Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Redondo Beach Townhomes for Sale

Last weekend I spent some time with buyer clients viewing detached townhouses for sale in North Redondo Beach 90278. Nothing unusual about that because if I'm not doing an open house at one of my listings, chances are that I'm with buyers viewing other people's listings.

What is interesting, at least to me, is how fractured the market has become relative to absolutely inconsistent pricing and marketing of properties. Or, as I've been known to say, there's just enough data available to the public for buyers and sellers to become totally confused.

Let me start out with the 2 on a lots we saw and then I want to make some comments about 3 on a lots.

A property I really liked is 2206 Huntington Lane Unit A (pictured above). It is your standard detached late 80's floorplan with three bedrooms upstairs. There is both an eat in area in the kitchen and a dining room. I have seem this floor plan nicely remodeled with the kitchen opened up to the dining room creating an even greater open area. There are three decent sized bedroom upstairs and the master has a fireplace (in addition to the fireplace downstairs). This unit is in nice move in condition and faces south. It is priced 1917 sq ft and priced at $759,000 which seems reasonable out of the gate. But when I went back and looked at some comps, not so sure.

Here's why:

Recent 90278 3 Bedroom Townhouse Sales
These 3 bedrooms all sold in the last 120 days under the listing price of 2206 Huntington. Even the closest in price, 2209 Dufour, sold for about $15K less even though it is about 100 sq ft larger. Marshallfield has a different floorplan (but it is in Jefferson). 2019 Havemeyer is very similar to another detached 3 bedroom we viewed, 2225 Nelson which is listed at $690K and is in (in my humble opinion) absolutely trashed condition with a room addition that may or may not be permitted jutting into the backyard. Nelson is listed by an out of area agent and I just don't see non "Beach" agents getting the intricacies of our local pricing.

So where this gets confusing for the public is when you see attached 3 on a lots selling for higher than the detached 2's, or at least listed for more. A good example would be let's say 2222 Rockefeller Unit B (pictured) which is listed for $735K, It is a 3 bedrooms, 1792 s1 ft, middle unit. So more density, no yard (or terrace), but newer. In fact I can think of a number of 3 bedroom 3 on a lots that have sold for higher than these detached 2's (including some of my own sales).

I refer to this phenomenon as "price inversion". My phrase for when a property sells for more than what has historically been a comp. Or maybe I should say "ostensibly" is a comp.

Right now when comparing newer 3 on a lot 3 bedroom townhomes to older 2 on a lot 3 bedroom townhomes you have to factor in the cost of updates. On an approximately 2000 sq ft property you could easily spend $20K on (very) nice engineered hardwood floors. A full kitchen remodel can easily run another $30-50K. So to bring these older properties up to comparable condition to a home built after 2000 can easily be a $50,000 investment (or more).

For those buyers who think the market is slowing down, here's what's going on.

As of today, there are 55 North Redondo Beach listings but only 22 of them have been on the market for less than 30 days and only 9 new listings the last 7 calendar days. So far this month, there have been 18 closed escrows. I'm expecting a flurry of activity over the remaining 10 days this month including 4 of my own sales to close in North Redondo Beach but I would be very surprised if we got much over 50 sales this month meaning that we're still running at about a month or so of inventory. Unfortunately the absorption rate is somewhat misleading because as indicated above 60% of the listings are over 30 days old and 19 (34.5%) are over 60 days old.
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Monday, October 13, 2014

News and Updates Redondo Beach Real Estate: Week of 10.6.2014

How does 5-5-5 sound? That's the number of new listings, closings, and pendings this week in North Redondo Beach CA.  Ironically the number of expired, withdrawn, cancelled, and held listings was higher than the new listings: 8-5. What's going on?

As I've been writing about the last few posts, it seems that the market for home sales in North Redondo Beach is slowing as we head into the the winter holiday season. Also as I've mentioned before, things are not slow for me. I currently have 4 N Redondo Beach listings in escrow. Here's what is going on.

Many Sellers are still trying to push the prices up and Buyers are pushing back against any and all over pricing. In other words, business as usual.

This doesn't mean that if you have a home to sell with some unique features and amenities that you can't get top dollar. For example, I am selling a few Casner townhomes that are each unique in their own way and bringing top dollar for resales in this market. But not every property will get that response and as a seller you have to price your listing at or below the market and not "test the market".

Speaking of which there were also 3 price reductions which only means one thing - no takers at the previous price because it was either too high or there is something else wrong. As of today, 60 active MLS listings in N Redondo Beach, 59 in escrow but only 34 sold over the last 30 days. So, more or less we're creeping up to 2 months of inventory on hand. Do I hear more price reductions anyone?

NEW LISTINGS WEEK OF 10.6.2014

Redondo Beach New MLS Listings Week of 10.6.2014

Interesting new entires between $600K and $930K. Probably the $799K price point is about right for 1980's Golden Hills Tall and Skinnies these days. The floor plan with only 2 bathrooms, ie the "master" is shared with guests on the second floor has been a tough sell as of late as has the first block in from Aviation of late. The other Golden Hills listing at 1608 Lomax I don't get at all for $849K even though it has been very nicely updated and you can walk to Jefferson. Views or not,  it is less than 1500 sq ft and only two baths. On a positive note, at least with a smaller footprint house you have a little larger back yard.

1805 Harriman Unit A is an older variation of my listing at 2117 Huntington: 2750 sq ft attached front unit 2 on a lot townhouse with 4 bedrooms. Harriman is just old enough that it needs updates (the gold hardware and trim in the bathrooms, white appliances in the kitchen). I think $899K would have been more accurate pricing even though it does have A/C which considering how hot it has been this October is a good thing!

SOLD WEEK OF 10.6.2014

So as previously mentioned, there were five closed sales last week. Okay, it was first week of the month but that would put us considerably off the yearly pace. The closed sales reflect the market 30-60 days ago and here's what we have:


These Redondo Beach listings closed escrow last week
1701 Morgan has been an interesting listing (other than the sideways picture). It started out too high. Way too high at $949K (with a 2%, less than standard, commission for the selling agent). Its your reverse floor plan Golden Hills 19080's Tall and Skinny with the extra half bath. Lowered to $849K, it sold.

