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 3215 Vista Drive BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 2400 sqft LOT 3500 PRICE $2,299,000 $PSF $958 DOM 36 DOM START $ $2,299,000 START 04/27/20
Address 118 26th Street BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 2289 sqft LOT 2704 PRICE $2,680,000 $PSF $1,171 DOM 140 DOM START $ $3,450,000 START 01/14/20
Address 1030 2nd Street BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 1876 sqft LOT 4305 PRICE $2,499,000 $PSF $1,332 DOM 12 DOM START $ $2,499,000 START 05/21/20
Address 1012 Rosecrans Avenue BD/BA 3br/1ba SQFT 1319 sqft LOT 4879 PRICE $1,499,999 $PSF $1,137 DOM 30 DOM START $ $1,499,999 START 05/03/20
Address 759 Marine Avenue BD/BA 4br/2ba SQFT 1440 sqft LOT 5115 PRICE $1,699,000 $PSF $1,180 DOM 2 DOM START $ $1,699,000 START 05/29/20
Address 1631 19th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3563 sqft LOT 4983 PRICE $2,999,000 $PSF $842 DOM 33 DOM START $ $2,999,000 START 04/30/20
Address 1712 Gates Avenue BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 2736 sqft LOT 7499 PRICE $1,985,000 $PSF $726 DOM 11 DOM START $ $1,985,000 START 05/14/20
Address 1131 8th Street BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 4388 sqft LOT 8002 PRICE $3,750,000 $PSF $855 DOM 84 DOM START $ $3,475,000 START 09/13/19
Address 316 23rd Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1940 sqft LOT 1352 PRICE $2,550,000 $PSF $1,314 DOM 38 DOM START $ $2,850,000 START 04/21/20
Address 1140 Manhattan Beach Boulevard E BD/BA 2br/3ba SQFT 1197 sqft LOT 9562 PRICE $849,000 $PSF $709 DOM 6 DOM START $ $849,000 START 05/22/20
Address 3203 Vista Drive BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3178 sqft LOT 1751 PRICE $3,800,000 $PSF $1,196 DOM 154 DOM START $ $4,200,000 START 12/26/19
Address 1437 6th Street BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 3204 sqft LOT 7506 PRICE $2,599,000 $PSF $811 DOM 11 DOM START $ $2,599,000 START 05/22/20
Address 424 S Meadows Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1529 sqft LOT 6164 PRICE $1,699,000 $PSF $1,111 DOM 69 DOM START $ $1,799,000 START 02/25/20
Address 668 36th Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2150 sqft LOT 4550 PRICE $2,199,000 $PSF $1,023 DOM 15 DOM START $ $2,199,000 START 05/11/20
Address 1151 Lynngrove Drive BD/BA 5br/3ba SQFT 2543 sqft LOT 5677 PRICE $2,000,000 $PSF $786 DOM 24 DOM START $ $2,000,000 START 05/09/20
Address 1157 6th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 4292 sqft LOT 7502 PRICE $3,375,000 $PSF $786 DOM 14 DOM START $ $3,375,000 START 05/19/20
Address 1525 Artesia Boulevard B BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1422 sqft LOT 13465 PRICE $969,000 $PSF $681 DOM 24 DOM START $ $969,000 START 04/18/20
Address 1200 Magnolia Avenue BD/BA 2br/2ba SQFT 1271 sqft LOT 4899 PRICE $1,499,000 $PSF $1,179 DOM 20 DOM START $ $1,499,000 START 05/13/20
Address 3004 The Strand BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 3348 sqft LOT 3489 PRICE $9,495,000 $PSF $2,836 DOM 0 DOM START $ $9,495,000 START 04/13/20
Address 129 Moonstone Street BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 2143 sqft LOT 1349 PRICE $2,485,000 $PSF $1,160 DOM 68 DOM START $ $2,485,000 START 03/06/20
Address 1520 Manhattan Beach Boulevard B BD/BA 2br/2ba SQFT 1095 sqft LOT 9894 PRICE $799,000 $PSF $730 DOM 43 DOM START $ $850,000 START 04/03/20
Address 3617 Elm Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1200 sqft LOT 5097 PRICE $1,699,000 $PSF $1,416 DOM 27 DOM START $ $1,699,000 START 05/06/20
