Sunday Opens (4/27/14)

By Dave Fratello | April 27th, 2014

We continue to see an uptick in inventory that's more than welcome here in MB.

The total of available SFR and TH options citywide hit 66 as of Sunday morning, well over the 50 listings we "dreamed" of only last month. At this moment last year, inventory was in the low 30s.

There were 13 new listings in just the past 7 days, more than half in the Tree Section, a good trend for buyers who'd like to see choices before they jump into the next bidding war. We could not quite get to or write up all of this week's new options, but we cover several in this post.

We'll have our Farmhouse listing open today (Sunday) at 743 29th from 1:00-4:00pm. These open houses have been busy affairs. We hope you'll come by and see this extraordinary property for yourself – while you can.

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

Don't forget, when previewing homes here on MB Confidential, you can click "Open All Images" right above the main listing photo to get immediate display of all the listing photos at once.

Tree Section

2301 Walnut (4br/3ba, 3600 sq. ft.) is a larger-than-normal 1990-built home that's been given a nearly complete, head-to-toe refurbishment to bring it into today.

Sure, the split-level arrangement is a bit of a dated feature, and you'll find artifacts of the 80s/90s here and there, but in general this is a very open, bright home that feels current.

The first floor features a formal living room with high ceilings and lots of light, formal dining, a tucked-away spare bedroom and open kitchen with breakfast area, opening to the big (sunken) family room. The flow is great and gives everyone somewhere to go while keeping the family close. There's a little deck stepping down to a smallish yard with grass.

Upstairs, the master is spacious with high ceilings and a little sitting room/office in a separate space. The two other bedrooms upstairs are of decent size.

Everything has been freshly repainted and new flooring installed – dark wood on the common areas, new carpet elsewhere – and everything is staged to show best. It's worth noting that the master and kitchen are nicely dressed, but could be taken up a notch to make them truly modern – an investment that would be worth it.

2301 Walnut starts at $2.295M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2812 Elm (4br/4ba, 2875 sq. ft.) is a custom, shingled remodel with an open kitchen and nice little yard.

It looks better now than it did in 2010 – when it was last on the market as a short sale – though mostly the improvements since then are cosmetic.

The layout of the 4br is the part that's hardest to wrap one's head around. Upstairs is the master and, on a split level also upstairs, is a second bedroom. But the remaining 2br are in different spots on the first floor – one opening via double French doors to the living room, now showing as an office, and another tucked in back just off the kitchen.

It's a comfy place once you adjust to the layout. It's coming out at an opportune time, because it's hard to find a 4br west of Sepulveda – in whatever configuration – under $2M these days. They're starting well shy of that at $1.799M.

2812 Elm starts at $1.799M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

3213 Walnut (4br/3ba, 1860 sq. ft.) is a recent remodel that puts everything on one level – albeit one level off an entry that requires climbing some stairs. 

If you saw this one in 2010, when it was last on the market, be prepared for something different. Then it was 3br with a side office space. They've reconfigured walls to create a bona fide bedroom there.

There's still a cozy formal living area at the entry, and big kitchen/great room in back opening to the sizable back patio. Getting that open concept feeling into a 1960s original was a smart remodel by prior owners. We liked the tweak to the kitchen they have made here recently to add built-in booth seating for casual dining.

The backyard is mostly paved. Raised planters around that area now sport grass, though you wouldn't exactly have kids jumping up there to play soccer. There's quite a bit of space for a sunny, grassy yard if you want to do a little work. 

Quirk: The master bath mirror sports googly eyes and a cartoonish, etched smiley face. We assumed this was new, perhaps scrawled by a mischievous child on the morning of the brokers' open, but in fact, it's shown in photos of the 2010 listing also. Looks like it comes with the house.

3213 Walnut starts at the same price as somewhat larger 2812 Elm, $1.799M, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

512 12th (3br/3ba, 2300 sq. ft.) is right near downtown and has the very nice feature of a large back deck for true indoor/outdoor living off the common areas upstairs.

The 3br are on the middle (entry) level, with the master up front looking over the Metlox development. The 2br in back share a hallway bath that's been nicely redone.

The spacious upstairs living areas and big deck are the main draw. This truly uses the whole expanse of the 90' lot and delivers an open, flowing feeling that is rare to find in general, even more rare this near to town and beach.

