Summer Wrapup, Part I

By Dave Fratello | September 6th, 2011
The loose, languorous days of camps, beach days and out-of-town trips are now fading in the rear-view mirror. In those Summer days now passed, even MBC's most dedicated readers probably missed a post or two while traveling or baking in the sun.

We've decided to look back at some of the Summer's highlights. Here's the first post of two:


Summer's Only Strand Sale: 2920 The Strand
Strand's Troubles – We've spoken of an "epidemic of overpricing" that has plagued the MB beachfront, leading to little actual sales activity. All Summer, despite plenty of offerings, there has been just one Strand sale, at 2908 The Strand, a one-and-a-half-size lot (4550 sq. ft.) that ran just 6 weeks and closed at $7.8m.

We trace the problems to the high launch at 3112 The Strand, which finally quit the market after diving from $6.9m to $5.499m. (It traded off-market at a price they've successfully hidden – for now.)  Some of our updates on the Strand's troubles: "Strand Cuts of Different Scales" and "Strand Beguiling for Some."

Martyrs' Bustle – It was just last week, but we noted that nothing on the Martyrs Hill in the Tree Section seems to last. We even have a new high sale at $4.7m. See "Martys is Hoppin'."

Sales Activity – For the first half of 2011, MB saw more sales and lower median prices (-4%) than over the same period in 2010. That was true both for all of MB and, in a more pronounced way, for SFRs west of Sepulveda only (-7%).

In each case, median prices were a tick higher than in 2009. See "First Half '11: More Sales, Lower Median." 

South Bay Sales - The picture was a bit different when we looked at the whole South Bay for the 3-month period of March-May. For that stretch, the Beach Cities (Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan together) saw slightly lower sales (-2%) but a slightly higher combined median price (+3%). See "South Bay Sales Trends (March-May)."


A sudden rush to buy a few select properties raised the question: Are we back in the era of bidding wars? Not yet, because the few, notable exceptions prove the rule.

3403 Laurel was bid up by 21%
"Tree Section Overbids" discussed one home (3008 Ardmore) priced under $1.2m that sold for $1.3m, and another (3403 Laurel) on a double lot that started far short of $2m but sold above that mark, at $2.111m (+$362k/+21%). 

Meantime, the Sand Section wasn't left out. In what appeared to be a land-value sale, 3120 Alma went from $1.495m to $1.560m, for a larger-than-normal, 3500 sq. ft. corner lot. See "And a Sand Overbid."

Notable Price Cuts & Rewinds

Recent acquisitions aren't faring so well upon resale in 2011, though we suppose you can look at the dips in market value in MB in the bigger picture. Our town is doing better than most.

That said, we consistently see 17-20% drops in value coming from resales of homes purchased from 2004-2008. Here are some from this Summer.

329 19th
Sleek and Short in the Sand329 19th (4br/4ba, 3625 sq. ft.) is a sleek, conceptual modern with good ocean views up above Highland. The home last traded in March 2006 for $2.950m but is up now, short, 19% lower at $2.380m, an approved short-sale price. See "Ocean Views for Less." UPDATE: The list price was cut shortly after this story posted to $2.295.

'05 Purchases Take Hits in 2011 – A beautiful Cape Cod by a name builder suffered a hit of 17% off its 2005 value when it resold this year. 2916 Palm (5br/4ba, 3425 sq. ft.) closed for $2.075m, down from $2.499m way-back-when. That wasn't a short sale, but it appears that the lost equity has triggered one of the newest shorties in the Trees, neighboring 2912 Palm, which previously was offered in tandem with 2916 Palm under the premise that you could raze the rental house to make a big yard.

2304 Poinsettia fell 26% from '05 to '11
Meantime, a short sale at 2304 Poinsettia produced an even more spectacular drop in value: 26% off the '05 price, with a trade at $1.7m, just a little bit above the 2002 acquisition price when the home was new. See "Big Rewinds From '05 Prices."

So Much for That Location Magic – We love that little block of Poinsettia between Valley and 31st, but location didn't protect a recent acquisition from the bubble's pop. 3005 Poinsettia sold quickly back in 2007 for $2.525m, but was unloaded almost as quickly this year for $500k less: $2.025m, or a 20% drop in just 4 years.

A similar 18% drop was seen upon resale of a newer Craftsman on sleepy 29th St, 616 29th, which sold for $2.0m off-market in July. See "Prime Spot, 20% Hit."

Bloom Off the Rose – Near the Craftsman, 742 27th also suffered an 18% drop after a much-discussed (here) 2008 sale above $2m. The recent just-take-the-darn-keys sale at $1.701m came after the home had lost its lovely back yard garden and had generally suffered in the merely 3 years since it was last offered publicly. That's a low price for a big house (4br/4ba, 3550 sq. ft.). See "Close the Books (Again) on 742 27th."

Coming tomorrow: Most Interesting Sales, Who's Lingering, Summer Shockers and Pure Fun.

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