2512 Spreckels is your typical "El Nido" 19050's 3/1/ SFR remodeled and went for $695K. Interesting pricing going on right now just north and south of 190th. If we put this house over in West Torrance it may have gone for $50K - $75K more more. 90503 has become one of the hottest zip codes in the South Bay for SFRs. Inventory is very low and multiple offers are common. Anyway back to Spreckels. Nicely remodeled and updated and listing by Nordine. You may know that name from when Leo was the REO king a few years ago but that market has dried up for sure.

Quick pricing guide.

Expect to pay low to mid $8's for a decent 1980's Golden Hills Tall and Skinny with some updates. New homes built in the '90s or this century can bring in the $9's and with any extra amenities, ie a loft or a 4th bedroom or standard floor plan, expect to pay high $9's or break $1M. That being said I totally don't get the Amir Amiri contemporaries on Clark.

Newer detached 4 bedroom 2 on a lots are selling low $9's to over $1M. Older properties mid to high $8's and about $850K is the new normal for attached remodeled units.

The 3 on a lot market is all over the place with 4 bedroom units being in high demand particularly if they are larger and newer. Of course everyone wants the "C" unit with the backyard. Recently I sold a  C Unit 4 bedroom for a little over $800K. Meanwhile older and smaller 3 bedrooms can sell in the $600's. Some newer B units are listed close to and over $700K. Good luck with those unless they have exceptional features or are very new.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Housing Update North Redondo Beach CA: Inventory Rising, Sales Slowing

Redondo Beach CA Craftsman SFR
After the torrid pace that we saw earlier this year and during the spring and early summer, there's no doubt that sales activity is leveling off. Unfortunately, this is not helping buyers at all (at this point) as many sellers continue to over price their listings.

Currently there are 64 active MLS listings and 61 in escrow (MLS status backup or pending). Of the current active North Redondo Beahc litsings, 23 are Single Family Homes (SFR) with the balance being Townhomes and Condominiums. On average these homes have been on the market for 53 days and are listed at $785K.

During September 40 homes closed escrow in North Redondo Beach. Year to date including September 375 homes closed. At this rate we'll more or less end up with about the same number of closings as 2013 which was 511.

During September, the most expensive house that sold in North Redondo Beach was a 5 bedroom, 5 bath, 3675 SFR on a 10,000 sq ft lot with a pool at 2417 Ives in the El Nido neighborhood. (Pictured above.) This spectacular Craftsmen style SFR was built in 2000 and also featured a separate 1 bedroom guest house and a 3 car garage plus RV parking. It started out at $1,425,000 and eventually sold for $1,350,000. Merit Real Estate was the listing agent.

North Redondo Beach Million Dollar Home Sales 9.2014
Including 2417 Ives, there were 9 sales over $1M in N Redondo Beach. If I count the one that closed at $999K, then 25% of the North Redondo Beach sales were at $999,000 or over one million. That's fairly stupendous and should show where prices are headed at the beach. If I ratchet back to $899K, we're at 40% of the sales being at essentially $900K or more. We're talking about N Redondo and those are big numbers. So, still comparatively affordable but who knows for how long.

Exactly half of the properties, 20, sold for the asking price or higher. But those prices for the most part reflect the market 60 days ago and we may be entering a different cycle right now.

Of the 64 active Real Estate listings, 25 have already had price reductions. Of the 61 in escrow, 24 have had price reductions. So clearly many sellers are discovering that the only way to sell is to reduce the price first.

Curiously, or maybe not so, many price reductions occur at the lower or medium price points where sellers may be getting just a little too far ahead of the market a little too soon.  My best advice to anyone selling their home right now is to price right.

Golden Hills (MLS Area 154) continues to be hot with most Tall and Skinny SFRs finding new buyers relatively quickly. 1750 Dixon sold for $827,000 which I thought was a good deal after initially being listed for $808K which I think was too low. 1811 Goodman went for $839K. Kind of interesting pricing on these two. I think Dixon could have sold for a few dollars more if it started higher but probably Goodman started too high. Who knows.

1717 Morgan Lane which is just a little bit newer sold for a lot more: $900,000 after being listed for $920K which was definitely too high. That house is just a little bit newer but had new pipes, decks, roof and more. I can tell you that those upgrades are more extensive to do than you might think and time consuming as well.

All of these properties are your standard Tall and Skinny with the reverse floorplan (living upstairs, 2 beds down). Speaking of Tall and Skinny houses and pricing, the 2 Amir Amiri new construction units on Clark look like they are still sitting. If you recall, these are 4 bedrooms standard floor plans houses priced at $1,195,000 and $1,245,000. I'll be curious what the seller adjust the price to when it becomes apparent that people to not want to live next to Joe Kerby's auto repair. (Nothing against Joe mind you.)
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Redondo Beach Real Estate: Top Agents are Listing and Selling Homes

Ellis Posner 3 on a lot listing Carnegie Lane
I've heard some buyers say that they think the market is slowing down. Well maybe, but not for me (thankfully) and lots of other active Redondo Beach Real Estate Agents. My four current Redondo Beach listings are in escrow and 3 of them sold either before they hit the MLS or within one week of being on the market. These were all great properties and my clients listened to my advice as to how to best present their homes for sale and how to price.

As for everyone else, well there were 11 new listings, down a little from the last few weeks, 12 pendings and 14 homes closed escrow. There's no doubt that inventory is creeping up but so are the price points. I have one 3 on a lot listing in escrow that will sell for slightly more than $800K (pictured) and a 2 on a lot  selling for over $1,000,000. In fact, one of the major surprises to me about recent sales is that we are now seeing consistent activity in million dollar plus homes in North Redondo Beach and those two thoughts were never in the same sentence previously.

