Short-Term Holds (Sand)

By Dave Fratello | June 10th, 2008
It is said that you can buy a home in almost any market conditions and you'll be fine if you hold onto it for 5, 7 or 10 years.

If you're not sure you'll be in the home that long, you've got some risk of selling at a loss, in nominal or real terms, if you need to get out sooner.

Such a risk appears higher for today's buyers, as prices soften. But what about people who bought in the last few years? Some bought near the local market peak, no doubt.

Of the 25 resale SFRs on offer today in the Sand Section, more than half (14) were purchased or substantially remodeled by the current owners within the past 3 years.

All are marked up from their acquisition prices, though one (444 33rd Pl.) is barely so at +$29k over its Oct. 2005 price.

Some listings seek large premiums. Not surprisingly, they're also among the better-located of the bunch.

For this analysis, MBC considered 35 active SFRs in the Sand. Of these, 7 are new and 3 are being marketed as teardowns, so we dropped them out. The issue here is resales: If someone acquired and/or spruced up a property recently for sale, how well will they do?

Here is our list, sorted by the amount of time held by the owners. Click any highlighted address for pics & details via Redfin.

For shorthand, we provide the acquisition month and price [if known] in parens, then the current price and markup:

About 1 Year

462 36th Pl.
(Aug. 2007, $760k) – listed at $899,900 (+18%)
317 17th (Nov. 2006, $2.050m) – now at $2.199m (+7%) [began Dec. 2007]

About 2 Years

217 35th Pl. (March 2006, $990k) – now $1.495m (+51%)
468 33rd (May 2006, $2.775m) – now $3.495m (+26%)
1501 Crest (July 2006, $1.368m) – now $1.549m (+13%)
448 27th (2006 remodel) – now $1.899m
3421 Manhattan Ave. (2006 remodel) – now $6.5m

About 3 Years

132 2nd (Apr. 2005, $3.5m) – now at $5.695m (+63%)
2719 Manhattan Ave. (Apr. 2005, $4.3m) – now at $6.275m (+46%)
3607 Bayview (Sept. 2005, $1.2m) – now $1.649m (+37%)
505 3rd (Sept. 2005, $1.6m) – now $1.829m (+14%)
417 28th (Sept. 2005, $2.550m) – now $3.3m (+29%)
444 33rd Pl. (Oct. 2005, $1.260m) – now $1.289m (+2%)
224 31st
(built 2005, assessed at $2.85m+) – now $4.495m
Both of our 1-year holds appear to be misguided flips. 462 36th Pl. is noteworthy for its strangeness (see "A Real Turkey") and poor location. 317 17th began at $2.8m after a year, but that hasn't worked out (see "A $600k Reality Check").

Among the 2-year holds, 468 33rd is a not-so-urgent sale by a pro athlete who faced a job transfer (trade), 3421 Manhattan Ave. (Errol Flynn house) was always meant for sale by the investor/owner (see "Art Deco on Manhattan Ave."), and 448 27th provokes questions because it was recently custom-remodeled to have just 2 real bedrooms, and now invites potential buyers to convert a terrific family room back to a bedroom to make it livable. (Or you can keep the bar in the new bedroom, your choice.)

The would-be big-gainers among the 3-year holds are both on Manhattan Ave. (132 2nd and 2719 Manhattan Ave.), with sellers believing that beach-close properties have gone up in value by nearly half – or more. That segment is warm, if not hot, but both listings appear to be pushing for a new ceiling. At least one could come close – after all, 2nd was initially in escrow for more than $6m, we're told.

The most modest of the 3-year holds are 505 3rd, which just took a hit when comparable, spiffier, neighboring 437 1st closed for $1.610; 444 33rd Pl., which is already flat; and 3607 Bayview – a very pretty remodel accounts for much of that boost.

We'll track these in our regular market updates and in future stories. And if a look at the data for Hill Section or Tree Section listings is interesting, we'll write those up separately.

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