Summer Wrapup, Part II

By Dave Fratello | September 7th, 2011
You went away for the Summer and wondered: When am I ever going to catch up on what happened in Manhattan Beach real estate?

Worry not. We've got your back. The Cliff's Notes, Part II:


2315 Alma from space, looking west. 319 23rd Place is at the top.
Package Deal on Alma – Maybe the biggest opportunity purchase of the year in the Sand happened this Summer, with the equivalent of 3 contiguous lots on Alma selling together for $4.031m. Wow.

It helped that 2 lots were already part of 2315 Alma; another, just down the slope from those, had the legal address of 319 23rd.

Alma's great because it's the crest of the hill and gets the best views. Buy your neighbor to the west, and you'll never be blocked. On the site, you'll soon see a big SFR sprout – development of a kind you might expect to see more in the Hill Section rather than in this densely packed area by the beach. Referenced in "And a Sand Overbid."

Big Markup Over '04 Price – A shock of a different sort struck us upon the sale of 319 S. Poinsettia in the Hill Section.

Yes, it's a big (6br/6ba, 4825 sq. ft.), beautiful, newer Craftsman, but $2.495m seemed very steep – especially for a location along Boundary Place.

The markup over the 2004 acquisition price ($2.137m) was curious. Did the home really appreciate in value by 17% (+$357k) over these years? Aren't lots of sellers now just getting their 2004 prices?

When we saw that the buyers had used the listing agent to represent them, too, it seemed clear what had happened. See "A Big Markup Over '04."

Big Off-Market Sale818 9th (5br/7ba, 6730 sq. ft., on a 10,000+ sq. ft. lot) was a major eye-opener with an off-market sale at $6.8m that posted in April, but was reported at MBC in June. See "Some Off-Market Deals."

Granted, the "Summer" tie here is only to MBC's reporting – though we've been told repeatedly by local agents that the sale was unknown until we surfaced it. But there's another reason we're mentioning it. Something bigger did happen this Summer in the Hills, and this becomes more of a placeholder, a teaser if you will. When the new deal closes we'll have lots more to say.


Some sellers look to the Summer as their solution. People will flock into MB from out of town, tour the local real estate, and decide after a busy beach day to make it home. That's the concept anyway.

But for some sellers, nothing at all changed this Summer.

Stalled Out on Palm –  One of the Tree Section's longest-running listings, 1801 Palm, has been a head-scratcher for months. As we noted in "Can Palm Turn the Corner?," the home's big, newer, in a good location on a prime street and really has most of what buyers want.

The listing will soon complete 6 months on tour, currently at $2.129m – more than 8% below its 2004 purchase price ($2.325m).

Hey, we thought people were getting 17% markups over 2004!

Failure to Unload – One of the oddest tales of a local listing involves 861 10th, a Hill Section Craftsman that's now on its third listing since being acquired in June 2010.

The buyers/owners/sellers had an immediate change of plans after taking title, and thus far have failed to pass it along. They paid $2.635m very soon after the 2010 listing began, but are now at $2.449m, with no takers yet, nearing 350 official DOM — even if you only see 18 DOM on the public sites. (The new/old listing agent – who repped the buyer, then tried to sell it, lost the listing and got it back – reset the clock, of necessity, in taking over last month.)

112 20th still asks $4.895m
20th St. Blues – What could be wrong with 20th St. west of Highland?

Nothing, really, but 2 sellers on the lower end of the block seem to be sharing Kool-Aid while ignoring the market's wisdom.

At 112 20th, right along Ocean Ave., they want $4.895m for an interesting, classically styled Cape Cod that is 20 years old and, while sweet in its ways, just won't wow the buyers looking at that price point. Now in its 8th month, the listing got a DOM reset for Summer but has never seen a price change.

128 20th
Meantime, 128 20th (5br/5ba, 4600 sq. ft.) is a giant home with good views but way, way too much of its own style – sorry, it's a "sophisticated showpiece" (listing).

They've been waiting a long time for the perfect buyer: 461 DOM at this writing. This Summer they made one cut to $3.985m – basically $4m – still a big premium for a house most buyers would want to rework.

Other Interesting Sales

406 Anderson
Speckie Waits It Out – The recent sale of a newer (2009) Hill Section Cape Cod at 406 Anderson for $3.2m had a back story, as we discussed in "Patience a Virtue."

The big (5br/4ba, 4500 sq. ft.) beaut had first hit the market in January 2009, when no one was buying almost anything – certainly not top-dollar RE at $3.699m, the start price.

Though the listing had cut to $2.999m at one point while seeking buyers, this year it sold almost immediately for more. In between, we hear the builder lived in the place. Not bad as a fallback strategy.

421 26th
Stolen Sand Shortie – "Lower the price and blow it out." That was what the lienholder on 421 26th said, and action resulted.

The fairly big (3br/3ba, 2900 sq. ft.), late-70s "contemporary" sold short for $1.240m. There's work to be done, for sure, on this home that once graced the Sophisticated Snoop tour in its earliest days.

But that price looks pretty decent for the location and square footage – and we can't wait to see how they revive the place. See "Shortie Gets Stolen."

217 Seaview
Seaview REO Succeeds – We've chronicled the travails of 217 Seaview over the years. First, someone paid too much for a duplex in need of a re-do, then asked too much to trade the rehabbed product. They tried a lease-option, short sale and then, ultimately, Seaview became an REO.

When the REO price was higher than last year's short-sale price, we asked: "Can An REO Fail?" One deal was made and broken this Summer, but finally, title changed hands, the REO didn't fail, and now someone new gets Seaview for the relative bargain price of $900k.

Yes, that was $51k above the short-sale offering last year. And it was less than the $945k paid in Nov. 2004 before all the work was done. That $1.520m sale you may see in 2007 – an MLS ghost, a falsity, a leftover from the flopped lease-option agreement. Time has washed away almost all of the troubles except for that artifact.

Pure Fun

Enjoy the Blue – In early August, we set off, video camera (iPhone) in hand to see which of 3 active listings had the best ocean views. Take the tour with us, enjoy the views and the breezes. See "A View of the Blue." We may drag that one out again during some February rainstorm, too.

Coupon Clippers – When we saw a $50.00 price cut – yes, 50 bucks – on a lingering listing, we had some fun with it. (Maybe too much, as one acerbic commenter suggested.)

We wondered aloud: How does one decide to make such a minuscule cut?

The result: MBC's first screenplay-form post. See "Inside a Tiny Cut."

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