Just in September alone there have been 9 closed sales in North Redondo Beach of homes above $1M with the highest being at $1.350M. Four of the sales have been detached townhouses and 5 are single family homes. Five of the sales are in MLS Area 151 North of Artesia Blvd, 3 in MLS Area 152 and one in Area 153 "El Nido". Three of the sales were five bedroom homes and 3 were over 3000 square feet. Six of the properties were built since 2000. So, you kind of see where this is going: newer, larger closer to Manhattan Beach, you are most likely really in the money.

North Redondo Beach Luxury Home Sales $1M Plus
What's driving this is that, as I have stated multiple times previously, North Redondo Beach has historically been one of the best values in coastal Los Angeles County. The combination of the proximity to jobs, freeways, beaches, and the (mostly) excellent schools, and other amenities make this a great choice for home buyers.

Speaking of price escalation, the 3 on a lot that I sold for over $800K is a newer, larger, Casner Construction, 4 bedroom which is what brought the premium price. For my fellow Redondo Beach Realtors, here's an observation and thought. With the recent price escalation I have definitely seen more West Side and closer to home Manhattan Beach agents being active in our neighborhood. Hopefully Buyers and Sellers recognize that we are still the local experts.

Do I hear $1.5M in North Redondo Beach anyone?

Redondo Beach High End Luxury Townhome for Sale - Listed by Ellis Posner
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Redondo Beach Realty Update: Week of 9.15.2014

Remodeled Kitchen 2105 Mathews Unit 12
A little slowdown in new listings compared to the first two weeks of the month with nine homes entering the MLS including my listing at 3303 Johnston Ave which went into escrow virtually immediately (another one of my off market "pocket" sales) and my new listing at 2105 Mathews Ave Unit 12 (pictured) which will be open Sat-Sun Sept 20-21st from 1 to 4 PM and yes I will be there.

Another eight properties went into escrow and six closed escrow leaving us with 24 home sales closed through the first 20 days, a staggering 59 currently in escrow and 78 active listings which is certainly more inventory than we've seen earlier in the year.

Buyers are interpreting the buildup of inventory as a "slowdown" but I'm not so sure as long as we are seeing about an equal number of properties come on the market as go into escrow. What I do see happening is that some sellers are getting ahead of the market and pricing their properties considerably higher than they should be. I've written about that previously because it is a mistake that may ultimately cost the seller. The idea of "testing the market" or "leaving room to negotiate" just isn't the right strategy today. Price your listing to sell.

NEW LISTINGS 

My listing at 2105 Mathews Unit 12 is a great deal and not just because I listed it! Really. Here's what I said about it in the MLS:
2105 Mathews Unit 12 Redondo Beach Townhouse for Sale
"If you are looking for a unique, huge, updated, open and bright townhouse in a great location, this 2071 square foot (btv), three level 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath end unit with a a terrific floor plan is it. The remodeled kitchen features special order cabinets with self closing drawers, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, recessed and under cabinet lighting, and a breakfast bar plus an eat in nook. There is a separate dining area, full bath, and bedroom on the same level plus a great room living area. Upstairs are 2 bedrooms including the master with its own balcony and 2 more full baths. Downstairs on the main entry level is a huge bonus room that is perfect for an office, family room, home theater, or anything else you can think of. The lower level also includes another updated half bath, washer and dryer hookups, and extra storage. Direct access 2 car garage and located in the rear of the complex for peace and privacy. This home is conveniently located close to freeways, top notch schools, and just 10 minutes to the beach. It’s an easy walk to shopping, restaurants, Starbucks, the grocery store, library and more. This is a great opportunity to get more space than you thought you would in this price range. Put this one on your list to see!"

It is priced at $649K which makes it extremely competitive with 3 on a lots priced that are substantially smaller. Some buyers will cleverly over look it because it is on Mathews near the Albertson's but that would be a mistake because it is in the back of the complex and very quiet. FYI, Zillow has it at $775K "Zestimate", which is most likely $100K higher than it will sell for.

I wrote about the Amir Amiri new construction on Clark last week and I am fairly blown away by the pricing all things considered. These are 4 bedroom Tall & Skinny SFR priced at and above $1.2M



1615 Clark Lane is listed at $1,195,000 for a 4 bedroom 1934 standard floor plan SFR and 1617 Clark Lane is priced at a staggering $1,245,000. Don't get me wrong, I like these properties but not crazy about the location but there are a number of other Redondo Beach homes I would buy before I shelled out this much for these properties.


MID $900's is the "NEW NORMAL"


Redondo Beach CA detached 2 on a lot Townhouse
For newer detached standard cookie cutter floor plan two on a lots. Example is 2417 Clark Lane Unit A. Built in 2005 "this Front Unit, detached townhome brings private, single-family appeal to this newer home. The private backyard and spacious front yard boast custom stone features, grass and beautiful landscaping. The home design provides extra space between the neighboring homes adding a unique bonus compared to standard townhomes. Plantation shudders in almost every room are combined with wood, travertine and new carpet flooring intelligently placed throughout. 4 bedrooms, all upstairs, provide the perfect, modern layout. The downstairs layout opens to the beautiful backyard and keeps the living space bright, open and airy. Other prime features include: Crown and baseboard molding throughout; family room surround-sound speakers; granite counter tops in kitchen and bathrooms; extra-large master suite including large sitting area; upstairs laundry room; recessed lighting throughout. The curb appeal here is terrific. This is the best looking house on a block of great looking houses. Terrific neighbors! This close-knit neighborhood gives the sense of neighborly warmth. The small, beautifully manicured park on the block provides a great open area for local residents to enjoy time right outside of their homes." Priced at $969,000 which is as I said the "new normal" and all things considered still a pretty good deal.


CLOSED HOME SALES


As I mentioned 6 homes closed escrow. Nothing particularly outstanding or unique here. A lot of demand for anything right around or under $600K and new detached townhouses with 2111 Curtis selling for $987,000 (down from $999,000). There's a lo of turnover in "V-C-R" my acronym for Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller. If you throw Grant into the mix those 4 blocks are the most activity historically in N Redondo because of affordability and density.

