Opportunity Knocks – List It?

By Dave Fratello | July 28th, 2015

What if your neighbors put their house on the market and made a headline-grabbing sale?

You'd at least be curious.

If they got x, maybe ours is worth x, too, or maybe capital-y Y?!?

Or if the neighbor is just asking x, why shouldn't ours be worth more?

In this market, why not dip a toe – or a whole foot – into the water and see what happens?

There would appear to be a toe/foot dip going on at 210 15th Place (3br/2ba, 1225 sqft.) – an opportunistic listing occasioned by the companion half-lot home at 209 15th St. hitting the market. 

The 15th St. house emerged last week, asking $2.299M for a dated, smallish house (3br/2ba, 1275 sqft.) on a half lot facing one of the busiest areas of downtown. (Despite the florid language of the listing description and the absolutely top-quality photos, the house is not a lot for the money.)

So along comes the rear half lot that adjoins 209 15th St., asking $2.889M, or 25% more to be on the alley.

No, that's not a $3M house or lot, and we're dubious about the front unit's pricing, too, because it can't quite match up against the smaller, but wickedly cool neighbor, a modernized beach cottage at 137 15th, which sold only last year for $1.950M.

But people are free to ask whatever they like, and see what the market will say.

The math on combining 209 15th St. and 210 15th Place is forbidding. While the 15th Place listing calls the opportunity presented by two lots a "[d]eveloper's dream," the economics sound like a nightmare. Pay $5.2M for a 2700 sqft. lot, and then break ground?

128 14th Street Manhattan Beach CAYou can't do that when the most recent spec house in the neighborhood, a slick, architectural modern at 128 14th, just closed for $5.500M a few months ago.

But we all try never to say never.

What looked to be a comparable shoot-the-moon, opportunistic listing came out early this month – and had a notable success.

First, a 2400 sqft. lot at 217 27th came out asking $4M. It got $4.100M. (See "Prime Sand Section Lot Sells.")

The lot is fairly unique, inasmuch as it benefits from unblockable views to one side over Bruce's Beach Park.

2519 Bayview Drive Manhattan Beach CAThat sale gave 4 million or more reasons to the owners of a property right across the park to try the market.

Really, they had 2 properties: 2519 Bayview in back, and 2520 Manhattan Ave. in front.

Each is a smaller lot than the 27th St. comp, at 1750 sqft. each. Combined, they'd make an epic 3500 sqft. lot with no neighbors for 150 yards to the north.

Was it a lark to list both at the same time at $4M?

Apparently not. Both "separate" listings went into escrow at once. Could we really see a single $8M lot at the park?

(Gosh, Dave, that math is "forbidding" too. Maybe the buyer knows best?)

In these heady days, these aren't the only people sitting on nice Manhattan Beach real estate saying, "I wonder what we could get?"

Maybe opportunity knocks, and you give it a shot. Eventually, the market tells you exactly what's real.

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