Prime Spot, 20% Hit

By Dave Fratello | August 3rd, 2011
There's a little pocket of the Tree Section north of Valley that seems to cast a magical spell.

The short segment of Poinsettia between Valley and 31st is a block that, nearly 4 years ago, we called: "a little slice of storybook-perfect suburbia, a unique couple dozen homes sharing a tree canopy reminiscent of towns much farther east."

In that mid-2007 story, "The Street Where Listings Don't Last," we noted a few quick sales that year. Maybe the bubble was popping then, but that didn't much matter to buyers who wanted "in" to that little block.

One of those quick sales from way-back-then hit the market again this year. Turns out, getting out was much harder than getting in.

3005 Poinsettia (5br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.) is the recent resale in question. It's a newer (2003) home with the familiar layout of newer construction, with a bright 2-story living room and separate office up front, kitchen/great room in back, and 4br upstairs.

Everything from the entry courtyard to the custom stone work in the driveway and back patio benefits from a little extra attention to detail.

So it's a safe, beautiful place on a great street.

Now that they've just resold, how'd they do?

The outgoing owners had paid $2.525m – asking price – almost exactly 4 years ago in July 2007.

The resale this week: $2.025m, a simple, devastating -$500k (-20%) drop over that span.

A 20% chop is somewhat more than the drop in median prices from peak to trough over recent years. Yikes.

Worth noting: 3005 Poinsettia was new in Feb. 2004, selling for $1.889m then, or 6% less – in nominal terms – than this recent trade.

Now, 3005 Poinsettia wasn't the only recent sale to reflect a big hit against prior sale prices.

Also in a pretty nice north-of-Valley location, 616 29th (4br/5ba, 3500 sq. ft.) has recently sold off-market for a notable discount off its acquisition price.

Regular readers may recognize this Craftsman-inspired home as one that struggled on-and-off in 2008-2010 to resell. The listing first drew MBC's attention in "Job Transfer Blues" in June 2008, as the owners, having moved away for a job change, were looking at a resale at a loss.

Purchased in Aug. 2005 for $2.425m, 616 29th was first offered at a slight markup in April 2008, coming and going at prices that eventually went as low as $2.099m. It leased out last year, but sold in mid-July this year for $2.0m, according to tax records.

That drop of $425k puts the loss in value at nearly -18% over 6 years.

Interestingly, we opined back in Summer 2008 that 616 29th "is clean and newer, but it is not blowing anybody away, and may have farther to fall... [it] could wind up as the most severe case of job transfer blues."

It took 3 years to finally wrap that story up, but, ultimately, it was the biggest hit taken among the 3 listings we discussed in that June 2008 post.

Finally, let's switch gears and go to the Hill Section, where a home on a busy street has just closed for a substantial discount against a bubble-year price as well.

910 2nd (5br/4ba, 3400 sq. ft.) can't quite qualify as a nice location like the 2 Tree Section homes above. Busy 2nd St. is the Hills' major east-west street because it connects Sepulveda and the Hills to the Sand Section and beach below.

The home is a dozen years old, with the nice, basic look and feel of lots of newer homes in the Hill Section. We recently noted that the master has "tall ceilings and a surprising feeling of grandeur in a fairly modest space."

Despite the upside-down layout, with 4br downstairs, 910 2nd doesn't have big views from inside – there are just peeks at the ocean from the front office and living room. Bigger views are off the  deck in back off the kitchen/great room.

910 2nd was purchased for $2.7m in Aug. 2006, a sale that shows up on the MLS but not on the current Redfin listing, which only shows a $1.7m sale according to public records (somewhere, it appears data were entered wrong). The outgoing owners tried to resell in 2008 at $2.895m – a markup – and took some cuts later, but failed to sell. They tried again in 2010 and were at $2.299m in June 2010, the same price they launched at this year in May.

Final sale price: $2.150m, a notable -$550k (-20%) off the '06 acquisition. Yes, another 20% drop.

So let's summarize these bubble-era purchases and resales in a simpler way:
  • 2005 purchase, 2011 resale: -18%
  • 2006 purchase, 2011 resale: -20%
  • 2007 purchase, 2011 resale: -20%
Results will vary by home and location, of course, but that's pretty remarkable consistency among 3 very recent resales around town.

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