The detached 2 on a lot on Curtis was "built by renowned Mark La Charite Homes in 2010. Mediterranean floor plan with all 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms & laundry room upstairs. Gorgeous gourmet kitchen with commercial grade Jenn-Air stainless steel appliances and granite slab countertop. Granite counters also in powder bath and master bath. Spacious living room with gas fireplace. Beautiful Brazilian cherry hardwood floors throughout downstairs. Brand new carpet upstairs....Huge master suite with gas fireplace, separate sitting area with built-in bookshelves and balcony, spa tub and enormous walk-in closet. Beautiful custom wrought iron inside and out. Beautiful random-stamped pattern showcased in driveway and rear yard. Fenced backyard for outdoor grilling & entertaining. Attached 2 car garage. Custom shutters throughout upstairs & downstairs. A fantastic family home conveniently located near parks,restaurants, and beaches."

IN ESCROW WEEK OF 9.15.2014

Eight properties had accepted offers with the MLS pricing being in the historical sweet spot for N Redondo Beach between $500-$800K. As I mentioned my "pocket" listing on Johnston was really sold "off market" as I often do. I am not representing the buyers but I do market my pre-listed properties to my own clients and other Realtors I network with. Johnston is a great deal that is more or less being sold for close to or below lot value. It is an enormous 8000 plus sq ft lot on a lot with no homes behind it located in the "TRW" tract near Manhattan Beach Blvd but not too close to Inglewood Ave.

A few properties that had been lingering on the market for quite a while finally went into escrow including  2121 Farrell, 700 Meyer, and 2606 Huntington.

if you or anyone you know is thinking of Buying or Selling in Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, or Manhattan Beach you owe it to yourself to talk to me. There is a difference in Realtors!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homes for Sale North Redondo Beach CA Real Estate Week of 9/8/2014

The torrid pace of new listings continues with 21 homes hitting the MLS the week of 9.1.2014 up from 16 the week before (which I thought was high). Two of the new listings went into escrow in the first few days so the net new inventory gain is 19 homes.

As of Sunday morning there are now 78 properties on the market, up from 73 last week. We might see the same results next week. I know that I'm putting 2 new listings out: 2105 Mathews Unit 12 and 3303 Johnston Av. More on those later.

Last week 13 homes went into escrow (including on of mine), and 8 properties sold. So compared to the prior week, the same number of homes sold, more went into escrow, and more were recently listed. Market slowdown? I don't think so. At least not at the beach.

N REDONDO BEACH HOMES SOLD WEEK OF 9.8.2014

Closed sales last week ranged in price from $430,000 up to $1,019,000 with the median being $675,500. That was significantly skewed down by the $430K sale. Taking that out of the equation, the median was $720,000 which is probably more indicative of a reasonable expectation to buy a decent North Redondo Beach 3 bedroom (townhouse).

So what do you get for $430K? 952 sq ft "fixer" on Kingsdale across the street from the Galleria Mall. Curiously I always thought that was the "Torrance" part of 90278 but apparently it is Redondo Beach Schools over there as well. I just showed the "sister" house this morning and that one needs a backhoe more than a buyer. I always say that when they don't show the inside there is a reason. Mold on the walls, no kitchen or floors is a pretty good reason.

At the extreme other end of the spectrum is the gorgeous detached front unit townhouse at 2115 Clark Lane Unit A (pictured above) that sold for $1,019,000 (down from $1.039M). That property which was just built in 2009 with a Tuscany elevation features the standard detached 2 on a lot floor plan with 4 bedrooms upstairs. This home also features a roof deck which is rather rare for North Redondo Beach. Front units feature front and rear yards and this property is the usual "builders data" 2585 sq ft.

Of the properties that sold there were 5 SFRs and 3 townhomes. 2520 Grant was the rare Hoffman Murphy listing that sold for the list price and not above. Curiously the buyer had put an offer in on one of my listings and then cancelled. I wonder what the timing of that may have been. Hmnn.

IN ESCROW WEEK OF SEPT 8th

Fairly strong activity with 13 listings opening escrow last week. One of my favorite properties is 1114 Harper on one of my favorite blocks in North Redondo Beach just at the Hermosa border. Actually when that Tall & Skinny SFR was new in 2007, I almost bought it. Located just a stones throw from Hermosa Beach, it is a great property. Listed for $939,000 it is 1889 sq ft with a reverse floorplan. Lasted on the market 3 days. Wow. Golden Hills is HOT!

Also quickly in escrow was 2512 Spreckels Lane in the "El Nido" neighborhood. This is your classic 1950's 3/1 SFR on a 5000 sq ft lot. My prediction is that the SFRs in MLS Area 153 will come up in price as they are now selling for the most part for less than similar homes in the Torrance West High or Southwood neighborhoods. Curiously this standard sale was listed by Leo Nordine who is known for REOs and foreclosures. The house was priced at $695,000.

1306 Phelan was initially priced at $1,135,000 but as soon as it was lowered to $1,099,000 they got an offer. That property is a detached 2 on a lot townhouse with no common driveway built in 2007. It has 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and the appraiser says it is 2760 sq ft.

I was really surprised to see 2100 Speyer scooped up so quickly. That house is a 3536 sq ft SFR on a 7502 sq ft lot in the El Nido neighborhood. It has 5 bedrooms and 3.75 baths and was built in 2009. It sits high on a corner. Finish work (marble, tons of wrought iron), just not my style. List price $1,449,000.

NEW LISTINGS WEEK OF 9.8.2014


NEW LISTING COMING NEXT WEEK

I have 2 new listings coming out. The first is an over 2000 sq ft 3 level end unit attached townhouse at 2105 Mathews. It has a great kitchen remodel and a unique floorplan with 2 bedrooms on the upper level, living room, dining room, eat in kitchen and bedroom on the middle level and a huge bonus room downstairs. It will be priced in the mid $6's but we expect it to get bid up closer to $700K. Also coming is a SFR at 3303 Johnston that I may have in escrow before it hits the MLS. It is a 3/2 SFR, about 1400+ sq ft on an 8300 sq ft lot. It will be priced in the low $7's.

