Sand TH Bulge

By Dave Fratello | September 14th, 2011
If you know MBC, we've been pretty light on coverage of 2 things: 1) Manhattan Beach east of Sepulveda, and 2) townhomes west of Sepulveda. That's how it started here, and it's hard to break a habit – and hard to add more work.

But we've been slipping in the THs here and there, particularly new listings, over the past several months. That was very evident this past weekend, when 3 new TH listings in the Sand consumed the whole of our "Weekend Opens" feature for the Sand.

Seeing 3 new entries come in between $1.65-$1.8m reminded us of something we'd heard around town, that the market for 1.6-ish townhomes had been both loaded and soft this year. 

So here's a first look at the market options in that range today. We'll look at sales in 2011 separately.

As we write, there are 13 current offerings in the $1.599m-$1.849m range. Most aren't very long in the tooth, so that cuts against the notion of a stalled-out market segment. Here's what we find today, in price order:

229 Seaview
229 Seaview (3br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.) is a newer (2006) TH near the top of the hill in El Porto Norte, one door off Highland.

We called this "a splendid execution of a traditional TH layout" in a post that also showed off the ocean views with video footage. (See "A View of the Blue.")

This one's up at $1.599m

320 24th Place (3br/3ba, 1700 sq. ft.) is a strapping 2005-built TH with some ocean views that happens to be built on an alley. (With a TH, there's about a 30% chance that's what you'll get.) Started at $1.649m in April, now at $1.599m at 150+ DOM.

436 23rd (3br/4ba, 2470 sq. ft.) is the new listing we called the "front runner" among just the new THs from the weekend, and you have to like their chances, starting with that big, big feel and extra square footage, plus a $1.649m start price.

220 21st Place
220 21st Place (3br/4ba, 1800 sq. ft.) offers big ocean views in a newer (2004), elegant TH. It's up at $1.699m and into its 3rd month.

Worth noting: The equally sized neighbor to the immediate west, 216 21st Place, clean and attractive but 10 years older and less elaborate, is now up at $1.399m.
3101 Vista (3br/4ba, 2350 sq. ft.) is nearly the biggest TH we've mentioned so far, and perhaps the most luxe of the bunch. It's located up behind Alma, getting some ocean peeks down the street, but you basically are where you are. Now at $1.699m after a start $70k higher in July.

3016 Highland
3016 Highland (4br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.) is a snazzy, 11-year old, detached building with great views. The high-ceilinged top level is split, with the high-end kitchen/casual eating area popped up to get views of its own.

Despite its spectacular qualities, this one's had a hard time locking in a deal, running 4 months last summer and 6 months this year. Currently at $1.699m. Last traded in July 2006 for $1.9m.

233 1st (4br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.) is the first of 3 THs in the South End we can discuss here.

Though that 233 address may indicate to you that it's on Highland, not to worry so much here. It's the second unit, west of the unit that's actually on Highland, rendering the street nearly a non-factor. (Additionally, Highland in the South End is much less busy than Manhattan Ave.)

The views are a real prize, looking south over homes in Hermosa and capturing PV, Catalina and a lot more blue than you might expect, even directly west. The top-floor living space is bright and ample and drinks in those views. Of those 4 bedrooms, 3 are together on the midlevel, but 2 are quite small – you might knock down a wall to make a big bedroom instead. The master bath is also average in size, not what you might see in a major master suite.

233 1st is up at $1.699m.

3101 Alma
3101 Alma (3br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.) has been hanging around for 7 months at $1.7m.

It's a newer TH (2006) with some ocean peeks. The style's fairly elaborate. We haven't seen it, but we note that an agent review on the Redfin version of the listing says the master is small.

2405 Bayview (2br/3ba, 1975 sq. ft.) is another newer entry that we covered this past weekend, calling it "clearly the hardest case of the bunch" due to its mere 2br and the building's overall condition inside and out. It does have a "giant asset" – huge ocean views from an older (1983) building that exceeds height limits for new construction.

2405 Bayview is at $1.749m, but it won't sell near there. 

812 Highland
812 Highland (3br/3ba, 2175 sq. ft.) is a newer (2004), detached front unit near downtown with good views and a little grassy yard/patch.

The big front deck on the top level is a big attraction, as is the overall quality and décor (as a bonus). The unit sold new in 2004 for either $1.7m (MLS) or $1.550m (public records); tax records show 2 sales within weeks of each other. The more recent trade was in March 2008, after the bell had rung but some folks were still itching to pay too much, for $1.950m.

After a start near $1.85m it's now up at $1.749m, entering the second month on market.

2517 Bayview (3br/3ba, 2050 sq. ft.) is a 1996 build) with nice ocean and park views (near Bruce's Beach). As we noted this past weekend, it's got 2 bedrooms on the lowest level, sharing a little patio, with a master on the midlevel and the living up top. Though it's 15 years old, very little cries out for an urgent upgrade, except parts of the kitchen. Up now at $1.799m.

3305 Vista
3305 Vista (4br/4ba, 2725 sq. ft.) is the rear unit of a 2-fer up in the northern part of town, but somehow they claim (and show) ocean views. The bulk of the home faces east, making that impossible, but the top-floor deck on the west side must pick up something over the rooftops. Count us skeptical, since the one ocean-view pic included seems to be taken from the roofline.

The 2001 build is the largest, by quite a bit, of the THs we're discussing here. It was originally marketed in 2001 as "Italian flavored" and "contemporary," which is to say more Milan than Tuscany. They now just call it "contemporary."

This one traded for $980k new in early 2002, for $1.550m in November 2006 and now looks for another step up (yes, over '06) to $1.8m.

617 Crest
617 Crest (3br/4ba, 2230 sq. ft.) is the last of the 3 THs in the South End that made this cut, an electrifying remodel that we once called "the answer if your question is: What's the most you can do to a late-90s townhome?"

That's because it's been radically overhauled and modernized, with great flooring, modern baths and a giant kitchen island. The unit already had ocean views off a corner (these we have actually seen) despite being the rear unit on Crest – away from Highland. 

The same TH was offered last year at $2.1m but is up now at $1.849m.

UPDATE: As we finished this post, 617 Crest was posted in escrow. Had we gone live before lunch, the story would have been different.

That's our review of current TH's in this price segment. There are some above and below the $1.6-$1.8ish range, to be sure. But that's another post, isn't it?

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