Address 1550 5th Street BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 5964 sqft LOT 7505 PRICE $3,899,000 $PSF $654 DOM 38 DOM START $ $3,899,000 START 04/25/20
Address 8 Fairway Drive BD/BA 2br/2ba SQFT 1449 sqft LOT 3415 PRICE $1,495,000 $PSF $1,032 DOM 18 DOM START $ $1,495,000 START 05/13/20
Address 794 27th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3077 sqft LOT 4436 PRICE $2,649,000 $PSF $861 DOM 66 DOM START $ $2,689,500 START 02/14/20
Address 4216 Highland Avenue B BD/BA 2br/3ba SQFT 1429 sqft LOT 10790 PRICE $1,299,000 $PSF $909 DOM 83 DOM START $ $1,400,000 START 03/11/20
Address 1613 Highland Avenue BD/BA 2br/2ba SQFT 1125 sqft LOT 1351 PRICE $1,699,000 $PSF $1,510 DOM 235 DOM START $ $1,699,000 START 09/30/19
Address 3621 Alma Avenue BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 2515 sqft LOT 1497 PRICE $2,295,000 $PSF $913 DOM 291 DOM START $ $2,395,000 START 08/16/19
Address 2326 N Ardmore Avenue BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 3172 sqft LOT 4961 PRICE $2,729,900 $PSF $861 DOM 84 DOM START $ $2,775,000 START 03/10/20
Address 1157 8th Street BD/BA 3br/1ba SQFT 956 sqft LOT 5004 PRICE $1,375,000 $PSF $1,438 DOM 15 DOM START $ $1,375,000 START 04/20/20
Address 1829 N Poinsettia Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1435 sqft LOT 4368 PRICE $1,999,000 $PSF $1,393 DOM 9 DOM START $ $1,999,000 START 03/12/20
Address 1500 2nd Street BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 1609 sqft LOT 3172 PRICE $1,595,000 $PSF $991 DOM 54 DOM START $ $1,649,000 START 03/06/20
Address 504 1st Street BD/BA 5br/7ba SQFT 5550 sqft LOT 5293 PRICE $5,749,000 $PSF $1,036 DOM 172 DOM START $ $6,499,000 START 10/31/19
Address 606 N Ardmore Avenue BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 3321 sqft LOT 8781 PRICE $2,990,000 $PSF $900 DOM 11 DOM START $ $3,300,000 START 03/30/20
Address 1801 6th Street BD/BA 4br/5ba SQFT 3219 sqft LOT 4952 PRICE $2,700,000 $PSF $839 DOM 6 DOM START $ $2,950,000 START 03/12/20
Address 717 10th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 4266 sqft LOT 5814 PRICE $4,575,000 $PSF $1,072 DOM 57 DOM START $ $4,675,000 START 01/23/20
Address 839 17th Street BD/BA 9br/6ba SQFT 4629 sqft LOT 16000 PRICE $7,750,000 $PSF $1,674 DOM 3 DOM START $ $7,750,000 START 03/02/20
Address 2205 N Poinsettia Avenue BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3735 sqft LOT 5132 PRICE $2,500,000 $PSF $669 DOM 13 DOM START $ $2,500,000 START 01/21/20
Address 3419 Bayview Drive BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 3385 sqft LOT 1891 PRICE $3,999,995 $PSF $1,182 DOM 124 DOM START $ $4,300,000 START 09/19/19
Address 460 29th Street BD/BA 4br/6ba SQFT 3852 sqft LOT 2708 PRICE $3,995,000 $PSF $1,037 DOM 192 DOM START $ $4,200,000 START 07/25/19
Address 235 4th Street BD/BA 4br/6ba SQFT 4135 sqft LOT 2478 PRICE $7,399,000 $PSF $1,789 DOM 460 DOM START $ $8,300,000 START 02/27/19
Address 316 10th Street BD/BA 4br/5ba SQFT 4117 sqft LOT 2699 PRICE $3,999,000 $PSF $971 DOM 38 DOM START $ $4,429,000 START 07/29/19
Address 614 The Strand BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 2128 sqft LOT 3406 PRICE $13,000,000 $PSF $6,109 DOM 76 DOM START $ $13,000,000 START 03/04/19
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 1612 Chestnut Avenue BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 2725 sqft LOT 4839 PRICE $2,750,000 $PSF $1,009 DOM 0 DOM START $ $2,750,000 START 05/05/20

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