The Year's Quitters

By Dave Fratello | September 25th, 2012
Though 2012 has smelled like a seller's market for much of the year in Manhattan Beach, there's no such thing as 100% success.

We'll take a look at several listings that have quit this year.

Some clearly did not suit the market, some were overpriced, and some just got yanked due to the sellers' own change of circumstances – like not finding anything worth trading up or down to in a low-inventory market. (The math on that would be: No inventory = No sale.)

No doubt we'll see some again next year.

217 9th (3br/3ba, 1725 sq. ft.) didn't surprise us this time.

We've noted before that this modern/green SFR surprised us with its $3.0m sale when new in 2007. We were prepared to be shocked again if it traded this year, but didn't really expect it.

This home residence felt like a small townhome dressed to the nines in hip styling. Size was so small, the downstairs bath was pretty much 100% shower stall, while the upstairs bedrooms had no walls between bed and bath areas. Tight.

Ocean views over downtown rooftops were nice, but not enough to compensate for the alley location and squeeze of space.

It ran 6 months this year at $2.950m, quit in August and eventually was put up for lease.

It looked like there'd be a sensation over 2209 Agnes (4br/3ba, 2700 sq. ft.), given the dreamy Martyrs-area location and a polished-up, if imperfect, home on the site.

It's a remodeled late-1940s rancher with a mishmash of bedrooms – 2 small ones here, a large one there above the living room (with no bath), a good-size master in back with a very dated bath and little closet space. The living spaces include an open kitchen and living room, then a downstairs family room. No yard except the front and side yards, really, on this oddly shaped, triangular lot.

They wanted $1.599m and – as we all know – that's the start of a very busy price range that lacks for inventory. The listing lasted just 3 weeks, drawing a few written offers, but plans changed and they didn't sell.

711 11th St. (5br/6ba, 4400 sq. ft.), in the Hill Section very near town, hung around 6 months despite its many pluses, quitting in late August.
It was last offered at $3.799m, just a tad below the price for which it sold new in 2006 ($3.825m).

The home's got an upside-down layout that makes sense, with lots of light, some ocean views/peeks and an all around gorgeous sensation with treetops and big blue sky mixed with ocean breezes. (Word to the wise: A fully developed neighbor to the west could impede.)

On the first floor, there's an attractive hallway with arches, mosaic tile inlays and a series of french doors to a little grassy area – bright and unique.

It's worth mentioning that much detail because 711 11th is somewhat likely to come back later this year.

That is, provided it is not sold off-market – always a possibility. One to watch for either way.

508 Lars
508 Larsson (5br/6ba, 4680 sq. ft.) is a custom Hill Section home dripping with expensive detail, but suffering from a totally subpar location.

For instance, the glorious little pool and cabana in back have a view of a commercial building on the other side of the fence. Kinda ruins the vibe. (For more see our Aug. 2011 review.)

This one ran well over a year, to 398 combined days on market, without a deal. A bogus re-list in June 2012 – same property, same agent, same price, just 2 days off the MLS – didn't kindle any new interest, apparently. The "new" listing quietly quit in early September.

Rendering of 324 8th
324 8th (6br/5ba, 5000 sq. ft.) is a new construction project that was offered up midstream, to no avail.

It's a highly stylized, cutting-edge beach modern with big-time design credentials. The owners flirted with letting someone else take over and finish the project, but after almost 3 months, thought the better of it and decided to finish it for themselves. (Good call.)

Worth noting: The one-and-a-half-size flat walkstreet lot here was snapped up in Spring 2011 for $2.255m, equal to a single-lot value of $1.5m – before considering the scarcity of this size lot. That land trade will be looked upon as quite the deal in the future. Or, really, now.

Bonus side note: Those $1.5m-ish days seem to be gone for flat walkstreet lots, the last 2 trading for $1.765m (337 7th, now a presold new construction project) and $1.982m (413 7th, an owner-user custom build to come).

505 N. Valley
505 N. Valley (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.) is a cool modern/industrial custom home built with a love for woods and a "green" vibe.

Sure, it's on Valley, a strike, but an unexpected benefit is the neighbors to the west. The walkstreet lot behind has been divided and both properties are underimproved – and one, 533 5th, literally can't be built up unless/until it gets a garage by joining the neighbor to the back.

With no open houses, 505 Valley may have made little impression on average consumers, but the listing did draw offers. The 3-month listing ran from April through July. Problem: No good options for the sellers to move to. (It's an epidemic.)

It was last seen at $1.949m, or 10% off its peak-year acquisition price ($2.175m, Aug. 2007). 

2912 Pine
2912 Pine (5br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.) is an expansive, newer (2001), heavy-feeling home tucked away on a fairly quiet corner lot up and off of Ardmore. No yard, really.

(See our review from January.)

It last traded in July 2004 for $1.950m, tried for $1.995m this year, but eventually rented out.

128 1st Place
128 1st Place (3br/4ba, 1825 sq. ft.) is a newer (2000) half-lot SFR with a traditional TH layout – 1br down, 2 on the midlevel (where the formal entry is) and living spaces up top.

There are some ocean views to the north and west from the top level.

The home's in good condition, and theoretically compares with high-end ocean-view THs that have sold in the area for $1.9m-$2.250m.

It was last at $1.799m. It ran from June to Labor Day, and could come back in 2013.

852 5th
852 5th (5br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.) is a 1970s Tudor-ish house that ran in June and July, asking $2.649m for a reasonably large structure in a good view location.

The current house, however, gets its best views from a couple of awkward spots in the top-floor master, only, and has a chopped-up layout that is hard to love.

The home is probably destined some day for a major remodel or scraping – whatever it takes to draw far better views from this spot. With an alley to the west and fully built-up neighbors on that side, you have a clear guide to exactly what your future (permanent) views will be. Now, for a house that takes advantage...

228 40th
228 40th St. (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) is a 1933 Spanish original in El Porto Norte that people have valiantly updated and added onto over the years, just one door off Highland with a commercial building to its east.

It last sold in Jan. 2005 for $939k, and came up in January at $1.025m. It seemed they were confident they'd sell. Five months later, no takers... the listing quit.

121 36th Pl
121 36th Place (4br/4ba, 2700 sq. ft.) is a newer (2005) custom build on a 2/3rds-size lot (1725 sq. ft.) just a few steps up from The Strand, with PV-to-Malibu panoramic views up top, plus extra space below the garage level.

It ran 6 months from February through August at prices ranging from $2.575m down to $2.425m. They drew serious interest, but couldn't get all the pieces together, apparently. Its last move was a price increase in August to $2.499m, 3 weeks before quitting.

200 Shell (3br/3ba, 1900 sq. ft.) teased us with a 1-day listing in mid-August, and is stuck now "on hold" 7 weeks later.

Last year, we said Shell was "the fanciest custom build in El Porto Norte," noting that the 2007-built home "drips with higher-end detail at every turn."

It was a steal at $1.399m just last year when it sold. The new owners seemed ready right away to resell it (at $1.575m – nice markup), but for now have switched to renting it out for vacationers... Yet, we'll see.

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