MB Market Update for 9/30/07

By Dave Fratello | October 4th, 2007
The new MB Market Update spreadsheets are available for download by clicking here, or by using the link at the upper-right corner of the main MBC page. Information in this update closed Sept. 30. This and older updates are archived at our data-dump/sister site here.

Quick note on a new feature of the updates: On the pages listing pending and sold homes, we have added a column with Price Per Square Foot (PPSF) on closed sales. Is it about time? Yes.

Total SFR inventory for west of Sepulveda was at 81 on Sept. 30, +6 from mid-month.

There was no sales activity in the second half of September – no sales (new escrows) at all from SFRs listed on the MLS. (In our subject region west of Sepulveda.)

Zero sales was a first for us here at MBC, with our twice-monthly tracking reports going back to March of this year.

The last two new escrows we saw were one Tree Section home (Peter Brady’s old 737 36th, last at $1.645m) and one Hill Section lot sale (1012 Pacific, $3.8m), right around the 14th of September.

This means September (7 sales/new escrows) was slower than August (10 sales), which had seen only about half the activity of previous months.

Clearly the mortgage meltdown is a factor, and buyer psychology has shifted more strongly toward “waiting is better.” That said, the slowdown these last two months gives willing & able buyers a lot of power to pay only what they want to pay. The next several months will be interesting as this dynamic plays out.

We note again that the sales that did occur in September were almost all high-end sales. Five out of 7 sales were on homes priced above $3m, as we noted here in the last update.

A couple of silver linings: Some sales of homes not on the MLS, and, first, some comparative data on closed sales showing that 2007, year-to-date, is not terribly far behind the last two years, courtesy of a commenter:
Jan-Sept, 2007
Total Sales: 285
Median Price: $1,770,000

Jan-Sept, 2006
Total Sales: 294
Median Price: $1,795,000

Jan-Sept, 2005
Total Sales: 309
Median Price: $1,625,000
(Those figures are for SFRs in all of MB, not just our region.)

2007 is still shaping up to be the worst of the 2000s, but by how much?

Here’s what happened in September with some homes that were not on the MLS:
  • 2408 Walnut – sold for $1.1 million, recorded 9/6/07
  • 2320 Alma – asking $1.3m, escrow began 9/10/07
  • 220 8th – sold for $5.4m, closed 9/19/07
  • 3501 Elm (corner lot) – sold for $995k, closed 9/21/07
  • 633 12th – sold for $3.3 million, closed 9/24/07
It’s possible two of those sales near $1m were lot sales to builders. (Not Elm; they're fixing the roof now, so someone got a deal.) The other homes closing this month fit the recent pattern, with prices over $3m.

Let’s look at our region of MB by section:

Hill Section

There are 9 active SFRs.

One new listing seems, at first, an impossible bargain at $1.239m. It’s 1023 10th (click for details via Redfin), 3br/1ba and 1350 sq. ft., just 5 doors down from the Post Office at Sepulveda, but a good-size (standard) lot at 7500 sq. ft. The listing claims the home is livable or could be rented out a while. A marker to note is that 1043 10th, literally next door to the Post Office, got new construction this year, which started at $2.247m and later sold for $1.95m.

We lost one – 801 11th, which also tried and failed to sell in 2006. (Metioned on MBC here and here.) The sellers at one time last year were shooting for $2.449m, but came down to $1.995m for their 4 months on offer this time. The home, awkwardly located on Pacific and insulated from MBB by only a commercial building and alley, was built in 2004. We don’t have a purchase price but the tax assessment is on a value of $1.6m.

The troubled listing at 601 Larsson took another cut, $150k this time, down to $1.849m. As we’ve mentioned many times on MBC (here, here and here, for instance), this one has been in and out of foreclosure all year and is officially a short sale. Started in March almost $1m higher, at $2.695m.

One closed sale in the Hills: the new one at 1008 11th sold for $2.880m just before completion, with 2 DOM.

Sand Section

There are 22 active SFRs.

We saw two new listings, one at the lowest end, and one at the high end.

Turns out that 462 36th Pl is a rapid remodel. This one closed in early August this year for $760k. After a big retooling with an attractive smooth-stucco exterior, it can be yours for $930k. Yes, it’s still under a million, and yes, it’s still a half lot on an alley in one of the more forsaken, er, quieter, parts of the Sand Section. (No link or pics because the agent posted the wrong photo in the listing.)

At the high end, people who live in a glass house are offering theirs to the public. 316 10th (click for details, see pic at right) is a landmark and a stunner, a very aggressive modern build (2003), 4br/5ba, 4350 sq. ft. at the end of a walkstreet. (It’s a bit hard to call homes bordering on Bayview, which is an alley, “corner lots.”)

