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 571 33rd Street BD/BA 2br/3ba SQFT 1176 sqft LOT 5396 PRICE $1,999,999 $PSF $1,701 DOM 12 DOM START $ $1,999,999 START 04/07/21
Address 1847 11th Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1887 sqft LOT 6500 PRICE $1,679,000 $PSF $890 DOM 18 DOM START $ $1,679,000 START 04/01/21
Address 1142 23rd Street BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1290 sqft LOT 6002 PRICE $1,699,000 $PSF $1,317 DOM 47 DOM START $ $1,739,000 START 02/20/21
Address 1135 18th Street BD/BA 4br/5ba SQFT 3459 sqft LOT 5001 PRICE $3,195,000 $PSF $924 DOM 24 DOM START $ $3,250,000 START 03/15/21
Address 29 Fairway Drive BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1752 sqft LOT 2567 PRICE $1,699,000 $PSF $970 DOM 32 DOM START $ $1,699,000 START 03/19/21
Address 1317 Curtis Avenue BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 3500 sqft LOT 5156 PRICE $3,495,000 $PSF $999 DOM 4 DOM START $ $3,495,000 START 04/14/21
Address 1345 Voorhees Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1751 sqft LOT 5768 PRICE $1,980,000 $PSF $1,131 DOM 7 DOM START $ $1,980,000 START 04/09/21
Address 711 Larsson Street BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 1787 sqft LOT 6875 PRICE $2,999,999 $PSF $1,679 DOM 9 DOM START $ $2,999,999 START 04/07/21
Address 2912 Palm Avenue BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 3101 sqft LOT 4645 PRICE $3,799,000 $PSF $1,225 DOM 30 DOM START $ $3,799,000 START 03/04/21
Address 541 4th Street BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 3596 sqft LOT 2697 PRICE $3,995,000 $PSF $1,111 DOM 16 DOM START $ $3,895,000 START 03/30/21
Address 706 N Dianthus Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3650 sqft LOT 5161 PRICE $3,200,000 $PSF $877 DOM 13 DOM START $ $3,200,000 START 04/02/21
Address 1750 Ruhland Avenue BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 4241 sqft LOT 7505 PRICE $3,200,000 $PSF $755 DOM 5 DOM START $ $3,200,000 START 04/09/21
Address 641 35th Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3802 sqft LOT 5403 PRICE $3,295,000 $PSF $867 DOM 33 DOM START $ $3,458,900 START 03/12/21
Address 444 9th Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2294 sqft LOT 2706 PRICE $3,000,000 $PSF $1,308 DOM 6 DOM START $ $3,000,000 START 04/08/21
Address 518 24th Street BD/BA 2br/1ba SQFT 982 sqft LOT 2694 PRICE $2,299,000 $PSF $2,341 DOM 34 DOM START $ $2,299,000 START 03/09/21
Address 940 Rosecrans Avenue BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3239 sqft LOT 5975 PRICE $2,295,000 $PSF $709 DOM 50 DOM START $ $2,295,000 START 02/22/21
Address 412 Marine Avenue BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1250 sqft LOT 2706 PRICE $2,650,000 $PSF $2,120 DOM 4 DOM START $ $2,650,000 START 04/06/21
Address 117 17th Street BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 3813 sqft LOT 2700 PRICE $8,399,000 $PSF $2,203 DOM 144 DOM START $ $8,399,000 START 11/19/20
Address 437 27th Street BD/BA 4br/4ba SQFT 2250 sqft LOT 1542 PRICE $2,850,000 $PSF $1,267 DOM 46 DOM START $ $2,850,000 START 02/23/21
Address 17 Malaga Place BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2016 sqft LOT 3044 PRICE $1,545,000 $PSF $766 DOM 38 DOM START $ $1,545,000 START 03/02/21
Address 229 Aviation Place BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1758 sqft LOT 59679 PRICE $1,198,000 $PSF $681 DOM 12 DOM START $ $1,198,000 START 04/01/21
Address 1905 Manzanita Lane BD/BA 4br/2ba SQFT 1844 sqft LOT 5402 PRICE $1,998,000 $PSF $1,084 DOM 64 DOM START $ $2,048,000 START 02/03/21
Address 2301 Vista Drive BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 2423 sqft LOT 3497 PRICE $3,125,000 $PSF $1,290 DOM 84 DOM START $ $3,299,000 START 01/25/21
Address 1710 10th Street BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 4266 sqft LOT 7503 PRICE $3,000,000 $PSF $703 DOM 6 DOM START $ $3,000,000 START 04/07/21
