Weekend Opens (2/23-2/24)

By Dave Fratello | February 23rd, 2013

We're starting to say, Hmmmmm, maybe we won't get that huge Spring burst of inventory, after all.

Just 4 new listings emerged this week in MB, one too late Friday to hit most people's radar. 

But before we despair about a Spring devoid of inventory, you can't rule out the Ski Week factor, which seems to have agents, buyers and sellers all out on the road, while out-of-towners wonder what the heck we're talking about here in MB.

We'll be fine, more's coming next week. But our update this week is fairly brief.

We're reminding you again to take the Blue Zones pledge (link offsite) within the month of February get yourself automatically entered to win this awesome $200+ gift basket from Barsha.

Remember the principle that Blue Zones is promoting is "Wine @ 5," the notion that you should relax, unplug and have a glass with a friend at the end of the day. Who can't get behind that? (For more on the pledge and Barsha, see the intro to our Weekend Opens post from 2 weeks back.) 

The gift basket is sitting right here at MBC headquarters, tempting us just a bit each day... but we'll hold on to it for our winner.

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

East MB

A terrific new trend in MB is the modernization of our little, original 1950s cottages with flash and flair and a beachy flavor.

1746 Nelson (3br/3ba, 1615 sq. ft.) is the newest part of that most welcome trend.

This one has been crafted by a crew that's different from the folks who recently redid homes like 1605 Harkness and 1159 Chestnut. (For MBC's appreciation of 1605 Harkness, see "Transforming an LV Cottage.")

Still, they bring a similarly bright, open, modern style to a cottage that just as easily could have been scraped and replaced.

There's a nice, open great room in front, with dark-stained wood floors nicely contrasting against white cabinetry, wainscoting and bright countertops. The kitchen is partly open to the living areas – not quite fully open, but better than a galley.

The living areas open to a side patio for al fresco dining, while the kitchen opens to a side yard that continues all the way to the rear of this 150' deep lot, where a concrete outdoor living area is set up, including built-in bbq. They pitch the home as one that emphasizes outdoor living, and they're basically right.

There's one bedroom, bath and laundry room in the front half of the house, then 2 more bedrooms in back, one a secondary standalone suite and the other the master suite. The master opens to the huge backyard.

There's lots of deck and grass in back (the new lawn shows that it's sod segments, recently rolled out). The big surprise, to us, was the hot tub tucked in the furthest rear part of the lot, covered by a pergola. Who wants to hike to the hot tub like this?

The obvious comp for this one is 1525 9th (3br/2ba, 1785 sq. ft.), which sold last September for $1.300M.  It's got the same size lot and was a nicely remodeled 1952 original. (It also had a hot tub tucked in the far back corner of the lot – behind the garage, even. Go figure.)

The start price at 1746 Nelson is $1.299M. The full-size (7500 sq. ft.) lot is driving a big chunk of that price.

There are 3 major differences between 1525 9th and 1746 Nelson:

1) 9th has the notably superior location, while Nelson is just a few doors uphill from Aviation, and is just about as far east and south as you can get in MB;

2) Nelson has the superior floorplan, with 9th having 2 smallish secondary bedrooms and a slightly cramped front living area; and

3) The overall market has only heated up since 9th St. sold late last Summer.

This will be one to watch.

1746 Nelson is priced at $1.299M and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

This weekend, the secret gets out about a little pocket of MB east of Highland that (relatively) few feet have trod upon. 

Unless you live on the same block as 309 18th, the forbidding 2 levels of concrete stairs up from Highland may rule out walking along this little half block. It's not really the way to get to or from anything, so why would you?

We're sure that's exactly why the neighbors like it. Quiet, private... a little island within town, just steps from town and the beach.

The other big plus: Substantial ocean views made possible by the quick rise in the hill from Highland.

So the location sings. What about the structure?

This is a 1960s original built as a duplex, and added onto in front in the 1970s. The main, front house is a little over 2100 sq. ft., with 3br upstairs plus a study and laundry room, then a spare bedroom downstairs along with the main living areas. Flooring upstairs is mostly carpet, while downstairs there's newer, tasteful bamboo.

The long galley kitchen opens in back to a little family room/dining area with wet bar, which has a sliding door out to a small concrete patio. The 4th bedroom is right there and opens, via double wooden doors, into this dining area, and might really be better suited as an extra living space.

Up front, the living room is bright and fairly spacious, with sliding-door access to the front walkstreet patio.

Along the front of the house, there are some decent ocean peeks, and even better ocean breezes.

The extra bedrooms upstairs are OK sizewise, with mirrored sliders on the closets.

The master is sizable and has a good balcony, from which you can see the MB pier, PV and a whole bunch of ocean. It's one of those rare master-bedroom balconies that you will always want to step out onto, about 365 days a year.

All of the bathrooms seem to have the original cabinetry, though with newer sinks and countertops. Only the kitchen seems to have had a more thorough remodel at some point, but it's not 21st-century, now, either.

The second unit is a separate building over the garage, a 1br/1ba, 600 sq. ft., somewhat updated unit that is rented out. (Open-house visitors will not be able to see it, but there are several pics toward the end of the listing.)

On balance, this is a livable home in a terrific location, yet still one that awaits a full-scale modernization some day.

Disclosure: Dave has toured the property on behalf of clients.

309 18th traded twice in recent years: for $1.775M in Nov. 2004 and at the same price in Nov. 2009.

It starts now at $2.099M (+$324K / +18% over the 2004 and 2009 prices), and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

As long as you've made your way to 18th St. near downtown, why not cross Highland and check out 133 17th (4br/3ba, 2925 sq. ft.)?

West of Highland, this one gets you right down next to the water on one of the great "teen" streets near downtown.

This is a 1921 original with updates and a spare unit in back. The main house has 3br downstairs with large, open living spaces up top.

Nice feature: The master bedroom, on the first floor in front, has not-kidding-ya, lying-down ocean views from bed.

The views upstairs are even better, and the living room is oriented to take good advantage.

Sometimes we talk about the west-of-Highland / east-of-Highland price gap.

Is the premium $1M, or more, to cross Highland? Often, yes.

With 133 17th listed at $3.950M, it's quite easy to see at least a $1.5M gap growing between this one and 309 18th when both have settled.

Granted, 17th St. is all dolled up and ready to dance, so it draws an extra premium for that, but that's still quite a spread for two roughly comparable houses just a few moments' walk from one another. 

This home was last purchased in Feb. 2009, for $3.250M. They are looking for a nice $700K (+21%) markup now.

133 17th is asking $3.950M and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.


Don't forget to take the Blue Zones pledge this week! And go check out Barsha, the wine and everything shop, for yourself!

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