Who's Most Delusional?

By Dave Fratello | May 15th, 2008
If you stop in at MBC from time to time, you might get the impression that the local RE market is softening, and prices gently stepping down. Maybe it's some bias on the part of the author, maybe it's some of the commenters, or maybe it's the data.

But we must remind ourselves, there's a parallel universe out there. In it there live thinking, breathing people. And in that parallel universe, prices are apparently as strong as ever, maybe trending up.

Sure, it sounds silly here, but how else can we explain the pricing decisions of 3 new listings? We'll describe them here (with links to listing pics & details via Redfin) and ask you to vote in our poll for which one is the most out of whack.
  • 217 35th Pl. is a small home (3br/2ba, 975 sq. ft.) on a 2/3rds-size lot (1650 sq. ft.) at the corner of 2 alleys (Bayview and 35th Pl.). It's nice enough to "[l]ive in now, build later." For the privilege, the sellers would like $1.5m. They paid $990k about 2 years ago in March 2006 (may have been a private sale).
  • 1015 Boundary Pl. offers 3br/3ba and 2400 sq. ft., also on an alley. (What else can we call Boundary?) The listing touts the home's "one-of-a-kind style," but all we see is the 1950s. (The interior is updated.)
Keep in mind that down the hill, 811 Boundary – 2004 construction with 1,000 more square feet – went into escrow recently while listed at $2.099m. (Property Shark tells us it has sold for $2.025m, but the MLS doesn't show that yet.) But to move on up to 1015 Boundary, you'll need $2.480m.
  • 1705 Pacific is a very nicely remodeled home (4br/4ba, 2650 sq. ft.) whose location near Pacific School is either perfect or a strike. It depends. Though we can't deny the home's family-friendly appeal, its layout is peculiar (downstairs master off the living room). The exterior, while spiffed up, is a mishmash, design-wise.
Compare this to the terrific and well-located home at 738 26th, slightly larger, which just sold for $1.770m ($610/PSF). That would put 1705 Pacific at $1.6m before adjusting for location. Instead, it starts at $1.875m.
Each of these homes, to our eyes, seems to start at least 15% and hundreds of thousands of dollars too high. We just can't figure out which one is off by the most. Please vote in the poll – which seller is most delusional? Poll closes Sunday night at 7pm.

And yes, we know that putting this opinion and poll out there invites a sort of rebuttal from the parallel universe. Sometimes MBC features properties we think are overpriced and they go quickly anyway. So we've added an option to the poll – if you think MBC was wrong to pick these homes as crazily priced, you can say MBC's the most delusional of all.

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