Not on the MLS yet but expect to see the "Amir Amiri" SFRs on Clark (pictured above and below) hit the market next week also. These are 4 bedroom very contemporary homes standard floorplans - all bedrooms upstairs. I just don;t get the pricing which I am told will be a little above $1.2M. Really? I would have bought Harper or any number of other properties first. We'll see.

If you are surprised to see some N Redondo Beach prices creeping above $1M, don't be. With Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach priced out of most buyer's budgets, North Redondo Beach has become increasingly desirable. I am seeing some very curious examples of pricing inversion though with some resales selling for as much or more than new construction, South Redondo Beach townhomes offering significantly more than some Tall and Skinny Golden Hills properties, and as I mentioned above relative to the El Nido neighborhood, some North Redondo Beach older '50s tract SFR selling for less than their counterparts in Torrance. Sure is fun.
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Redondo Beach 90278 Homes for Sale: Sales Activity Week of 9/1/2014

There was a crush of new listings in North Redondo Beach (90278) last week with 16 properties hitting the MLS, one of which went into escrow after 3 days for a net new of 15. Additionally 7 more properties either were re-listed, had price reductions or increases or were otherwise "churned" somehow showing up with new listings. Some of this burst of activity was no doubt due to properties that were held off the market the previous week due to the long Labor Day weekend.

Eight properties closed escrow this week (remember that Monday was a legal holiday and nothing happened) and 6 homes went into escrow (MLS status "backup or pending").

As of this blog post there are currently 73 homes listed for sale in North Redondo Beach CA. This compares to 76 in South Redondo Beach, 35 in Hermosa Beach, and 60 in Manhattan Beach. For North Redondo Beach this is the most inventory I've seen on the market in quite a while.

Let's take a deeper dive into the recent sales activity.

REDONDO BEACH HOMES SOLD WEEK OF 9.1.2014

North Redondo Beach Sales Week of 9.1.2014
The eight properties that closed escrow ranged in price from $475,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath at 2413 Carnegie Lane up to $1,019,000 for a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath detached 2 on a lot townhouse built in 2012 at 2222 Bataan Road in MLS Area 151 "Villas North". The median price was $874,500 and the average price was $812,487. Average days on market (DOM) was 39. MLS Area 151 "Villas North" recorded 5 sales while there were 2 in "Villas South" of Artesia (MLS Area 152) and one in Golden Hills. No sales in "El Nido".

But here's the analysis you really need whether you are buying or selling.

Four properties sold above the asking price, 3 of which were below the average or median sales price. Another four sold below the listing price and all of those were above the average sales price. So what should that tell you? Basically that prices will tend to gravitate towards the median or average.

The 2 bedroom on Carnegie that was the lowest priced sale was listed at $469K and sold for $475K for cash (assume investor) in 11days. 2512 Curtis #4 was listed for $599K and sold for $607,000. 1916 Marshallfiled Unit A was listed for $699,900 and sold for $719,000 and 2112 Bataan Rd Unit B was listed for $899,999 and sold for $910K.

These four are excellent examples of my advice to sellers: price your home just below the relevant "comps" and if possible within the top half of $50K search quadrants and "the market" will bid the price up. You DO NOT have to price higher than you really will accept (yes I know you want as much as possible) to "leave room to negotiate".

Let's look at the 4 that sold for less than the MLS list prices.

Townhouse Sold for over asking price
1811 Goodman in the Redondo Beach Golden Hills was initially priced at $859K. My humble opinion $849,000 would have been a better price out of the gate. It was subsequently reduced to $849K and then sold for $839,000 after 44 days on the market. Surprising to me considering how hot Golden Hills Tall & Skinny SFRs have been.

2302 Vail was listed for $959K and sold for $949K after 48 DOM. This property was advertised as a SFR but is in fact a detached 2 on a lot townhouse (LA County property tax records show use as "condominium".)

These last 2 listings support my notion of NOT going $9-10K over a search bracket; ie list at $749,000 not $759K.

2110 Gates was originally listed for $999K and sold for $950K after a price reduction to $975K. That one really was a 2460 sq ft SFR on a 7504 sq ft lot.

And 2222 Bataan sold for $1,019,000 after 43 days as I mentioned. That listing started at $1,049,000.

IN ESCROW N REDONO BEACH WEEK OF SEPT 1st

These listings went into escrow this week
Of the six homes that went into escrow, 4 had already had price reductions and 3 were on the market for longer than 56 days including 2700 185th St which was listed for a whopping 167 days. Ouch. That 3 bedroom 1 bath 1034 sq ft SFR on a 5449 sq ft lot in the El Nido neighborhood started at $619K and you know what I think of that pricing methodology. It really should have been at $599K to start. Most recent list price was $574,900. We'll see what it finally sells for. I'm guessing less.

Another one with bad pricing was 2219 Rockefeller Unit B which originally started at $685K and was lowered to $665K. And its a SHORT SALE. Price it at $599K, not the retail price. Short sales are supposed to be "deals".

Here's an example of how sometimes numbers lie and as I am known to say, there's just enough real estate information available on the internet to get the public totally confused.

2321 Vanderbilt originally was listed for $675K on May 16th yet it only shows 17 "days on market". How could that be. It was put on hold numerous times before it was finally reduced in price to $560K. It is a probate sale and this one requires court confirmation which is not for the uninitiated or feint of heart. Particularly if you are a a first time buyer.

NEW 90278 MLS LISTINGS WEEK OF SEPT 1st


As I started out mentioning, a flood of new inventory here. There's a few properties I really like.

2004 Harriman Ln Unit B has one of my favorite floor plans for detached 2 on a lot townhomes. This is the layout with the extra bonus room at the top of the stairs on the second floor. Expect the usual crown molding, plantation shutters, coffered ceilings, stucco arches, double ovens, and everything else jammed into these mini mansions. This particular property has A/C which I think is becoming more and more useful these days and while it was built in 2004, has had numerous updates and upgrades including new stainless steel appliances. Priced at $980K which is where the newer, nicer, detached properties seem to be heading these days.

