Weekend Opens (8/27-8/28)

By Dave Fratello | August 27th, 2011
Don't you Love volleyball?

Just a year ago, they were taking away the MB Open, then suddenly making it some kind of all-volunteer operation. It seemed to work out.

Yet here we are now with a big-time tequila sponsor and a going-nowhere novelty player and, hey, it's free pro volleyball at the beach again. It's good!

(Photo credit: Kevin Love @ the MB Open, via Patch – Credit: Sylwia M. Ozdzynski.) 

But of course the new tequila tournament isn't all that's going on in MB this weekend. There are real estate sellers looking for real estate buyers. A few picked this weekend to debut. 

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

As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.

Hill Section

222 Dianthus (3br/2ba, 2725 sq. ft.) has been a long-term rental, and is currently offered for sale and for rent at the same time – a third example around town that will have us clicking and dragging and typing in the rent/buy calculator in a moment.

But first, the home. The layout, partly "upside-down" to feature some kinda-sorta views upstairs, is unusual and somewhat difficult. You get 2br downstairs, one opening to the yard, plus an ample family room that also flows to the yard. (You might imagine using the family room as as 3rd downstairs bedroom, but there's no closet and there is a built-in bar – but who doesn't love that in a bedroom?)

Upstairs, there's a big living room that goes out to a balcony and that steps up to a separate dining area, with a throwback lava rock fireplace dominating the space. (The description cheerfully invokes "Mad Men" to make this seem like more of an asset.) The updated kitchen works, but feels quite small.

While the master upstairs is big, it's crushing to realize that the bath is not connected to the bedroom, but instead must serve the whole upper floor.

When 222 Dianthus was on the market in December 2007, the sellers sought $2.399m, a mint and a half at the time for this sort of property. They're down now to $1.875m, an adjustment of $524k, but still hard to figure given what else you can get for that kind of money in MB. Maybe if the views were bigger, the home more updated, the layout less challenging... maybe.

Meanwhile let's evaluate this one with the rent/buy calculator. Rental offering price is $6,100. Want to guess how this works out? Using the defaults on the NY Times rent/buy calculator for home price and rental cost annual increases (2% and 3%, respectively), the NYT is telling you to rent. Only in the 30th year of ownership does buying turn out to be the best deal. However, with 3% annual price appreciation, buying works out to be better after 14 years.

Fun fantasy fact: With steady 3% appreciation after a full-price sale this year, 222 Dianthus is worth $2.75m in 2025.

222 Dianthus starts at $1.875m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

860 MBB (4br/2ba, 1900 sq. ft.) is a duplex in which the rear unit (pictured) has been freshly remodeled.

The front home is small (2br/1ba) and not updated, plus it's right on MBB, but it's got a long-term tenant who'd like to stay on.

Before the remodel, the same property was offered last year for $849k. There was much to correct then, though, and now that the property's clean and habitable, the price is up. (860 MBB actually got a mention on MBC during that prior listing because the listing pic was nothing but a crooked drive-by photo.)

860 MBB starts at $979k, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

320 31st (3br/3ba, 1525 sq. ft.) looks like a rather plain 60s box outside, but do not judge this book by its cover.

Inside, just about everything is new, new, new, with great bamboo flooring, very well-done modern baths and a big, bright, open, high-end kitchen on the main floor along with a generous dining area and living room.

All that, plus some ocean views out the front and, especially, off the roof deck.

It must be noted that each of the 3br is on a separate floor, something you just have to roll with or reject outright. The master is on the entry level, one kids' room is on the midlevel and a third bedroom (it may not qualify technically, but it sure looks like a bedroom) is accessed up a steep, narrow flight of stairs. How many bedrooms have roof decks?

It's a pretty surprising little SFR, close to Grandview Elementary and MB's second downtown up in El Norte, while the beach beckons.

320 31st starts at $1.379m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

763 31st is a home we called "a custom masterpiece" when it hit the market last year. They asked too much then, though, and never found a buyer. We went thru again this week, on occasion of the newest listing, to recall the home's charms, and realized we can't say anything better now than we did then. From last year's review:

The home's big, but not overly so at 5br/5ba, 3575 sq. ft. (If you want that 5th bedroom you'll have to dismantle the terrific office up at the front of the house off the entry)

The inspired, timeless European design puts to shame a thousand "Mediterraneans" that you've seen before. The home's 10 years old, but it could be 3 years or 310 years old and you could believe it either way. Open-beam ceilings lining the dramatic living/dining area are classy, with the same attractive, woodsy ceilings dressing up the master.

A spacious, modern kitchen has all the must-have features and  could accommodate a catering crew easily if you're entertaining.

Homes on the north side of 31st tend not to have yards or much open space, but the courtyard off the first level here is somewhat bigger than expected.
As to pricing, last year, MBC said they were "pushing the ceiling" by asking $3.295m. Shortly after that, a new home across the street that's much larger (5br/4ba, 5200 sq. ft.) at 768 31st, with a yard, sold for $3.2m – $616/PSF.

Even at a new price, 763 31st is way up there: $2.890m and $808/PSF. Then again, this is not a home that will be sold with reference to a calculator. It'll be Love. Well, maybe just love.

763 31st is open Sat. & Sun. 12-4pm.

2610 Maple (5br/4ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is the newest of the Speedy Speckies to debut for public viewing, and the third we know of to feature this ornate, embellished Mediterranean style with lots of stone laminate indoors lining doorways and walls. It's also got the new, trademark palm trees built into the driveway.

All the homes in this set of speckies have essentially the same layout – big, open living room at the entry, 1br downstairs, great room in back, you know it – and flooring (a dark wood). The extras here include spirally columns outside, a round, stone mandala type decoration set into the wood floor at the entry, and a light/dark wood pattern built into the dining room floor.

2610 Maple has the nicest back yard of the speckies we've seen so far, a little more ample in size and more heavily planted with tropical trees and bushes; perhaps some of this is leftover from the garden of the scraper home.

Fun interior fact: Did you ever wonder what stapled-on stone looks like under the surface? Check out the great room wall by the kitchen – it's covered in stone laminate, but the wall also houses a panel of several light switches. The slate and brown stone had to be cut to make space for the switches – sometimes you've got to improvise – revealing that, lo, it's just concrete with pebbles inside that's been painted/stained on the outside. So that's what's inside. Better than finding out it's styrofoam.

2610 Maple starts at $1.899m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.


If you're in active the market or thinking about it, please consider asking MBC for help in identifying the right agent for your needs. Blog author Dave Fratello will also work with some clients on a case-by-case basis. See our referrals page for a little more.

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