold for $2.1m.
Yes, that still happens, given the right mix of circumstances.

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