Across the board, this home is not in very different condition from when it last traded in 2009 (for $1.605M). Mainly we saw different carpet and bold paint colors – call these design differences, rather than anything structural. But the kitchen and master bath show nicely even without a very recent reboot. They were nice in '09.

You can readily compare this home to the recent sale at $1.979M at 500 14th (3br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft.), just 2 blocks over and also on a corner lot fronting Ardmore. That one had a much less conventional layout, with bedrooms mixed up and downstairs, and it lacked anything like the big outdoor deck that seems to be so central to the appeal of 512 12th, but it did sizzle with a hot new modern remodel.

512 12th starts at $2.100M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2100 Palm (4br/2ba, 1630 sq. ft.) is very dated and is probably most compelling as a lot sale.

The location, midblock on sweet Palm Ave. is going to be a big draw. The 45' wide lot is a plus not found in most parts of the Trees, not even common on this block of Palm. (Typical would be 40'.)

We've seen plenty of big numbers on lot sales recently. The suggested retail price here of $1.695M for an A-plus location and 4950 sq. ft. lot – with that bonus extra width – does not seem to overshoot the market as we've seen it recently. (See "Another High for Tree Section Dirt.")

Now, could you take the existing house, with its awkward side entry, enormous, 2-sided brick fireplace, small master and even smaller secondary bedrooms, and somehow reconfigure it, or add onto it, and wind up with a nice place? No doubt some will contemplate that, also. But we'd still bet on the 'dozers.

2100 Palm starts at $1.695M and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

Sand Section

225 20th Place (3br/3ba, 1575 sq. ft.) is a smallish 1980s Spanish TH that has been nicely refreshed inside. Its views are partly "borrowed," meaning some of the most compelling ocean views to the south and west are at risk when/if some of the neighbors build up.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in this one is the large amount of garage space – 3 spots inside, plus a bonus room and storage room. Upon first touring, we wondered at first why all 3 bedrooms were together (and on the small side) on the middle level, with nothing on the first level. This was the answer – the builders realized this home was at the beach and that people have both cars and stuff to store. So they didn't skimp on the design here, allowing you to live in cozier quarters above and shuck the extra stuff downstairs.

The master bath and kitchen have the most compelling, recent remodels. The master shower has a modern spa vibe with a double-wide shower, all glass enclosure, sharp graphite-color tile and pondstone flooring. Upstairs, the kitchen got a similarly modern look, with sharp granite, white cabinets and stainless appliances – maybe not a "Spanish" look, but very clean.

This is just about the only new listing recently west of Highland with some views, and the $1.6-ish start price hasn't been seen on a classy TH in a while.

225 20th Place starts at $1.649M and is open Sun. 1-3pm.

Hill Section

828 Highview (3br/2ba, 2080 sq. ft., 8960 sq. ft. lot) has a nice old 1940s cottage on it, but this one is clearly being seen as a lot sale. 

The corner lot along 9th/Highview is nearly 75' wide and ranges from 108' to 122' deep, with a slight trapezoidal shape to it. The neighbors to the west (view) side are all modern and built up, so you would be able to get a picture of the potential second-floor views by climbing up to the top of the roof of the existing house. (We were invited, but declined.)

They're marketing this one as the rarity it is, nearly one of the last corner view lots in the Hills.

The start at $6.350M seems ambitious, but then again, what they've got here is what many buyers say they want in the Hill Section and cannot find. And you should never underestimate buyers' desire – at this level – to build exactly what they want, not take what someone else already has.

There are two very nearby sales recently that would come into consideration.

At 724 10th, a 90s Southwestern on a 10,505 sq. ft. lot, sold one month ago (off-market) for $5.630M, or $700K less. Our information is that this was a lot sale, which makes sense because the existing home does not really capture its potential views well. This house is one block away from 828 Highview.

Meantime, a fully built, newer (2005) house at 620 8th (6br/7ba, 7250 sq. ft.) sold in early March for $6.950M. (Dave's clients bought it.) That one has a 10,000 sq. ft. lot and very good views, given the way the hill drops down from the front to the back of the lot. Also, there are no power poles around 620 8th, while they are in view at 828 Highview. 620 8th is also about a block from 828 Highview.

828 Highview starts at $6.350M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

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