While we gained one on 10th, we lost one, too. The folks offering 404 10th (5br/3ba, 2900 sq.ft., $3.3m) just seemed to be trying their luck. As MBC discussed here, the sellers appear to have slowly realized that no one would pay them 33% more than they paid last year.

One other cancellation: 3213 Alma, a small Spanish with huge old-time-MB echoes, is gone for now; there were “for rent” signs up, so perhaps they’ve punted.

Alas, Sand Section homeseekers, there are sellers trying to get your attention with price cuts.

Two bits of new construction led the way: 3617 Vista (click address for details, click here for MBC’s coverage) took $150k off after less than a month, now at $1.999m.

Also, 4419 Highland (they've added 2 interior pics) – which has received so much free publicity on MBC that we are considering placing a lien on the property – chopped $115k right before its first open houses, and is now at $1.580m. One open-house visitor reported that the listing agent called the home the "Times Square of the South Bay."

Four sales closed, and one closed again, in this period:
  • 332 6th, a terrific walkstreet home, got $3.141m, down $234k from asking and down $600k from its Zillow "Make Me Move" price (see MBC story); a quick deal at 26 DOM;
  • 469 27th got the $1.599 they sought;
  • 217 Sea View, the lease-option home discussed here at MBC, reported a sale at the list price of $1.520m; and
  • 1212 The Strand went for $10.7m – yes, enough for several homes, but you try and beat the location… The sellers had paid $4.9m five years ago, which makes us think a great home on The Strand will often prove to be a good investment, if you can get one.
Meanwhile, the new construction at 217 9th closed for a second time. It had been reported sold for $3.350m on Aug. 31, then it came back as “pending” again, but it closed for the same price on Sept. 25. We’re guessing that’s final.

Tree Section

There are 50 active SFRs, the highest total we’ve seen since we began our detailed, public tracking in March 2007. Of these, 19 are priced below $2m, and 31 are above $2m.

In the sub-$2m range, there’s now a clustering around $1.6m. Seven homes are around there or just a bit lower. Two more now at $1.699m are clearly candidates to drop down. So, from the sellers’ perspective, $1.6m is the new normal for decent offerings, with variations for size and location. Three in this range are new:
  • 3309 Pacific, large (3500 sq. ft.), a bit odd, with a location challenge, was up at $1.599m last year, now at $1.590 (no link because no listing pics);
  • 2623 Palm (pictured) , 3br/2ba, 1950 sq. ft., single-story, mid-century style with updates on a corner lot (27th St.), at $1.599m; and
  • 3012 Palm, 3br/2ba, 1800 sq. ft., also mid-century with more obvious remodel work (it's a flip, sold for $1.3m 6/27/07), actually began Sept. 4 at $1.579m, now $1.499m.
The new listing at 2623 Palm may undercut 2615 Valley, with the same sq. footage but a poorer location. Valley began at $1.799m in July but is now already down $200k at $1.599m.

The pretender in this $1.6m group remains 1829 Poinsettia, a crisp remodel but 500 sq. ft. (or more) smaller than the rest, and with little outdoor space, as noted here.

Four listings in the $2m+ range cut prices, led by the new construction at 2807 Elm (discussed here on MBC), down $200k from the end of August, and $400k since its start June 28, now at $2.499m.

Nothing sold in the Trees this round, but we did get 6 new listings after Sept. 15, including 2509 Poinsettia, purchased April 2006 for $1.980m and now up at $1.999m (discussed here at MBC). Three others are new construction above $2.5m:
  • 601 35th with 4br/4ba, 3300 sq. ft., on an average 4725 sq. ft. lot, not quite ready but will be complete next month – asking $2.549m;
  • 769 33rd is another pre-completion listing with 6br/4ba, 5000 sq. ft. on a bigger 7800 sq. ft. lot, and check out these measurements: an 1100 sq. ft. master and a 2500 sq. ft. yard – asking $4.5m; and
  • 613 15th in American Martyrs neighborhood is the biggest of these at 5500 sq. ft. (6br/8ba) on a 6250 sq. ft. lot, near two similar homes built around the same time and sold for about the same prices – asking $4.179m
Only one quitter in this period: 3521 Elm, once the “perfect starter home,” then a scraper, then the “perfect remodeling opportunity,” now either reverting to the builder/buyer or rented out (it was offered at $3850/mo.).

One closed sale in the Trees: 3200 Elm, asking $1.949m, closed at $1.919m, and we say congratulations to our readers, who sold the home.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Latest Listings Among
Manhattan Beach Homes For Sale