Not Worth Their '05 Prices?

By Dave Fratello | February 17th, 2009
It's hard to pinpoint where the local RE market is these days, with so few sales to really give good trend indicators.

The tea leaves we must read, more and more, are list prices, ask/close spreads and a few same-house sales.

Look around town, and you may be surprised to see several listings near or below their 2005 acquisition prices...

No Markup Now
  • 444 33rd Place (2br/1ba, 900 sq. ft.) appears to have been bought and sold twice in 2005, so pick your price as a starting point: $1.160m in May or $1.260m in October 2005. (A nice, easy hundie for the quick-flipper there.) There's been no enthusiasm for the property, with its wide, but shallow lot on an alley, in 2008-09. After 10 solid months on the market, it's now the cheapest offering in the Sand at $959k, $200k-$300k below the '05 prices.
  • 636 29th offers 4br/4ba and 3250 sq. ft. for under $2m, which, MBC noted the other day, is going to draw serious interest from people looking now.
Location is on one of the better streets in the northwestern part of the Trees. But this one began recently $100k below the Sept. 2005 acquisition price – $1.890m then, $1.789m now.
  • 3313 Pine (5br/4ba, 3300 sq. ft.) was a sharp new home by a noted builder back in June 2003, when it sold for $1.64m. As a measure of the nitro-fueled trajectory of the local market shortly thereafter, an investor took it for much more, $2.265m, in December 2005, after a bidding war, we're told. That was a markup of +$625k/+38% over 2 and a half years.
But 3313 Pine began early in 2009 a step down from those heights at $2.175m, and there's this problem – brand-new construction is going for less these days. Heck, two doors up the street is newbie 3404 Pine, same size, now at $1.975m with offers of builder financing to boot.
  • 407 Larsson is a large (6br/6ba, 5000 sq. ft.), custom Hill Section home with a real yard. Very nice, but suffering from a location that, while it's on the "right" side of Larsson (not backing onto Sepulveda), just isn't a dreamy, Hill Section kind of spot.
Sellers paid $2.980m in Nov. 2005 and hoped for a little bump to $3.150m when the listing began in Sept. 2008. But it's flat now at $2.999m, and we'll bet against this one holding steady if there's going to be a sale.

Slipping Closer to 2005 Prices
  • 325 1st is a South End (Sand Section) remodel – well, major overhaul, very sharp – that was purchased for $1.617m in Dec. 2005, and three years later is lingering at $1.699m.
The home, offering 3br/4ba and 2100 sq. ft. on a half-lot, does have a moderate location issue – one of the busier streets down south, but that's a relative statement.
It's a bit hard to believe that a clunky remodel down the block at 437 1st (4br/3ba, 2600 sq. ft.) went for $1.610m last June.
  • 1821 Palm (4br/4ba, 3525 sq. ft.) is more than 18 years old, so you may wonder why it's at $2.395m, when the newbies are all fighting for the low ground, from $1.9m-$2.1m.
Part of the answer is the 2005 remodel, part of it is location. Oh, and part of it is the fact that the owners paid $2.250m in 2005.
  • 209 16th is a duplex that's updated in parts and in others, well, not. (Don't miss the turquoise toilet.) As locations go, it's hard to beat west of Highland on 16th. In March 2005, the purchase price of $2.575m must have looked big, but also with a big upside. The current markup to $2.699m is not so wild-eyed, and don't forget, the market said "no" to that price last year when the sellers tried, before going off market for the holidays.

A Few That Broke the Ice

We looked back at recent sales, and quickly saw 3 trailblazers that showed that some 2005/06 prices had not held up within the last 6 months:
  • 794 27th, the Asian-inspired modern at 27th/Pacific, sold for much too much at $2.5m in May 2006, and unloaded for $1.950 in August 2008. (See "Close the Books on 794 27th.")
  • 532 6th is a South End walkstreet modern (at Valley) that was acquired for $1.818m in March 2005, and sold essentially flat for $1.845m in October 2008. (See "Best Deals of 2008 – Sand Section.")
  • 1725 Pine, an attractive French-country-inspired remodel (4br/3ba, 1725 sq. ft.) never hit the MLS, but it sold in December for $1.512m, mostly off the radar, for about $50k less than the Sept. 2005 acquisition price.

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