Recent Dropouts

By Dave Fratello | August 12th, 2008
There was a time late last year when MBC took a look at a series of listings that had canceled. We noted, understandingly, that December was a time that a lot of unsold listings jumped out for a while before returning in the new year.

We covered 10 quitters then. (See "A Cascade of Quitters.") But the legions of sellers saying "outta here!" have hit that threshold again in just the last 3 weeks.

So much for Summer, eh?

Here are 10 recent dropouts:

Hill Section

  • 619 9th (4br/4ba, 3350 sq. ft., last at $3.969m) (pictured) was a different sort of home with some sweet touches. Big layout challenges, with 2 of those 4 BR on the first floor, one really tucked away. Most buyers would want to vastly remodel & update.
  • 864 11th (5br/5ba, 3775 sq. ft., last at $3.2m) has a lot of charms, including a large lot (7950 sq. ft. ) and a garage tucked away behind. It was a quiet listing that flitted away amid growing supply above $3m in the Hills.
  • 701 Dianthus (5br/5ba, 3600 sq. ft., last at $2.499m) eventually dropped below its Feb. 2006 purchase price of $2.53m, and that was only part of the story. The owners had spent (they said) upwards of $150k on customizing details after acquiring the home. But they had to go. (See "Job Transfer Blues.") Perchance it's rented out?

Sand Section
  • 224 31st (5br/5ba, 4200 sq. ft., last at $4.595m) (pictured) had a lot going for it – a newer (2005) home west of Highland with max square footage. They started high at $4.995m but, by the end (325+ DOM later), were begging for any "reasonable" offer. So what's wrong with the west-of-Highland market to suggest that no "reasonable" offer ever came?
  • 505 3rd (4br/3ba, 2600 sq. ft., last at $1.798m) is, frankly, a terrible house, which is the best explanation for its lingering for more than a year. The "sellers" (we use the term loosely) were the folks who picked it up for $1.6m in September 2005, probably thinking "rent it short-term, then flip it for a profit." This one ran as high as $1.949m, and even posted a couple escrows (failed). (See "What's Right for 505 3rd?") The worst blow to this listing came when nearby 437 1st, cleaner, fresher and comparably sized, sold for $1.610m in early June.
  • 452 36th Place (teardown at $1.365m) tried for a couple of months, and that was it.

Tree Section
  • 769 33rd (new, 6br/4ba, 5000 sq. ft., last at $3.950m) (pictured) came on with much ballyhoo – indeed, there was a long pre-completion listing that touted the benefits of the upcoming, gorgeous new Spanish. The first public-offer price was $4.5m, but $550k came off that quickly as the home was completed.
Don't get us wrong, it's a charmer with a lot that's ginormous for the Trees (7800 sq. ft.) and a Master Suite that might, just might, be bigger than your typical Four Seasons suite. (Depends on the city you're visiting.) Somehow, this price didn't work and the new home canceled after a couple of months post-completion.

Next-door neighbor and newbie 3305 Laurel, by the same builder, also dropped out after about 300 DOM and, given that it's occupied, would appear to be rented out. So, 33rd?!?
  • 1825 Oak (new, 4br/4ba, 3125 sq. ft., last at $2.299m) is a lovely custom Spanish (or even Santa Barbara) that the developing couple decided to unload. Alas, they could not, as much-better-located newbies started to slip closer to $2m.
  • 848 12th Ct. (4br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft. at $1.999m) backs up onto MBB, and therefore drew little interest at the $2m price point over 5 months.
  • 672 19th (3br/2ba, 1675 sq. ft. at $1.789m) (pictured) now appears to have been a lark by the owners. MBC got some sharp criticism for calling this one out as a case of owners who overpaid looking for far too much to get out. (See "Be Their Guest.")
To summarize, the neighbors bought their neighbors and used the crusty older house as a guest house after merging the back yards. Great if you can make it work, but if you overpay for the neighboring lot, don't expect a rescue, not in the short term.
We don't believe that all of these were toe-dippers or market-testers. New construction, in particular, is always a shock when it drops out of the public market.

As we must, always, we note that any of these recent MLS-quitters could come back. And if they do, they'll likely try to hide their history. So now you know a part of the backstory, hoping that this helps you, too.


The day this story was published, another dropout occurred – 341 10th, a South End walkstreet home that had been trying to sell for most of 5 months. Began at $3.3m, canceled at $2.799m.

Also we learned that 224 31st (pictured and mentioned above) has become a "pocket listing" for Blake & Diana Roberts, albeit a pocket listing that's now posted online. The home is offered at essentially the same price – $4.599m – but also for rent at $12k/mo.

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