A Modest +50% in the Hills

By Dave Fratello | October 16th, 2007
It's not crazy to ask for ask for 50% appreciation over 4 years, right?

Not these past 4 years.

That's the modest demand made by the owners of 916 9th St. (click for details), a large, nearly 10-year-old Hill Section home. They bought the house in November 2003 for $1,999,500, and currently seek $2.99mdown $285k from their initial list price in June, but +$1m since purchase.

The home seems to have been forgotten, an also-ran among prestige $3m+ Hill Section properties, due in part to its location on the "wrong" side of the hill (i.e., no ocean views), and its relative age. Still, it has plenty of charms.

With 5br and 4550 sq. ft., the home's outstanding feature is the vast and flowing main floor, with a high-ceilinged living room off the entry and a gorgeous, spacious great room featuring a modern kitchen opening to a somewhat large, 2-level back yard.

The great room setup here, in fact, puts to shame much of the new construction in the Trees, where lot sizes limit both home square footage and yards. You can see at 9th St. what the architects might have liked to design for the living spaces for most of the new Tree Section homes, if not for the skimpy 4500 sq. ft. lots common there. (At 9th, the lot is 7250 sq. ft., or about 60% bigger than a standard Tree Section lot.)

Still, 9th has hung around for 4 months. It's easy to see what's holding buyers back, besides location and price.

There's a distinctly 90s feel to the construction at 9th – which is no slight, really, but it's no 21st-century Caliterranean. The Cape Cod façade is great, but the interior carries none of that theme or feel. The occasional use of split-levels (including in the Master) actually date the house further, making you think the home is vintage 1980s instead.

As Summer turns to Fall and then to Winter, if 9th is still around, the price could approach the aforementioned new stuff in the Trees. Folks who want to move into a big house in MB might have to take it seriously. That would be great for the owners at 9th, but if it sells, you'll have to see it as, in part, a rebuke to the offerings in the glutted Tree Section $2m+ market.

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