Resale SFR built in 2012
Speaking of newer and nicer, I always liked 2620 Robinson (pictured left) which was just built in 2012. It is an almost 3000 sq ft (per the builder) Craftsman style 4 bedroom (including one on the main floor) SFR in the TRW tract neighborhood. Priced at $1,399,000 on a 5158 sq ft lot and expect it all including a great open floor plan, quartz counter tops, distressed hardwood, center island kitchen, tankless water heater, backyard, stamped concrete driveway, and ready for A/C (my new theme).

An interesting property is 1204 Mackay Ln priced at $729,000. It reminds me of the before of 1506 Flagler which had been heavily remodeled and they just couldn't seem to give away. Flagler was much further west but possibly that one was a marketing snafu. 1204 Mackay is a 1388 sq ft SFR on a 2502 lot. It's not a Tall and Skinny but does have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (even if they do need some updating). It is listed by Hoffman and Murphy who usually price their listings to sell very quickly the first week. I can't expect that they expect to get multiple offers over the asking price on this one but who knows these days.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Selling a Home in Redondo Beach CA: Avoid these Mistakes

Almost every homeowner has heard that it is a "Seller's Market" for Real Estate, nationally, locally, in LA and at the Beach. If they didn't read it online or in the news or hear it on TV, no doubt dozens of Realtors have door knocked them, cold called or sent some mailing to let them know they "are working with a family looking for a home in their neighborhood". (Yes, sorry sellers, that's just a line Real Estate agents use -  except of course when I say it when it is 100% truthful.)

So seriously, it is a Seller's market. What does that mean? Less than 3 months of available inventory "on hand" ie listed for sale in the MLS. My previous post indicated that at no point over the last year of so have we had more than 3 months of inventory is North Redondo Beach, there were times when it was under one month, and for the most part we have been looking at 1.5 months of available inventory. Currently as of this blog post, there are 70 homes listed for sale in 90278 and there have been 309 sales so far this year. So we've been averaging about 41 sales per month meaning we have 1.7 months of inventory on hand. (Currently 56 properties in escrow - some will fall out.) Seller's Market.

But there are also 39 properties that are over 39 "Days on Market" (DOM), of which 28 have been on the market longer than 45 days, 23 longer than 60 days, and 11 longer than 90 days.  So if you start to factor out the ones that are lingering with no buyers, what you see happening is that a number of properties sell very quickly and others sit. Why. Or more appropriately I could also have titled this Blog Post: Why isn't my Redondo Beach House Selling?

It's a multi-part answer that comes down to 4 factors: Price, Presentation, Marketing, and "Your Property Has Some Really Major Issues".

Let's look at each of these.

PRICE: Speak with the more pessimistic, jaded, Realtors and they'll always tell you it is price. I'm neither pessimistic or jaded but sometimes it is price so don't make this mistake. You home is not worth $25K more than the most recent comp just because the market is going up or there's no inventory or any other of a number of factors that may tend to weigh in your favor. You and your agent need to be brutally honest with yourselves and price it right. By right I mean certainly no more than the most recent comps and if you want offers the first few weeks than 1-3% less than the most recent comps. Here's why. The listing is hottest when it first hits the market. You will get showings and activity but if buyers do not perceive it to be a "deal" they will not write offers and just wait until it gets lowered. On the other hand if the public thinks it is a great deal, you will see offers, often over the asking price and quite frequently a lot of them. I see it all the time. A property that would get no offers if it were listed for $775K gets bid up to close to $800K if it is priced at $749K. I agree that it makes no sense but let's face it, a lot of this is emotional. So if you neighbors home which was identical to yours sold for $849K, price yours at $835K or even better at $829,900. You will be very happy with the outcome.

The response I often get to this methodology is "Don't we need room to negotiate?".  No. Let me repeat that. No, no no. Here's why. Buyers who have missed out on a few properties because they didn't offer enough will be well aware of the value and in order to not miss out again will make an offer over the last best comp. I see it every day. Multiple times. You don't have to go to the extreme of listing it at $799K which I see some agents do (shame on you). Just 1-3% below the most recent comp.

The key to this is being very honest with yourself about the condition of your home vs the currently active competition, what's in escrow and what has sold. If your house has original bathrooms and kitchens and the most recent comp has updated kitchens and bathrooms, make the appropriate adjustments because the buyers most definitely will. Just remember that at the end of the day the "market" not you, not your agent, sets the price.

PRESENTATION: You want to get the highest price possible, make your home as appealing as possible. It may rub some people the wrong way but once you decide to sell, you have to look at your home, all the memories, all the emotions gone and it is now a "product" that has a value that you want to enhance to the greatest extent possible.

So how do you do that?

Well every situation is different but you can most likely start by clearing out the clutter. And getting it professionally cleaned (including the carpets.) And in some instance painting or putting in new flooring. And make necessary repairs. The buyers will want to deduct from the price for the roof that is near the end of life (or water heater or furnace or who knows what). But once those items are updated they go from being negatives that will be deductions to positives that will add value. You will get your money back and more. Why? Because by advertising new roof, newly painted, new furnace you are showing pride of ownership even if you only did it to sell.

So to be clear, I am not recommending doing a major kitchen remodel to sell because for all you know the buyer may have totally different taste than you do. But I am recommending that if the roof is gone, replace it. Plant some nice flowers out front. Yard browned out, put in some grass. You get what I'm talking about.

MARKETING: You know my saying "It takes more than a yard sign and an open house to sell". So what does it really take to sell for the highest price? Massive exposure however you can get it. Hint, that does not mean print ads in the Beach Reporter or Digs. You want the maximum exposure on all the public facing portals (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com), YouTube, a single property website, and every social media site you can leverage.

