This One Crested High

By Dave Fratello | January 27th, 2014

Is there a hunger out there for lot sales in Manhattan Beach?

Why, yes. We're seeing a new wave of speculative development get fully under way.

Now would-be owner/user custom builders are competing against spec builders who, traditionally, would not pay as much for a lot. The frictional costs, and inherent risks, for a builder tended to limit their numbers on lot acquisitions. Not so much now, as builders see the upside of an up market.

Last week there were multiple offers targeting the lot at 4101 Crest, where the little cottage is cute but probably unfixable, and the big blue ocean views could really be something with a maxed-out build.

The $999K start price may look interesting in the rear view mirror when the deal wraps up – soon.

Then they'll get under way with a new home (presumably a single-family, as the 1800 sq. ft., sloping lot does not really lend itself to a 2-unit build).

You have to assume the new home will be come out over $2M. But it will be new and its views will be killer. (The view photo here is front the listing and is taken from the rooftop of the current cottage.)

Now, if you follow Manhattan Beach real estate and a $1M-ish lot sale with big views looks cheap to you, you have to look at location to grasp the limitations faced both for the lot sale and the presumed spec home there.

You're in El Porto, east of Highland. The Chevron tank farm is just east beyond the fence off Crest, and while that's less unsightly or noisy than other parts of the refinery, it's not everyone's dream neighbor. There's also a giant power line tower just behind the property.

Maybe these things melt into the background if you look west.

A sale from last year that would be an anchor comp would be 316 45th, a 2006-built townhome with 3br/4ba, 2140 sq. ft., which sold for $1.995M. It had mega panoramas and a comparable location.

A new SFR ought to do better – at least that's the builders' bet.

And they're not the only builders in town betting. This will be one to watch.

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