The Townhome That Keeps Selling

By Dave Fratello | July 1st, 2021

A beachy South End townhome with ocean views...

That's a product "everyone" seems to want.

And there's one that just sells and sells and sells.

In the brief, 4-year history of 304 3rd (4br/4ba, 2600 sqft.), the home has traded 4 times:

Nov. 2017: $4.275M

May 2019: $4.600M

Oct. 2019: $4.750M

July 2021: $5.500M

When new in 2017, 304 3rd's $4.275M was the 5th-highest price for a Sand Section townhome (excluding The Strand), and the highest for one located on Highland Ave.

The two 2019 sales were the third- and fourth-highest sales for any Manhattan Beach Sand Section townhomes in 2018-19, and the two highest among resales. (That paired set of sales in 2019 had something to do with a high-end buyer getting the property, then instantly deciding they needed more space.)

The latest sale at $5.500M, which was arranged off-market, is:

* Highest for a resale Sand Section townhome since 2018

* Highest for any townhome on Highland Ave.

* Third-highest among all Sand Section townhomes since late 2019

* Tied for fourth-highest ever off The Strand

* Tied for sixth-highest ever among all Sand Section townhome sales (including The Strand)

One quick conclusion: The market is telling everyone here that we'd like to have more beachy, ocean-view townhomes in the South End, please. If you only give us one option, it needs to be sold and resold in a weird, repeating cycle.

308 Highland Avenue Manhattan Beach CAWell, the market did deliver one seemingly comparable option just last year: 308 Highland (4br/4ba, 2600 sqft.).

This new construction is literally 3 doors down from 304 3rd. (This architectural rendering fails to literally show that there is a neighboring property on the north side.)

The new townhome sold for... wait, guess!

Was it $5M? $5.2?

No, $4.430M in Nov. 2020.

Same size, same basic location, similar style, a good builder behind it... why did it sell lower than the two 2019 trades on 304 3rd, and so far below the current sale?

Well, for one thing, 308 Highland is an interior lot (between two other properties.) The corner lot at 3rd/Highland helps the value for 304 3rd. No neighbor at all, ever, on the north side, more view. (You see why that fakey rendering for 308 Highland is a problem, right?)

Corner location is the easy explanation, but $1.1M worth of explanation?

If you want this sort of product, one of your options is to go knock at the door at 308 Highland. They're reading this right now and thinking, "nice house here, but we could make some serious money if we go downstairs and answer the door."

There are actually about three other buildings along Highland south of the pier that are your other options, if this is the style you like, including one that just traded in 2018.

Maybe one of those sellers will get ambitious and offer up their property.

Otherwise, it could be a long time before 304 3rd becomes available again. Like, at least 6 months, and maybe 2 years or more.

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