Part of marketing though is also availability of showings. While open houses are great to make it convenient for buyers (and their agents) to see your home truthfully your buyer is just as likely to come for a showing with their agent. So you have to ask yourself, how do they get in?

If your house is vacant because you or your tenants moved out, the easiest simplest solution is for your agent to put one of those blue "Supra" lockboxes on it allowing access anytime. Well almost anytime as long as the lockbox is not "timed out" to limit access.

If you are living in the home and want to limit access but make it available, your agent can place the lockbox out of site or in a place not easily seen and indicate in the showing instructions in the MLS "call first". That may not prevent some of the pushier agents from coming in unannounced but most people will be respectful and polite.

Lastly is "by appointment only". It keeps out a lot of lookey loos but also maybe a few real buyers. And you agent has to be willing to do the private showings (I am).

"Your Property Has Some Really Major Issues": Ouch. This is a tough one and ultimately the only solution is price as in lower it, lower it and lower it again. We're getting to the point where some North Redondo Beach homes really have what is referred to as "functional obsolescence" meaning that the house might be structurally fine but the floor plan and layout doesn't work anymore and even worse can't be fixed. An example that comes to mind are the older SFRs in the Golden Hills that are more like "long and skinny" than "tall and skinny".  This floorplan has 3 bedrooms upstairs and only one bathroom that is too small by current standards and situated in a way that would make expanding it very costly. And the houses have small one car garages.

Another example of major issue problems are related to location. For example on Inglewood Ave or very close to it. Or under the power lines. Or too close to Aviation.

Redondo Beach CA "Off Market" and Pocket Listings: Townhomes and Houses for Sale

"to die for" kitchen
Every couple of years or so it seems that Real Estate Agents come up with some new preposterous bait and switch hook to attract buyers (I'm sorry to have to say). A few years ago it was that there was a (secret) list of foreclosures that you could only see if you were "working with them". Now the pitch seems to be "I have off market properties that you can see if I am your agent."

Last week I was with some of my buyer clients at an open house in Hermosa Beach CA and I actually over heard the agent working the open house state (in sort of hushed tones as if he was sharing a major trade secret) "you know 50% of the sales in Hermosa are private and done off market. You really have to be working with someone like me to get one of those." Really? Fifty percent? I don't think so.

Which leads me to another one of my favorite questions: "Do these agents really believe this stuff when they say it?" It reminds me of the old joke: What's the difference between a used car salesman and a Real Estate Agent? The used car salesman knows he's lying!

So after that great intro I want to tell you about a few pocket listings that I can sell now "off market" before they hit the MLS lol. Oh, you can only get these if you are working with me! Really.

Hardwood Floors
The first is a "C" Unit Casner built in 2006. It is a rear unit 3 on a lot that's about 2000 sq ft +/-. It  has 4 bedrooms, 2 up and 2 down and 3 full baths. Amazing finish work and upgrades. The kitchen (pictured above) is as the say "to die for" (but I'd prefer not to right now) with double ovens, beautiful counters and back splash and larger than some Tall and Skinny SFRs in the Golden Hills-Golden Triangle neighborhood. The great room and dining room have real hardwood floors. The rear yard is somewhat over size as 3 on a lot townhouses go. Many of the rooms face west so there is ample light in the afternoon and throughout the day. When it hits the market in about mid September, it will be priced in the high $7's. But you can buy it now for $800,000. And here's the rub about many off market sales. The seller wants to make sure they are getting top price to not expose it to the greatest number of potential buyers possible. Fair enough.

Redondo Beach TRW Tract
The second one is a 1400 sq ft single family house in the "TRW" tract of North Redondo Beach 90278. If you are not familiar with the neighborhood I am referring to, the "TRW" tract is found south of Manhattan Beach Blvd, west of Inglewood Ave, east of Vail and north of Robinson. Got that?

If not, look at the North Redondo Beach 90278 map and go to the north east quadrant and look for streets like Dow, Beland, Pinckard, etc. That's where I'm talking about.

So my pocket listing in that neighborhood is a perfect project for a flipper. The house is a 3 bedroom 2 bath on an 8000 sq ft lot (huge). Make no mistake, the house needs work. Here's the good news. My client will sell it for around $700K off market if he can get certain terms (call me for details). Similar houses in great shape could sell for the high $8's or even $9's. So just about workable for a flipper or a great deal for someone looking for a major remodel project.

Up next we have a huge over 2000 sq ft 3 level townhouse built in the late '70s with a very unique floorplan. On the main level when you walk in downstairs there is a huge open bonus room off the garage as well as a bathroom and separate laundry room plus storage. On the middle level you will find the living room, dining room, remodeled kitchen and one bedroom as well as a bathroom. The kitchen was nicely remodeled a few years ago and is quite nice. There is also a nice deck off the living room.

On the third level you'll find 2 more bedrooms, including the master. This is a quiet end unit off the street. The townhouse is located in MLS Area 151 North of Artesia Blvd and will be priced in the $6's with a target in the high $600's.

So are these really "pocket listings" only available to the select few? Yes and no.

I'm not trying to "hoard" these or double end them. Here's the reality of what happens.

TRW Pocket Listing SFR
Most sellers and their agents know weeks or in some cases months in advance that a property will be listed for sale. The lag time often has to do with making repairs, scheduling, vacations, job transfers, uplegs and a ton of other reasons. The typical discussion with a seller may go something like this: "if I can bring you buyer willing to pay (some premium over) list price, would you be willing to sell it before we hit the market." Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no. Or what often happens is that if the seller sees they can get X dollars with only a few showings then they surmise that with more showings they will get X plus. Possible but more likely that buyer is willing to pay more than you can get on the open market because of the exclusivity factor.

So, a few take aways from all this. First, don't mistake properties that agents know about that will be listed, their own listings or others, with those that are for sale and will never hit the market. Not one and the same and two entirely different beasts. Second, buying "off market" may save you the counter offer multiple offer two step but isn't likely to equate to a huge price advantage. The "win" is getting the deal.

