Weekend Opens (8/25-8/26)

By Dave Fratello | August 25th, 2012
Amazing August, a time when you often must ask: "Why someone would list now?"

But you don't need the answer. You just need the inventory. And we're getting it.

We're declaring this Faymont Week, in honor of the first 2 listings among our reviews.

But there's something else big going on this weekend at the beach – they've built up those bleachers again for volleyball. Hooray, this tourney looks like it may well survive.

Or are those grandstands meant to help crowds receive the Catalina-to-MB paddlers?

Whatever your fancy, a busy weekend awaits.

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

If you're thinking about getting into the market as a buyer or seller, please consider asking MB Confidential author Dave Fratello for help. For more, see MBC's Need an Agent?" page.

East MB

1201 Faymont (3br/2ba, 1750 sq. ft.) is darling, surprisingly large, showing maybe the most you can do with a 1950s original Liberty Village cottage without starting over. There's a lot hiding behind that somewhat common-looking exterior.

Enter into a large living room with attractive wood flooring, and there's a big, modern kitchen opening into the living space. Two bedrooms are off to one side – amply sized considering the home's original vintage.

The master suite seems to have been added on toward the back of the house, and it is fairly huge, with a large bath, walk-in closet and more than large bedroom. Everything is modern and in good taste.

The house makes a little U-shape around a central deck, which – besides the front/side yards – accounts for most of the outdoor space. So if you're going to feel short-changed here, it's in yard space.

Location is along 12th St. with a row of multifamily buildings across the street, and 12th empties out onto Aviation. It's walkable to elementary, middle school and Polliwog, not to mention Trader Joe's (oh, to skip dealing with that parking lot!).

1201 Faymont starts at $899k, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

2101 Faymont (3br/1ba, 1150 sq. ft.), is down at the other end of the block from 1201, and is at the other end of the spectrum as well. Almost unimproved since its 1950s vintage, this one is dated, messy, and features a largely dead and cluttered backyard.

Not that those facts will stop it from drawing multiple offers. It will. At $799k to start, this Liberty Village fixer is going to go quickly. If this is what you're after, and you've got the patience for a serious project, get in line at once.

2101 Faymont starts at $799k and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

311 Aviation Place (3br/3ba, 1750 sq. ft.) is the latest in a recent rush of listings in the Aviation Place condos, just the other side of Aviation Blvd.

The complex, built in 2002, features an attractive Cape Cod-inspired style for a string of compact units sharing a pleasant, open common space. It's city living.

This unit, in the bubbly year of 2005, sold for $830k, then resold in 2009 for $645k (-22%), and – after some modest updates – is now slotting in right between those prices at $735k to start.

There were 5 sales in this complex in 2009-2011, all around $630k-$650k. Two are currently in escrow, 209 Aviation Place (list: $729k) and 219 Aviation Place (list: $735k). How quickly the new "normal" in this complex boosted up 12%.

311 Aviation Place starts at $735k and is open Sun. 1-5pm.

Sand Section 

119 35th Place (3br/3ba, 1150 sq. ft.) is a smallish and original 1960s box, feeling pretty tight all around and needing every kind of update.

But it is just a couple doors up off of the Strand, and walkable to the best local surf as well as MB's "second downtown" up in El Norte.

The SFR is configured now as a quasi-duplex, with what seems like a separate (or separable)  unit downstairs and 2br and 2ba up, along with a small kitchen and living area.

No doubt, the best use of this 1/2 lot is a 3-story unit that could draw in much better views than the tantalizing slivers of blue that come through here and there in the current home. We'd bet on that sort of development, and pray for extra parking – even maneuvering a little electric car around this part of the area, and finding a spot to stop, was a huge challenge.

119 35th Place starts at $1.2m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

85 Bayview (3br/4ba, 2075 sq. ft.) is a mid-90s TH with some smart updates, particularly to the master and top-floor living areas with ocean views. As we write, the newly posted listing has no interior pics, so you'd have to spin by to see much.

