Pending Sales in Manhattan Beach Skew Pricier

By Dave Fratello | May 12th, 2020

We have marveled at the (perhaps) surprising jump in the Manhattan Beach median home price recently.

How could it be rising in the middle a pandemic? Setting records!

At a time when sales activity has been on a lifeline?

We've crunched some more numbers, and concluded this: The median price is more likely than not to continue rising for a bit.

That's because most homes in escrow now are priced above the current median price of $2,499,500. If most closings are above that number, the median will rise.

What we see now is an unusually high proportion of higher-priced properties with deals.

Let's do a year-over-year comparison, starting with 2019 data.

Last year at about this time, the overwhelming majority of homes in escrow (84%) were priced below $3.5M.

And 45% of the properties under contract were priced under $2.500M, which happens to be the current median price.

What a difference a year makes.

As we look at 2020 data, there's one drastic change: Many fewer homes in escrow under $2.500M.

Last year: 45%.

This year: 27%.

The biggest crunch: A drop by 14% in escrows on properties priced $1.5M-$2.5M. Like it or not, that's more or less the "entry level" price for Manhattan Beach.

So right now, 73% of homes in escrow were listed above the current median price. Even if all don't close, you can still see why we're saying it's more likely that the median has to rise.

Notably, the proportion of sales in the range of $2.5M-$3.5M remained almost totally steady, 39% last year and 38% this year.

At the high end, there's been growth.

Above $3.5M last year, we found "just" 16% of the active deals.

This year, it's 34%, basically a doubling.

You can guess at any number of reasons why buyers now making deals skew toward the higher end of the price spectrum.

The median price is calculated based on the mix of closed sales over a period of time. (We use 12 months.) The median is the exact middle point: Half of all sales are above that number, half are below. So if most of the new escrows opening up are on properties priced well above the median, and most close, the median's going to keep rising.

In our recent median-price report, we noted that we had looked at recently failed escrows. More of the failed escrows, too, had been priced higher than the current median price. This made it possible, at least, to declare that the median wasn't rising because lower-priced deals were failing.

Now we see more reason to expect continued increases. There are fewer lower-priced deals.

This median price rise would occur even if there are fewer sales, and even if "typical" prices for similar properties seem to be dropping.

If we get to that point with May, June and July sales, for instance, it may become harder to see what's going on in the market as a whole.

A rising median price suggests strength and scarcity, and an upward trend suggests most homes are getting more expensive. Let's see how things look as we close out the next few months.

Right now, even as real estate is just tentatively "opening up" again, we might begin to worry a bit about demand.

Do we have a problem with buyers looking at the sub-$2.5M price point?

Let's give this a few-to-several weeks to play out in an oh-so-slightly-more-normal market before we assume so.

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Nerdy notes:

- We scrubbed both the 2019 and 2020 data of a few "zombie" escrows, properties that remain in the MLS database as "pending" sales but have been "stuck" there for many, many, many months, over a year in one case, for reasons unknown.

- There were 30 current escrows as of May 12, 2020, and 51 escrows as of May 15, 2020, used for the charts above.

- Crystal ball time: There are 19 sales between $2.500-$2.600M right around today's median point, and which would be factors in any median price calculation at the end of May. This is a way of saying any rise may be modest, within $100K.

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Current Escrows in Manhattan Beach

(this data is constantly updated and may not be limited to pending escrows as of the date of the original post)

