Ocean Views for Less

By Dave Fratello | August 17th, 2011
Yesterday we focused on a tight-knit subsegment of MB's beach-close areas: the long, sloping walkstreets west of Highland.

Now there's a new price on a shortie just steps across the road that may leave heads shaking when it wraps up.

329 19th (4br/4ba, 3625 sq. ft.) is a sleek, conceptual modern by a noted local architect whose work hits the market from time to time. (Most recently 532 6th in the South End.)

The home was custom-built in 2001 and sold near the market peak in March 2006 for $2.950m. But fortunes evidently changed recently; NODs began in October last year, during a time that the home was on the market at $2.999m. (That's right, no discount from a peak purchase.)

That listing failed, but the property came back in April this year at the same price – for about 2 weeks. Then, with a $400k drop to $2.599m, it became a short sale. A few more weeks later, and a deal was in place.

We'd have no story here if the listing had not just popped up again. But it has. This morning, the "pending" status switched to "active," and the price came down to $2.380m, with 2 notes: This is a short pay price approved by the lenders, and the offering is subject to cancellation of the current deal.

Behind the scenes, what's going on is that the buyer is playing chicken with the bank, dropping the offering price to try to get a better deal. That could be the smart strategy, unless new buyers can swoop in and take the last deal on the table. Stay tuned.

A 2.3-ish price for this fairly big architectural home could look like a steal and have ramifications around the neighborhood. (The approved price is 20% below the '06 purchase.) The home – which also was built with a back rental unit that's currently integrated into the main house – will always have big ocean views to the south, but it also has big views now to the west, with a smaller neighboring home. Nice assets.

Eight doors up and in off Highland, the traffic below is no factor; this is one of those pockets of town that's got relatively few homes, big views, downtown proximity and near-quiet. It's got some of the charm of west-of-Highland, now for a big discount.

409 20th
An immediate comparison among recent sales would be 409 20th St. (4br/5ba, 3950 sq. ft.), an older modern (1994 build) with updates, softer edges and terrific décor, plus pretty good views to boot (the 400 blocks are hit-or-miss). 20th sold in May for $2.665m. (We raved a bit about the home in this early-April weekend post.)

The bank-approved price would put 19th St., with the bigger views, 10% lower than that recent sale.

A sale at this level could also further impact 337 16th (4br/5ba, 4550 sq. ft.), now active and nearing 300 DOM on its 3rd not-yet-successful listing in 4 years, currently languishing at $2.899m. It's much bigger than 19th or 20th, but a drag on local prices is not going to help with a listing that has obviously had price problems for a long time.

And the price at 19th is no good, either, for 305 18th (5br/4ba, 3125 sq. ft.), just 2 weeks into its latest listing.

18th gets big views, to be sure, but it's in dire need of a retooling, with the mildly remodeled 1964 original being nowhere near the standards reached by a newer modern or some other recent sales. 18th is now at $2.190m, which just doesn't make sense if a bigger, newer home nearby goes in the 2.3s.

Disclosure: We recently toured 18th with a potential client.

A last note, since we're in the neighborhood, would be an upcoming sale at 408 17th (3br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.), a remodel with an extra unit. It's not much like the others we've discussed here, since it has no ocean views – in fact, from its end-of-block location, the principal views are of the tennis courts and ball fields at Live Oak Park right below.

That said, this is another shortie that could provide a startle. It was last listed at $1.650m, and we would not be surprised with a close somewhat lower.

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