Some Off-Market Deals

By Dave Fratello | June 16th, 2011
It's usually straightforward to analyze local RE market activity by looking at what's publicly listed and traded.

But behind the scenes, there is a decent amount of off-market sales activity these days as well. It's harder to pin down what's on offer or to track closings, but we'll try to do this more here at MBC.

"Pocket" listings or off-market offerings often represent less-serious sellers who will sell for their price or just stay put. Pockets get a bad rap because they're so frequently priced unrealistically or not marketed well.

Yet there are plenty of exceptions, especially these days. Take a peek at a few recent closings:

2105 Palm (3br/3ba, 2335 sq. ft., 5700+ sq. ft. lot) began as a pocket listing in March, with a suggested price of $1.45m or so. (These things aren't tracked formally, of course.)

The home is called a "[c]harming home in need of updating" in the MLS entry, which was created after a buyer was found.

There are layout issues and such, but check out the location. You can't argue much with the description of this as "one of the best blocks of the tree section." There's an A grade, plus or minus, for the plot.

Palm closed in late May for $1.428m. Seems that the initial price "suggestion" wasn't far off at all – so much for "overpriced pocket listings."

417 5th (5br/4ba, 3625 sq. ft.) is a newer (2004), quality-built South End walkstreet home that nabbed a premium price in an off-market sale in mid-May.

Brand new in late 2004, the Cape Cod sold immediately for more than the asking price ($2.795m) at $2.950m

Last month, the home resold, without fanfare, for $3.350m – yes, a markup of almost 14% over a late-2004 price.

On the flat walkstreets, you pay. For an off-market offering, you pay.

Remember that a brand-new home, a high-end build also, at 440 7th,  went last month for $3.660m. See "Cheap Dirt, Pricey Walkstreet House." It was marketed quietly and privately, like 2105 Palm, but it found a buyer and was reported on the MLS after selling.

And then there are the granddaddies of the off-market sales so far this year.

We have already noted the sale of 1800 The Strand in March for $12.250m, the highest price paid this year in MB, and quite possibly the highest ever for a single-lot property in MB. (See "A Tale of Two Strand Titans.")

The Hill Section also recently made its mark.

818 9th (5br/7ba, 6730 sq. ft., on a 10,000+ sq. ft. lot) is a 2004 custom build, on land purchased for $2m in 2002. (You're going to see that this looks like a steal for the dirt back then.)

It's obviously a very big Cape Cod-inspired home, with a position pretty near the crest of the hill above Pacific. The alley to the west, plus the downslope of the hill, would afford good views from the second floor, but we haven't seen those to evaluate them.

818 9th sold in mid-April for $6.8m off-market, with the buyer – a licensed agent – working the deal himself.

Though the Hill is one of MB's prestige areas, there's only one MLS-reported sale that's been for more money since January 2000: 700 8th (5br/5ba, 4925 sq. ft.), a nearby home on a comparable 9950 sq. ft. lot. (Pictured.)

That one went for $6.9m in Sept. 2008 (see our post, "Levitating," from then) before a major remodel began. (Sorry to say, the Redfin entry's a mess, with no pics and a confused reference to a $2m sale in March last year.)

A tantalizing hint: We're told that the sale at 818 9th, impressive as it is near $7m, may not hold that top slot in the Hills this year for long.


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