Weekend Opens (3/30-3/31)

By Dave Fratello | March 30th, 2013

It's Easter Weekend, with many fewer open houses to see, but we wouldn't suggest that our market is "slowing down" for this "break."

There were 21 new listings in this past week in Manhattan Beach. It feels like a mad rush, as sellers see the opportunity in front of them.

But we also count 24 new deals (newly posted escrows) over the same period.

You could say things are hoppin'.

But that would be a cliché. (Sorry.)

Inventory is actually down despite the new listings, to 42 total SFRs and THs around all parts of Manhattan Beach. Yikes. (That was as of Friday night. More listings are posting this weekend.)

One surprise among the open houses: A home complete with massive workshop, a place to build or fix your own boat, car(s) or motor home. Read on to figure out which.

One open house that's on the list, but canceled, is 2507 N. Valley Dr. – Dave's listing, which sold quickly this past week.

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

Tree Section

610 Rosecrans (4br/4ba, 1800 sq. ft.) is an intense modern showpiece, a wide-open, airy space with high-end finishes and an L.A./Venice or Euro vibe. It is certainly the best house we've ever seen on Rosecrans, and threatens to redefine what's possible on that oft-forgotten stretch of street.

There is nothing about this stunning new place that reminds you of Manhattan Beach. Not the old teeny cottages on the finger-shaped lots along Rosecrans. Not the remodels you see along the block. And not the other parts of the Sand or Tree Sections – you just don't see a squared-off, bright, high-end modern like this nearly anywhere.

Venice. We keep thinking "Venice." You see these everywhere in Venice.

Curiously, this one still sports its 1959 build date – perhaps something of the old beach shack remained before this remodel, but we didn't see it in the footprint of the house at all.

The design takes advantage of the front yard along Rosecrans to create a huge, wide-open great room connecting almost seamlessly to the outdoor spaces. They've staged it with a dining area outside, and why not? And none of that fussy grass and dirt – the patio is mean as living space, entertaining space, and is designed as such, with a little burbling fountain and lots of outdoor seating, even mood lighting for the evenings.

The kitchen is tricked out with a modern, European gloss that misses no detail. You could be in a penthouse somewhere, not Rosecrans, MB.

The secondary (kids') bedrooms along the hallway back are "just enough" sized, beachy in that respect, with a jack-and-jill bath. The master suite in back seems huge, with very high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, a big bath and closets.

Downstairs, outside, there's a separate entrance to a small room, with closet and snazzy bath, which counts as the 4th bedroom. It's got no future as a bootleg rental, but probably would serve nicely as an office/getaway space or occasional-use guest suite.

Here's what they're asking for the best little home on Rosecrans: $1.399M.

Sales comps up and down the block, including similarly sized or slightly larger homes, go into the $1.1-$1.2M range, but for very different places.

They're looking to establish a new standard here for a home with this notable location challenge, and the smaller lot sizes that come with Rosecrans (3625 sq. ft. in this case). If you're going to build to the nines on Rosecrans, Spring 2013 looks like the best time to try to make the sale.

Disclosure: We've toured 610 Rosecrans for a client.

610 Rosecrans starts at $1.399M and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

2904 Highland (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft.) is a newer ocean-view TH with lots of bells and whistles, including a great room with big ocean views.

Did we mention ocean views? Yes, yes, yes. The listing boldly declares them to be "[a]bsolutely insane ocean views." Well, this market is getting insane, why shouldn't the views be insane, too?

Sometimes being on Highland has its privileges.

The townhome itself has familiar qualities for newer construction (2007). Dark hardwood floors, high-quality kitchen, very nice baths and – increasingly a must-have item in 3-story homes – an elevator.

The 2300 sq. ft. listed for the living space is quite a bit more than the typical 1700-1800 you'll find in other THs. You feel that extra space mainly the wide-open great room on the top floor. The master is also spacious and gets some views, though we can't call the secondary bedrooms especially large.

Did we mention the views?

Parking is listed as 2 garage spaces and 4 total, which includes a covered carport area and, no doubt, a slot in the driveway. That's pretty important given the difficulty of parking along Highland. It's the beach.

2904 Highland was purchased new in June 2007 for $2.0M. These days, we're not supposed to be surprised when people ask 20% more than a bubble-year acquisition price.

2904 Highland starts at $2.399M and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

449 34th (3br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.) has the shell of a 1970s house – and some artifacts of that – with a series of remodels also having changed the style of the home along the way, though never completely. 

The exterior shows with a contemporary flair, but right inside, the 1970s fireplace brick betrays the vintage of the underlying home. If you enter off the side of the house instead of through the big open living room doors at the front, you feel the age of the home in the glass panels and old wooden entry door, quirkily painted blue.

The kitchen features white appliances and a white cooktop, along with clean "contemporary" cabinets that still date the room to the early 90s or so.

Happily, the master is of good size (with 2 closets), the master bath feels somewhat current – the remodels only a bit out of step from 21st-century tastes – and the balance of the living areas upstairs is pretty decent, with 2 true bedrooms, one very big, and a separate room, now a gym, that could be a bonus room or 4th bedroom in a pinch.

This is a decent plateau location, a reasonably large home with some style, but also one where we can imagine buyers wanting to dial up the level of the remodel with another sweep through.

449 34th starts at $1.899M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

East MB

1731 Mathews (3br/3ba, 3370 sq. ft.) does something we've never seen on an East MB full-size (7500 sq. ft.) lot: They built an industrial-caliber workshop on the back half of the lot, complete with very high ceilings and chain lifts that helped the outgoing owner work on cars and boats in the huge work bay.

A big grassy yard it is not. To each his/her own.

The actual home (1991 build date) is fairly straightforward, and recently cleaned, polished and tidied. There's new carpet, paint and even new wood flooring – along with staging – to present the home in optimal conditions.

You get all 3br downstairs, some pretty big spaces, with some quirks to the layout. Updates go back to the early 90s. Upstairs you get your main living spaces, including a fairly open kitchen/great room in back, with high ceilings.

Besides that ginormous work bay, there's also some permitted guest quarters attached alongside. It's sizable and more than expected – a bedroom space, living area and kitchenette, also refreshed. We first thought of it as the work crew's quarters.

This is, as we say, a unique property, maybe one you'd want to imagine without the back half of the lot being as it is – unless that's exactly what you want.

Locationwise, this one is extremely far east and south, barely still in MB, just up from Aviation. So that's another matter.

If full-size lots in East MB are starting to trade in the $1.0-$1.3M range, depending on location, that puts some interesting context on the offering price: $1.495M.

Nearby neighbor 1751 Mathews, a nice place but right on Aviation, and on a huge lot, hasn't had any traction so far (111 DOM, priced now at $1.995M).

1731 Mathews starts at $1.495M and is open Sat. 2-4pm.

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