Sunday Opens (9/7)

By Dave Fratello | September 6th, 2008
September is a kind of second Spring for real estate listings.

If you don't get your listing out by early-to-mid-Summer, you hold back till after Labor Day. So we're starting to see more new stuff this round, at last. We also have the first Mrs. MBC pick in quite a while.

We're asking MBC readers who visit these homes to also report back. Tell us what you see, what you like, what you don't like, what you'd change if you owned a particular home, and so on. Use the comments here to discuss the homes we've highlighted.

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

Also, we'll note that many listings that debuted last weekend are open again this weekend – see our summary of last week's offerings for more. (See "Weekend Opens (8/30-8/31).")

Hill Section

918 10th has been around since late April, and rarely, if ever, posted as open in the Beach Reporter. (They skipped the traditional public viewings and went for this snazzy, jazzy website instead.)

The early-90s home offers 5br/5ba, 4475 sq. ft. with a fully updated kitchen. The location, on a flat street east of Poinsettia, has more in common with the Tree Section's suburban vibe than the estate-home, ocean-view parts of the hills. The lot's large, at 9000 sq. ft., affording a pretty nice back yard.

This week's print ad in the BR makes a bold prediction:
The Hill is Selling! This incredible home is next to go!
Oh, the dangers of predicting... Now priced at $2.999m ($-201k off start). Open Sun. 2-4pm.

Sand Section

Mrs. MBC finally has that tingly feeling again and she's ready to make a pick. It's 424 5th, a sweet vintage beach cottage on a flat South End walk street with enough indoor/outdoor living space for the whole family.

The space is a pleasant surprise – 4br/3ba, a bit more than 1900 sq. ft. There's also a nicely appointed roof deck. Of the location, the listing language raves:
Centrally located, just steps to the beach, downtown and Robinson Elementary, this location has it all!!
Well, sure this listing says that – the listing agents live nearby.

The start price is $2.399m, which will be interesting to watch.

Consider a fairly comparably sale from last year – 544 4th, about the same size and vintage (and also quite cute), which netted $1.6m in March 2007. Big location difference – 544 4th is not on a walkstreet, though that section of 4th, near Valley, gets very little traffic. OK, but that sale was in the heady days of last Spring's rally, and it was $800k less. There haven't been many old-timers offered in the area since. Open Sun. 1-4pm.

704 Highland presents the question: Did you know they were still flipping houses these days?

If you recognize the address, yes, this home sold recently – in early June for $1.199m. At the time it was dated, crusty, prominently featuring peeling paint and a yuk interior. We were thinking this fixer would find an ambitious owner-user. But no – in came a flipper.

It's superclean and tidy now, 3 months later. Offered at $1.549m (+$349k/+29%) and open Sun. 2-4pm.

215 S. Valley hasn't been open much since it debuted in July. (Click here for more of our review from then.) It's very pricey for a 4br/3ba, 2500 sq. ft. home that needs all kinds of updating. The home is at the corner of Valley and Francisco (hello, school traffic), and borders the fields at Robinson School (huge back yard!). Still priced at $1.650m. Open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

Two listings catch our eyes this weekend because they've got the same owners. Neighboring 668 19th and 672 19th are both up on offer this week.

A while back, MBC focused on the smaller, less desirable of the two – 672 19th – which the owners of 668 19th had bought as their "guest house" 2 years ago. (See "Be Their Guest.")

That experiment was short-lived.

Beginning in March 2008, the owners tried to profit nearly $250k on 672 19th, asking $1.789m.

It's now "new" 2 weeks after that listing canceled, now priced at $1.599m – just a tad above the $1.550m off-market purchase price from March 2006.

668 19th is a whole different story. Here is a large 8-year-old home with 5br/5ba, 3650 sq. ft. on a larger 5200 sq. ft. lot. (You'll note that the owners are into their bold paint colors in both houses.)

The large size, plus the out-of-the-way, near-to-downtown location are pluses here, but there is this problem... The start price of $2.75m seems dramatically out of line with the current market. Both are open Sun. 1-4pm.

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