MB Market Update for 9/30/08

By Dave Fratello | October 6th, 2008
The new MB Market Update spreadsheets for 9/30/08 are available by clicking here, or at any time by using the link in the upper-right corner of the MBC front page. Information in this update closed on Sept. 30.

Inventory of SFRs west of Sepulveda tied the record for the 18-month span that MBC has been publishing public market tracking information at 116.

But there was a time just days before Sept. 30 when inventory was in the high 120s. That was before a raft of 12 cancellations, including 9 in the Tree Section – pretty high for any 2-week period.

Truth be told, we're back up there again at the current moment, but let's stick to the facts as they were at the date of this report.

Hill Section

Hill Section inventory stood at 27 on Sept. 30, after saying goodbye to one listing that sold for $1.1m off the start price (700 8th – see "Levitating"). Meanwhile, in this period 2 other Hillies dropped more than $1m off their starts, and one very nearly so:
  • The new home at 930 John (pictured) stands at $3.999m after a start at $4.995m in early April (-$996k/-20%);
  • Another newbie at 218 N. Dianthus got re-listed at $5.495m (-$1.255m/-19% off the start at $6.795m); and
  • 114 N. Poinsettia has nearly fulfilled the prophesy of voters in a recent MBC poll, who thought it was the most likely of 3 listings to drop down to $6m before selling – it is now at $6.2m, down $1.550m (-21%) from its start at $7.750m in early May.
There were 4 returnees this round – 3 from failed escrows, and one after a bit of a wake-up call. The broken deals were at 913 8th, 910 2nd and 808 Highview (see "Down Hill").

Of these, a failed escrow may have been the worst news for the sellers of 910 2nd, because, in this period, the larger next-door neighbor 914 2nd sold for $2.920m. This inevitably drags their value down.

914 2nd was plenty nice, with a lot nearly double the size of that at 910 2nd (8600 sq. ft. vs. 4500) and it sold in just more than a month at a price that worked out to $679/PSF.

That PPSF sketches out to a price for the very similar home at 910 2nd of $2.3m, far below its current list of $2.895m.

The fourth returnee was a re-list of 1015 Boundary Place, a 3br/3ba, 2400 sq. ft. home that began in May at $2.480m, prompting MBC readers to name the listing "most delusional" of a few options. It's back now at $1.759m, a quick cut of $721k (-29%).

Yes, readers, you had that one right to start.

Sand Section

There were 44 active SFRs in the Sand Section as of Sept. 30, with 24 of those priced above $2m.

Among new listings, a delightful walkstreet home near downtown, 129 8th (pictured), is now offered at $3.499m. A deal was made for the home pretty much immediately after it hit the market in early September, but that didn't stick, so the home is around a while longer.

Pushing a bit higher, 215 19th is a maxed-out (4br/4ba, 4250 sq. ft.) walkstreet home just north of downtown that starts at $5m. This listing brings to 9 the total number of prestige homes west of Highland offered at $3.999m or more. (We're excluding the pre-construction double-lot deal at 412 8th – see "2 Are Better than 1.")

Out of the stratosphere, back down on terra firma, a few more moderately priced new listings include 225 9th ($1.429m), 131 Kelp ($1.049m) and 2211 Highland, the last a flip purchased for $1.325m in May and tricked out before coming back to the public at $1.949m (+$624k/+47%).

There were no sales (new escrows) from active inventory in the Sand in this period, but you will see on the spreadsheets a reference to 128 6th making a deal. This lot sale west of Manhattan Ave. escaped our notice earlier in the month. Last priced at $3.5m for the dirt (2700 sq. ft.).

If that sounds like a lot, consider the bigger price on a bigger parcel – 220 Manhattan Ave. is a seriously great upslope lot (3300 sq. ft.) that runs 100' along the 3rd St. walkstreet. It sold privately for $4.139m in this period. There are precious few developable lots like this one in all of MB. A similar listing at 320 Manhattan Ave. tried for a while late this Summer at $4.2m (see "Choice Dirt"), but it's gone now.

One other closed sale this period – 716 Manhattan Ave., a desirable 3br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft. remodel near downtown, made out like Sand Section listings are supposed to – making a deal within 2 weeks for just a token 3% off, and closing for $2.140m.

Tree Section

There were 45 active SFRs in the Tree Section as of Sept. 30, with the bulk of those – 25 – in the under-$2m segment.

For some reason in this period, there was a lot of action in the 2600s.

The signature example: 2622 Pacific. The sellers of this 3br/3ba, 2300 sq. ft. home tried last year at $1.699m and slowly cut to $1.599m, but those prices were always out of kilter.

They returned this year a little smarter, and much lighter, at $1.299m, and made a deal quickly. This one wound up as the only active listing we saw go into escrow between Sept. 15-30.

Meanwhile, little 2610 Palm hit the market – a little starter with 2br/1ba and 1000 sq. ft. It's spiffed up and livable, or you can turn it "into your mansion in the future" (listing). Starts at $1.129m.

And 2600 Poinsettia joined the mix, a 4br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft., newer home that somehow avoids the cookie-cutter label with some great custom touches. That start at $1.899m might be a challenge, given the location stranded between Marine and Ardmore.

The big news in the Trees, besides more listings clustering near $2.2m-$2.3m after much higher starts, was the cancellations:
  • 1813 Pacific (tried 3 mos. at $1.599m);
  • 2308 Walnut (tried almost 4 mos. from $2.099m-$1.899m);
  • 2504 Poinsettia (a newbie that started at $2.499m and cut to $2.245m over 4 months);
  • 640 30th (tried 2 months at $2.349m-$2.299m);
  • 721 36th (purchased for $2.327m in March 2007, not so long ago!, listed for $2.499m-$2.395m for 4+ months);
  • 616 29th (purchased for $2.425m in Aug. 2005, listed for $2.475m-$2.425m over 5 months);
  • 700 35th (purchased for $2.482m in July 2006, listed for $2.697m-$2.649m over 2+ months; also the subject of an MBC poll – see "Poll Results: 700 35th"); and
Finally, 3 sales closed in this period in the Trees. You have to give it up for 625 13th, a smallish, stylish remodel (3br/3ba, 2030 sq. ft.) that got the $1.499m that the sellers were were asking for.

The last examples of a price going at or above list – 3412 Pacific, a short sale at $1.199m in early May, and 2317 Pine, which in early April actually went above asking ($1.878m vs. the $1.799m start price).

Also closing this period – 2 near-neighbors: 3409 Maple at $1.722m and 3601 Pacific at $1.250m.

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