Zillow Estimate Update

By Dave Fratello | September 23rd, 2013

About 5 weeks ago, we proposed to have MBC track Zillow's accuracy by following several (then) new listings. We'd see how Zillow's estimates from then compared against actual sold prices later.

(You may have missed that mid-August post while on vacation – here's the link: "Testing Zillow's Estimates.")

We now have one sold property to look at, and a little further info.

The sold property is 509 N. Dianthus (4br/3ba, 2150 sq. ft.), a remodel in the eastern part of the Hill Section with city views.

This listing launched at $1.625M publicly, while Zillow was counseling that it might sell for $1.746M.

The verdict from the market? A sale price of $1.620M shows that the agent and homeowners had it right.

Zillow had shot high by 7%.

How does that result stack up?

By Zillow's own self-reporting, they are within 5% about 1/3rd of the time.

This time, no.

Interestingly, Zillow's robots don't yet know that Dianthus sold. (Here's the property on Zillow.) They've adjusted the Zestimate downward a bit, though, to $1.709M. That new estimate is exactly 5% over the sold price. So with a little internal self-correction, Zillow's just about in their target range of +/-5%, even if they were high at the time the property was first offered.

As we move on to update you further, here's the full list of properties we're tracking, with the Zestimates included in the grid:

ADDRESSBD/BASQFTLOTSTART  ZESTIMATESTART
1202 Tennyson Street #1 3/3 1755 13120 $870,000     $1,231,970 08/12/13
1509 Magnolia Avenue 3/2 1342 4867 $1,349,000     $1,079,017 08/08/13
1300 12th Street #d 2/3 1130 11928 $699,000     $683,492 08/06/13
594 33rd Street 6/6 3500 5023 $2,899,000     $2,313,612 08/05/13
1027 Boundary Place 4/4 3263 4212 $1,980,000     $1,811,135 08/01/13
3201 Palm Avenue 3/3 2469 4637 $1,775,000     $1,765,274 08/01/13
509 North Dianthus Street 4/3 2157 3251 $1,625,000     $1,746,052 08/01/13
1757 Voorhees Avenue 4/3 2460 7498 $1,425,000     $1,479,691 07/30/13
112 18th Street 6/7 4237 2693 $5,195,000     $4,270,400 07/29/13
25 Sausalito Circle 3/3 2050 3915 $1,685,000     $1,272,286 07/27/13
1336 2nd Street 3/2 1223 5001 $1,100,000     $1,045,625 07/25/13
1806 Marine Avenue 3/2 1147 5076 $899,000     $945,996 07/22/13

As it happens, the top 5 on that list are all in escrow, and the bottom 5 are all active, still looking for buyers.

509 Dianthus is the only closed sale. 3201 Palm went into escrow but canceled – we're not sure of the story there.

Out of the properties in escrow, 3 of the 5 are not going to be close to the Zestimates if/when they close. We stipulated that up front in the first post: 1202 Tennyson, a condo, appeared to be getting too much credit for the listed lot size; 1509 Magnolia had just been completely redone, but Zillow didn't know that; and 594 33rd is new construction, a fact which also seemed to escape the computers.

Of the 5 active listings, there's 1757 Voorhees, the once-a-FSBO listing, which has cut to $1.380M, now $100K under the Zestimate from August, but no deal yet.

Also, there have been price cuts at 25 Sausalito Circle ($1.625M), 1336 2nd ($999K) and 1806 Marine ($875K). Sausalito is still way above its Zestimate, the owners feeling very proud of their spectacular remodel and not interested in $1.3-ish pricing. The bland 2nd St. house is now $45K under its Zestimate, and Marine is $70K below.

We're certain that there is interest in 112 18th, despite the $5.2M pricetag (almost $1M above the Zestimate), but something will have to happen to make a deal go ahead.

As we see more market action and closed sales, we'll come back to this and see how Zillow's doing in guesstimating Manhattan Beach real estate values.

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