Address 1724 Walnut Avenue BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 3324 sqft LOT 4486 PRICE $2,895,000 $PSF $871 DOM 9 DOM START $ $2,895,000 START 03/29/21
Address 417 27th Street BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1688 sqft LOT 1691 PRICE $2,679,000 $PSF $1,587 DOM 55 DOM START $ $2,679,000 START 02/10/21
Address 1501 8th Street BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1227 sqft LOT 4788 PRICE $1,650,000 $PSF $1,345 DOM 2 DOM START $ $1,650,000 START 04/04/21
Address 1148 N Poinsettia Avenue BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1977 sqft LOT 4470 PRICE $1,996,000 $PSF $1,010 DOM 35 DOM START $ $1,990,000 START 02/17/21
Address 417 20th Place BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 2155 sqft LOT 2699 PRICE $2,379,000 $PSF $1,104 DOM 2 DOM START $ $2,379,000 START 04/03/21
Address 1161 Duncan Drive BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3213 sqft LOT 20871 PRICE $4,550,000 $PSF $1,416 DOM 10 DOM START $ $4,550,000 START 04/01/21
Address 2100 Oak Avenue BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2268 sqft LOT 4480 PRICE $1,949,000 $PSF $859 DOM 114 DOM START $ $2,300,000 START 12/09/20
Address 1151 N Meadows Avenue BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 1812 sqft LOT 5001 PRICE $1,699,900 $PSF $938 DOM 24 DOM START $ $1,699,900 START 03/10/21
Address 3212 Maple Avenue BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3440 sqft LOT 4638 PRICE $3,199,000 $PSF $930 DOM 9 DOM START $ $3,199,000 START 03/24/21
Address 217 1st Street BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 1900 sqft LOT 2703 PRICE $4,199,000 $PSF $2,210 DOM 24 DOM START $ $4,199,000 START 03/08/21
Address 539 23rd Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3253 sqft LOT 3633 PRICE $3,799,000 $PSF $1,168 DOM 9 DOM START $ $3,799,000 START 03/23/21
Address 1350 Gates Avenue BD/BA 6br/6ba SQFT 3516 sqft LOT 5148 PRICE $2,800,000 $PSF $796 DOM 6 DOM START $ $2,800,000 START 03/25/21
Address 2801 Palm Avenue BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3246 sqft LOT 4643 PRICE $3,399,000 $PSF $1,047 DOM 0 DOM START $ $3,399,000 START 03/30/21
Address 2312 N Poinsettia Avenue BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 4426 sqft LOT 4458 PRICE $3,495,000 $PSF $790 DOM 140 DOM START $ $3,895,000 START 11/10/20
Address 23 Laguna Court BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 1916 sqft LOT 1867 PRICE $1,399,000 $PSF $730 DOM 7 DOM START $ $1,399,000 START 03/23/21
Address 3312 Palm Avenue BD/BA 2br/1ba SQFT 1176 sqft LOT 4640 PRICE $1,675,000 $PSF $1,424 DOM 0 DOM START $ $1,675,000 START 11/30/-1
Address 673 17th Street BD/BA 4br/3ba SQFT 2083 sqft LOT 4981 PRICE $3,299,000 $PSF $1,584 DOM 5 DOM START $ $3,299,000 START 03/24/21
Address 1 Nantucket Place BD/BA 3br/3ba SQFT 2042 sqft LOT 3565 PRICE $1,599,000 $PSF $783 DOM 7 DOM START $ $1,599,000 START 03/21/21
Address 1605 Harkness BD/BA 3br/2ba SQFT 1501 sqft LOT 5293 PRICE $1,899,000 $PSF $1,265 DOM 17 DOM START $ $1,899,000 START 03/17/21
Address 1327 1st Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3825 sqft LOT 5004 PRICE $2,699,000 $PSF $706 DOM 17 DOM START $ $2,699,000 START 03/09/21
Address 200 38th Street BD/BA 3br/4ba SQFT 1802 sqft LOT 2701 PRICE $2,799,998 $PSF $1,554 DOM 15 DOM START $ $2,799,998 START 03/10/21
Address 579 29th Street BD/BA 5br/5ba SQFT 3446 sqft LOT 4801 PRICE $3,595,000 $PSF $1,043 DOM 5 DOM START $ $3,595,000 START 03/19/21
Address 1900 Lynngrove Drive BD/BA 5br/6ba SQFT 3525 sqft LOT 5808 PRICE $3,299,000 $PSF $936 DOM 7 DOM START $ $3,299,000 START 03/15/21
Address 2108 Harkness Street BD/BA 5br/4ba SQFT 3430 sqft LOT 5399 PRICE $2,550,000 $PSF $743 DOM 6 DOM START $ $2,550,000 START 03/18/21

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