Sales Activity for Nov./Dec.

By Dave Fratello | December 23rd, 2008
Regular readers know that we typically publish MB Market Updates twice monthly. Our November sheets were posted, as usual, but only one story about inventory referenced them.

We’re now into December and our 12/15/08 update is now available for download here, or by using the link in the upper-right corner of the front page at any time. We have kept the 11/30/08 update posted as well, for reference.

After a quick inventory update, we’ll look at sales activity for November and the first half of December. A little further analysis of the submarkets west of Sepulveda will follow late this week.

First things first: a quick inventory correction. Our final count for Dec. 15 was 121, not the 123 we reported previously. This was still 2 higher than the end-November total, a surprising development in this month. The mid-October update saw the high for 2008 at 124. (See “A Li’l Uptick,” now revised.)

How active was our market over the past 6 weeks? We saw a total of 14 sales (new escrows) that have stuck, including 9 in November and 5 so far in December.

So, on average, that is a tad better than 2 deals per week west of Sepulveda. Well, we already knew that the "4th Quarter [Is] Often Quietest."

The list of deals from these past 6 weeks is easy enough to provide in total. Here they are, in order of month, then closed price or last list price.

November – New Escrows

All but one of the new deals in November was in the Tree Section. The non-Tree sale was probably the deal of the year, up in the Hills (last on this list).
  • 2907 Pacific (pictured) (3br/2ba, 1900 sq. ft.) – last at $1.099m after almost 6 months on market; the listing canceled off the MLS but we have word it’s in escrow and almost a wrap;
  • 2622 Pacific (3br/3ba, 2300 sq. ft.) – last at $1.299m (see closed sale info below);
  • 1948 Ardmore (3br/2ba, 2000 sq. ft.) – drew quick interest and sold within a week; it was at $1.240m;
  • 2601 Walnut (pictured) (3br/2ba, 1925 sq. ft.) – was at $1.329m, has closed for $1.323m (after Dec. 15);
  • 2408 Walnut (5br/4ba, 3100 sq. ft.) – a new home that began at $2.289m and closed in December 10% down at $2.062m;
  • 659 31st (4br/3ba, 3175 sq. ft.) – a rehab-and-flip on one of MBC’s “Great Streets” in the Trees; not a hugely profitable flip, though – sellers paid $1.950m and got their $2.189m asking within a few days, closing in December;
  • 3307 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 3250 sq. ft.) – the Cape Cod of the Twins in the Trees, last at $2.195m, a full $600k off the start;
  • 1801 John (pictured) (5br/4ba, 4000 sq. ft.) – a gorgeous, remodeled home on a corner lot, last at $2.675m; and
  • 808 Highview (5br/5ba, 4575 sq. ft.) – the only Hill Section sale here, which saw an all-cash offer and a quick escrow that closed in late November at $3.6m, a big discount of $1.65m (-31%) from start, and not all that big of a markup over the Dec. 2002 purchase price of $3.1m (see “High Up, But Below Trend”) – this could be the deal of the year.

December – New Escrows

The mix of 5 sales here is interesting – a short sale, 2 lot sales and 2 new homes (neighbors directly across an alley) that took big cuts:
  • 629 36th (pictured) (4br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is one of a few short sales in the neighborhood, a flawed home close to Blanche and Rosecrans, but who can resist a bargain? The PPSF is just $400 at $1.399m (including the guest quarters in the square footage); this listing can still be viewed via Redfin while it is in “backup offer” status;
  • 1900 Laurel – a larger-than-normal 6000 sq. ft. corner lot in a great location in the Trees sold quickly after listing for $1.499m – an indication of some health in the market where prime dirt is concerned;
  • 128 6th – a standard 2700 sq. ft. lot that found its third buyer this Fall, and finally cinched a deal after 2 failed escrows; a noted agent/developer picked it up and closed the deal Dec. 3, but we don’t have a price yet – last at $2.9m, after a start in August at $3.5m; you can estimate a sale price of about $2.7m based on the loan; and
  • 221 34th (pictured) and 220 35th are both brand-new moderns and both appear to be good or great deals for the buyers – 34th has been around much of 2008, starting at $5.4m and moving down about $2m lower to make a deal; 35th moved quickly from $5m to about $4m to complete the handshake (see “Deals in the North End”).
Those are the deals that have remained solid or have closed. We did not see too many failed escrows in this period, but we don’t have a total.

Here are the sales that closed over the past 6 weeks, again, ordered by month and price.

November – Closed Sales

Citywide (not just west of Hwy. 1), MB saw just 11 SFR sales close in November, an all-time low.
Of those, we saw 6 close west of Sepulveda. One was 808 Highview (see above). There’s space to list the other 5 (in order of closed price):
  • 1807 Highland, a dated home on a half lot (possibly tear-down) got $1m even, a drop of 13% from start;
  • 2905 Valley (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.) came in at $1.052m, just $47k off (-4%) its most recent start, and $187k (-15%) off its start earlier this year;
  • 2622 Pacific (pictured) (3br/3ba, 2300 sq. ft.) took $1.215m, a bit off its $1.299m asking – this from the third set of buyers this year. (Three is the magic number.) This was a big reality check against last year’s attempt at $1.699m by the same sellers (see "Price War Starting on Pacific?");
  • 913 8th (4br/3ba, 2925 sq. ft.) got $2.091m, a modest 7% off its start at $2.249m and after 2 failed escrows; and
  • 312 S. Dianthus (5br/5ba, 4475 sq. ft.) got $2.6m, fully $890k off (-26%) its start at $3.490m and even further below its mid-listing boosted price of $3.749m (see “It Pays to be Flexible”).

It may be worth noting here that both of our November lists (new escrows and closed sales) end with significant chops in the Hill Section.

December – Closed Sales

Among the 4 sales to close in December so far, 2 were referenced above: 2408 Walnut and 659 31st. The other 2:
  • 220 19th (pictured) (5br/4ba, 4325 sq. ft.) went like a gorgeous west-of-Highland walkstreet home is supposed to go, netting nearly $5m after just a few months on offer; the closed price of $4.850m is just 7% off the start at $5.250m – lesson: it helps to be near downtown; and
  • 2305 Pacific (4br/4ba, 2825 sq. ft.) an average, peculiar remodel, grabbed $1.3m, or 15% off the start at $1.525m; at $460/PSF, that’s the lowest PPSF in the Trees over the past 6 months.

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