Underperforming Trees

By Dave Fratello | February 7th, 2011
About 6 years ago, buying some newer homes in the Tree Section looked like a good investment to one party, who grabbed 3 within a few months.

Rent them out and wait for the values to increase – that was happening everywhere – and you'd have a nice return on some pretty modest down payments.

Alas, 2 of those 3 Tree Section homes hit the market for resale in 2009 at less than their purchase prices. With the market sagging, those assets weren't performing.

Though both homes failed to sell in '09, one, 3313 Pine, sold off-market in July 2010 for $2.040m, 10% below its Dec. 2005 acquisition price ($2.265m). A second, purchased for $2.0m in August 2005, has never been put back up for sale (and for that reason we don't give the address in this case).

And now the third is back.

2610 Pacific (5br/5ba, 3225 sq. ft.) is a pretty nice, newer (2003) home on a wider-than-normal 43' wide lot. Its kitchen was upgraded from its build condition by the prior owners (2003-05) before the home joined the 3-pack of investment purchases.

This one sold for $2.1m in Sept. 2005, and was offered back at that price in July 2009, dropping eventually to $1.974m in October '09.

This year's price: $1.990m.

This makes Pacific the 2nd newer Tree Section home to hit the market in a week just a hair shy of $2.0m. The other was 2304 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 3350 sq. ft.), slightly bigger, on a less busy street, south of Valley/Ardmore and boasting a higher 2005 acquisition price ($2.3m), now up at $1.988m.

Both start prices seem ambitious, but if there's ever a time to start high, it's while the green-and-gold glow is still dazzling everyone's eyes – which is to say, early in the selling season, right after the Super Bowl.

Worth noting: 2610 Pacific was probably overvalued in 2005 at the time of the last purchase, but that was an epidemic at the time. Brand new, in July 2003, it sold for $1.449m.

2509 Palm (5br/5ba, 3150 sq. ft.), whose location – on a cul-de-sac hemmed in by Marine – is at least an improvement over Pacific is in escrow now after starting at $1.749m in January. The home's also 5 years newer (2007 build) than Pacific, and has had residents for much less time after a June 2009 acquisition.

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