Sand Section Half Lot Updates

By Dave Fratello | November 5th, 2013

It's been about 7 weeks since we took a look at a few (then) new listings offering back-to-back half lots and the promise of, perhaps, combining those for full-lot redevelopment.

In "2 Times a Half Is a Lot," we mentioned the listings for 424 24th St. ($999K - pictured) and 425 23rd Place ($929K). 

We said the existing homes "aren't ghastly, but they're dated," with the 24th St. house at just 1100 sq. ft., and the alley home on 23rd place weighing in at a whopping 500 square feet inside. (Our apologies for the botched "weighing in" metaphor. Where's the coffee?)

Each listing pointed to the other, beckoning buyers to grab the whole lot. But at list price, that would be $1.928M before the planning stage. And the frontage of the lot on busy 24th St., overlooking the elementary school's blacktop playground, along with the lack of ocean views, seemed to make it even less likely that someone would really move to combine these lots to build a maxed-out dream home.

Both sales have now come in:

We took particular note of the sale price of the 23rd Place home. There was a similar back alley half-lot sale from 421 32nd Place that closed back in May this year at $825K. The home there was a very similar, tiny, original cottage, just 725 sq. ft. (In that case, the listing shot way too high at the start, $1.299M.) This one came in $130K higher.

What we believed at the outset proved to be true: The properties were priced too high to be attractive as a combined purchase, and the future at each one will be set independently by new owners. No merger here.

We're still waiting for one of the other sales mentioned in that prior post to wrap up.

That would be 128 18th St., offered as a single property but is actually, legally, 2 separate half lots. (For now.)

OK, focus now. 100 block. Close to down. Ocean views from front and back.

That one was going to be rich.

The sellers thought so, and shot high, asking $4.150M.

That's not the lot value, unless simple scarcity drives the buyers wild. They made a deal quickly, so we'll see where it ends up.

Finally, after that post went up, we saw a new combination of half lots hit the market.

Those are 124 17th (pictured – asking $1.499M), with frontage on the awesome 17th St. walkstreet, and 125 16th Place (asking $1.700M), its companion back unit on the alley.

Now, "half" lot doesn't quite accurately describe either one. The 17th St. property offers 1500 sq. ft. of land, while the back unit gets 1200 sq. ft., with the advantage of alley access. As we said of 124 17th in a "Sunday Opens" post:

This home is on the frontmost 1500 sq. ft. of what would be a 2700 sq. ft. lot, officially separate from the 1200 sq. ft. lot behind it, and therefore "landlocked." There's no garage, parking or alley access, and no prospect of that any time soon. The lot is also precluded, we're told, from being joined with the smaller lot on the alley thanks to a deed restriction.

With no parking, the city won't let you build much bigger than the existing home, though in theory you could rebuild new to the same (small) size.

Basically, what you see is what you get – a fresh and cozy little 1936 original with updates, including a very nice kitchen, and one good-size bedroom and another on the small side.

Let's be clear: Combining those asking prices and paying $3.200M for the combined lot(s) would look like a steal, given the location.

But if you can't combine the lots, how to value each one becomes much more confounding.

As we write, the "landlocked" cottage up front has just made a deal. That restricted back unit – not yet. These will be interesting to see as they settle out.


Disclosure: Dave has toured 124 17th with clients.

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