Tree Section Modern Sells Lower (Again)

By Dave Fratello | June 30th, 2020

794 27th Street Manhattan Beach CAA super custom Tree Section modern home at 794 27th has closed below its acquisition price.

Oddly enough, it's not the first time.

Here's the winding road of the history of sales of this 2003-built property in its first 17 years:

Aug. 2004: Sold for $2.000M

May 2006: Sold for $2.500M

June 2008: Sold for $1.950M

June 2016: Sold for $2.600M

June 2020: Sold for $2.555M

If you were here, you know there was a huge runup in prices from around 2003-2007, and that couldn't be more evident than when you see it in this home, just 3 years old at the time, selling less than 24 months after a purchase at $2.000M for 25% more, $2.500M.

That party ended, however, and it was a veritable fire sale in June 2008, when they let the property go at a huge loss, below both prior purchase prices, at $1.950M.

Hold a property long enough, and you'll weather any storm.

The 2008 buyer really bought low, and 8 years later was rewarded with a $650K increase in value by 2016.

But the 2016 buyer didn't do quite so well as a seller this year, with the most recent sale price posted $45K under acquisition. Add in the transaction costs, and even if they got some reduced fees, that particular span of ownership arguably didn't work out much better than renting over the same time period.

It's funny, if this were a car, no one would be surprised to see the value dropping, but it's not a car. We expect our houses to appreciate.

Over time, they do. It just needs to be the right stretch of time.

We should note about this home, it's a one-off custom build in a very particular style, a pleasing enough Asian-inspired modern with some unique features. (We were wowed by it way-back-when in '04 when it first came to market, loving the novelty of its design.) It's manifestly not the sort of down-the-middle Tree Section Cape Cod or Mediterranean that has countless variants with typical floorplans and features.

You expect the values on "typical" homes to move with the market as a whole. Unusual homes like this one can find their own niches and can have their own dynamics.

Beyond the uniqueness of the home, one detail worth noting is location.

We don't think there are any other 794s around Manhattan Beach. The home is actually on the corner on busy Pacific Ave., and likely would have had an address like 2701 Pacific at some point. Assuming that's the case, the address change was to steer one's mind away from the Pacific Ave. location, at least temporarily.

But just temporarily. The "backyard," such as it is, is really in front on Pacific Ave. behind hedges, meaning when the living room doors are open or you're in the yard, you get the full brunt of traffic noise from a 4-way stop. That's hard to miss.

It is a rule that location challenges translate more quickly to reductions in value when market conditions soften.

So when this property listed at $2.689M in early 2020, they were looking for a slight uptick in value, with the seller getting out almost flat.

Making a deal during the challenged COVID-19 market appears to have also meant taking much less.

But maybe watch for the next sale.

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