Layout here is surprising, with the garage at the midfloor. So that puts 2br together downstairs, sharing a little shady patio. One has an attached bath, while the other, with its own larger bath and jacuzzi tub, requires the resident to walk down a hallway (?). Neither bath is fully updated. The midfloor master is much more of today, with the most up-to-date features.

The top floor in these units is always where it's at. Here there's a midcentury/ultramodern-type vibe (hard to classify), wide open, feeling high-end, with lots of windows to draw in the views. (Admittedly, the views aren't profound, but you get lots of peeks of blue, and there's no doubt what's right out there like you could touch it.) The kitchen is particularly well executed.

With this one's start price of $1.899m, you have to look to some other neighborhood sales. There's 88 Manhattan Ave. (3br/4ba, 2150 sq. ft.), sporting what we called "generous" ocean views straight across Manhattan Ave. and down a wide street, which went for $1.925m in May. There's also 215 Homer Place (3br/4ba, 1950 sq. ft.) that sold for the same $1.925m in early July (off-market).

The drastic counter-example is 97 Bayview (2br/3ba, 1500 sq. ft.) – yet another recent sale within a stone's throw – the 2br-could-be-3br-again TH with fantastic views that came up last month at $1.249m, drew 9 offers and will close perhaps $100k higher.

85 Bayview starts, as we noted, at $1.899m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4p.

Hill Section

600 N. Dianthus (4br/5ba, 3950 sq. ft.) is dated and different, but with some vision it might become a nice family home again.

The exterior has some timeless appeal, a good start. There is plenty of hangout space spread around the first floor – 2 living rooms, formal dining, even a large guest suite that feels like the master. Most rooms have hardwood floors.

The kitchen is fairly big and bright and is among the more updated parts of the house – though maybe not 21st century. It looks out on the backyard, which is all hardscape and swimming pool.

Upstairs are 3br including a megasuite for the master that includes a large sitting area – the first one we've seen in a while where the current residents truly seem to sit, enjoying a vast library. The master has not one, but 2 bathrooms, along with a large closet. When one of your 2 bathrooms includes gym equipment, as this one does, you've got more than enough space.

Throughout the house, baths are a mishmash, some bearing very modern-feeling updates, some stuck in the 70s.

There's a lot to work with here to bring the home to today's standards. The lack of a real yard is a limitation. This is one where you should start with the question that we ask sometimes: "When this is updated, what's it worth?"

600 Dianthus starts at $2.499m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

1805 Walnut  
1805 Walnut (4br/4ba, 3350 sq. ft.) is a 1980s Tudor-style house that enters the starved-for-inventory sub-$1.9m market in the Trees here at $1.699m.

The older home's been dramatically brightened up with white, white, white everywhere inside. We're certain that's better than the dark, dark, dark it replaced.

A sunken living room gives away the dated design concepts behind the home, but there's good space to spread out in downstairs if you can roll with that.

The kitchen opens in an angular fashion to a family room and casual dining space in back, in turn opening to a mostly hardscaped, slim yard space. This was the "great room" concept before they really started to make them great.

Neither the kitchen nor any of the baths really has been brought up to date, so there is clearly still significant work to do.

Bedrooms upstairs are pretty spacious. This being the 80s, they gave extra space to the master by way of a step-up reading area/office. But they did not create a walk-in closet. Hmmm. Home preferences have changed a lot over the years.

But now, would you like a measure of how much our market has changed in 18 months?

1809 Walnut  
Look to next-door neighbor 1809 Walnut (5br/5ba, 3120 sq. ft.), a 2004-built former spec home that resold in Jan. 2011. Everything about it is familiar among the pantheon of newer construction, including the wood flooring and 21st-century stainless kitchen. (Though we've called the execution there "plain vanilla.")

1809 Walnut sold in Jan. 2011 for $1.775m, just 4% more than the rehabbed 80s Tudor is now coming out for next door.

Could the 80s Tudor really compete with a 21st-century home, when all's said and done?

1805 Walnut is priced at $1.699m to start, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-5pm.

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