ADDRESS BD/BA SQFT LOT PRICE $PSF DOM START $ START
Address 1441 9th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3422 sqft LOT 7501 PRICE $3,599,000 $PSF $1,052 DOM 4 DOM START $ $3,599,000 START 09/23/22
Address 1305 18th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3948 sqft LOT 7000 PRICE $4,150,000 $PSF $1,051 DOM 6 DOM START $ $4,150,000 START 09/22/22
Address 1446 23rd Street BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1175 sqft LOT 7495 PRICE $2,399,000 $PSF $2,042 DOM 22 DOM START $ $2,399,000 START 09/06/22
Address 2617 Vista Drive BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 2810 sqft LOT 3494 PRICE $4,699,000 $PSF $1,672 DOM 103 DOM START $ $4,950,000 START 06/16/22
Address 3612 Ocean Drive 3 BD/BA 2br/3ba SQFT 1178 sqft LOT 2706 PRICE $1,750,000 $PSF $1,486 DOM 21 DOM START $ $1,750,000 START 09/07/22
Address 1191 Tennyson Street BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1518 sqft LOT 5335 PRICE $1,899,000 $PSF $1,251 DOM 27 DOM START $ $1,899,000 START 08/06/22
Address 763 11th Street BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 4961 sqft LOT 6404 PRICE $7,650,000 $PSF $1,542 DOM 70 DOM START $ $8,000,000 START 07/20/22
Address 1535 Nelson Avenue BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 4750 sqft LOT 7494 PRICE $4,999,999 $PSF $1,053 DOM 118 DOM START $ $5,499,000 START 06/02/22
Address 3108 N Poinsettia Avenue BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2218 sqft LOT 4638 PRICE $3,199,000 $PSF $1,442 DOM 20 DOM START $ $3,199,000 START 09/08/22
Address 656 Rosecrans Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1432 sqft LOT 3659 PRICE $1,749,000 $PSF $1,221 DOM 90 DOM START $ $1,849,000 START 06/30/22
Address 14 Malaga Place East BD/BA 2br/2ba SQFT 1450 sqft LOT 4512 PRICE $1,650,000 $PSF $1,138 DOM 6 DOM START $ $1,650,000 START 09/07/22
Address 3404 The Strand BD/BA 0br/0ba SQFT 0 sqft LOT 3507 PRICE $13,989,000 $PSF DOM 104 DOM START $ $14,250,000 START 06/16/22
Address 3404 The Strand BD/BA 8br/8ba SQFT 5568 sqft LOT 3507 PRICE $13,989,000 $PSF $2,512 DOM 105 DOM START $ $14,250,000 START 06/15/22
Address 1544 Mathews Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1211 sqft LOT 7479 PRICE $1,850,000 $PSF $1,528 DOM 11 DOM START $ $1,850,000 START 08/30/22
Address 1560 1st Street BD/BA 6br/6ba SQFT 4650 sqft LOT 7500 PRICE $4,999,999 $PSF $1,075 DOM 97 DOM START $ $5,289,000 START 06/23/22
Address 2100 John St BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 5400 sqft LOT 5693 PRICE $6,795,000 $PSF $1,258 DOM 83 DOM START $ $6,999,500 START 04/15/22
Address 6 Cambridge BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 2080 sqft LOT 8242 PRICE $2,500,000 $PSF $1,202 DOM 18 DOM START $ $2,500,000 START 08/15/22
Address 204 38th Street BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1041 sqft LOT 1354 PRICE $2,299,000 $PSF $2,208 DOM 8 DOM START $ $2,299,000 START 08/25/22
Address 4 Bermuda Court BD/BA 2br/2ba SQFT 1465 sqft LOT 1706 PRICE $1,399,000 $PSF $955 DOM 111 DOM START $ $1,495,000 START 06/09/22
Address 114 S Herrin Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1601 sqft LOT 4316 PRICE $2,099,995 $PSF $1,312 DOM 9 DOM START $ $2,099,995 START 08/24/22
Address 221 33rd Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1723 sqft LOT 1347 PRICE $2,989,000 $PSF $1,735 DOM 105 DOM START $ $3,495,000 START 05/19/22
Address 214 El Porto Street BD/BA 1br/2ba SQFT 480 sqft LOT 1480 PRICE $1,599,000 $PSF $3,331 DOM 151 DOM START $ $1,599,000 START 04/30/22
Address 2615 N Valley Drive BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 2850 sqft LOT 4665 PRICE $3,099,000 $PSF $1,087 DOM 16 DOM START $ $3,099,000 START 08/02/22
Address 2515 Alma Avenue BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3882 sqft LOT 4052 PRICE $3,500,000 $PSF $902 DOM 75 DOM START $ $3,500,000 START 05/19/22
Address 34 Bermuda Ct BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2077 sqft LOT 3163 PRICE $1,799,000 $PSF $866 DOM 47 DOM START $ $1,925,000 START 06/15/22
Address 3108 Vista Drive BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 2000 sqft LOT 1345 PRICE $3,249,999 $PSF $1,625 DOM 14 DOM START $ $3,249,999 START 07/05/22
Address 3213 Pine Ave BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3281 sqft LOT 4641 PRICE $4,000,000 $PSF $1,219 DOM 9 DOM START $ $4,000,000 START 07/12/22
Address 600 Anderson Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2025 sqft LOT 7151 PRICE $4,699,000 $PSF $2,320 DOM 135 DOM START $ $4,699,000 START 05/12/22
Address 220 11th Street BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 2256 sqft LOT 2709 PRICE $4,500,000 $PSF $1,995 DOM 19 DOM START $ $5,000,000 START 04/20/18
Address 1825 Pacific Avenue BD/BA 4br/5ba SQFT 3350 sqft LOT 4778 PRICE $4,250,000 $PSF $1,269 DOM 0 DOM START $ $4,250,000 START 12/27/21

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