So if you are interested in buying an "off market" pocket listing.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Redondo Beach Real Estate Market Update: Are Sales Slowing Down?

Months of Housing Inventory N Redondo Beach
So there's a lot of chatter recently that the housing market has "softened". Really? I guess it depends on what your expectations are and whether you are buying or selling real estate. As for Redondo Beach, it is still, for the most part, a seller's market. Having said that, let me also add that buyers aren't just writing offers on anything that comes on the market and sellers can't arbitrarily set prices not supported by facts and comps.

Let's start with the facts, because, well numbers don't lie (for the most part). Of course they can be cleverly manipulated but I'm just not that clever.

During July there were 50 closed escrows in North Redondo Beach 90278. The most expensive property sold was for an even $1.3M and the least expensive was a mobile home in the park on 190th. So even taking the mobile out of the equation, that would be 49 sales. The median sale price, with or without the mobile is right around $750K. 

By comparison, the were 42 sales in June, 43 in May and 52 in April. Median prices were $715K, $715K, and $730K respectively. So based on those numbers looks like the market is fairly stable to me.

Currently as of this blog post, per the MLS there are 56 properties in escrow in North Redondo Beach and 10 listings have closed escrow in 99278 during the first 10 days. Looks like another month of 40-50 home sales is taking shape. 

For Sale vs Sold Real Estate Listings
So why the perception that the real estate market at the beach has slowed or softened. Well for one thing there are currently 70 active MLS listings for sale in 90278 and that is somewhat more inventory than buyers (and agents) have been seeing. But, make no mistake we are still in a seller's market. Let me define that again for those who have not been following my posts.

In Real Estate, a seller's market is less than 90 days of inventory on hand. So, with an average sales rate in the mid 40's per month, let's say 45 units, we would need to see 135 MLS listings in North Redondo Beach before we could say it is a "balanced" real estate market. We're simply just not there yet. As the first graphic on this page shows we're running at about 1.5 months of inventory right now and except for a short spike have been below 2 months of inventory for quite while.

So why the perception of a slowdown? A few reasons. First housing prices are not accelerating at the rapid rate they were last year when my buyer clients would literally see the value of their new homes increase by the time they closed escrow 30 days or so after making an offer. Second, there have not been the flood of buyers at open houses - including broker's opens, that there were a few months ago.

Let's look at each of these individually.

As for traffic at listings, with the heat, humidity, and summer vacation scheduled there is no doubt that foot traffic has slowed down somewhat. As schools start up again and people get back from vacations we'll get a good indication over the next few weeks as to how vibrant buyer interest is. But even with the slower traffic what I am definitely seeing is that any listing priced to sell will get multiple offers the first weekend and over list price in most instances. By "priced to sell" I really mean 3-5% below the market.

Average price per sq ft 90278
And to me it is somewhat ironic that with all the information available for buyers on the various portal sites that they have not figured out yet that listing agents are still playing this game. (Truth be told I do it sometimes as well.) 

The second piece of the supposed market slowdown is reflected in the listing prices. As a seller, you can not just add 1-3% to the most recent sale to "test the market" and then expect t get offers the first weekend. If you do get offers they will be lowball ones at that.

What I am feeling is buyer resistance to over exuberant (there's that word again) prices. Also buyer weariness at making multiple offers and not only not getting into escrow but sometimes not even getting a response (counter offer). My rule of thumb is that if I get a fully documented offer at or above the asking price I believe the buyer at least deserves the courtesy of a counter offer. Unless you already have the proverbial offer you can't refuse.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Contemporary Townhouses for Sale in Redondo Beach CA


If you follow me on any of my blog sites or social media you know that I really like modern, contemporary architecture which for the most part we haven't seen enough of in Redondo Beach CA.

But that is starting to change.

I really like the new construction project in South Redondo Beach (yes I know this is a North Redondo blog) located at the corner of Garnet and Prospect. MLS list prices range from $1,449,000 to $1,679,000. These detached townhomes are about 2700-3000 sq ft  and 3-4 bedrooms. Some have ocean views.


Here's how the listing broker, E Real Estate Corp, described one of the units in the MLS:

"Contemporary Elegance at its best! This newly constructed home features approximately 3000 sq. ft. of living space with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and a full service 3 stop elevator. The magnificent gourmet kitchen features Italian Pedini custom kitchen cabinetry, wine cooler, large entertainment island with six burner cooktop and breakfast bar with Viking appliances and Bosch dishwasher. There are spectacular views of Santa Monica Bay, Malibu Hills, Hollywood sign, downtown Los Angeles, mountain white caps, and Long Beach harbor. There is also a rooftop deck that features 360 degree views. The home is very open and bright with natural light. There are floating fireplaces featured in the living room and master bedroom and exotic Kempas solid hardwood floors throughout. The home is pre-wired for 3 entertainment systems - living room, master bedroom and on the rooftop deck. Other features of the home include spacious laundry room, CAT-5e wiring, pre-wired for security system, central vacuum, glazed aluminum garage door, Navien tankless water heater, accent lighting throughout the home, complete exterior sensory lighting and much more."

Built in 2012, this like North Redondo Beach, detached town-home is super high-quality, contemporary themed, and loaded with features normally reserved for multi-million dollar, ocean front real estate. 1933 Gates is about the details. From the richness of solid mahogany hardwood floors, to carefully crafted Ceaserstone countertops, you will appreciate the build quality and high-end materials used throughout. Mahogany doors and six-inch baseboards compliment the flooring, creating a warm, architectural continuity. On the first level is a wonderful, open floor plan space with breakfast bar, dining area and great-room with fireplace. The large chef's kitchen has high-end stainless appliances by KitchenAid, a wine fridge, glass tile backsplash and ceramic tile floors. There's even a built-in doggie door. Up the flight of mahogany clad stairs to the second level there are four bedrooms, including two large master suites with private, super deluxe baths. 10 foot high ceilings make the rooms feel large and airy. Second floor skylights keep things bright and light. The home is wired for technology, security and includes a built-in central vacuum, water softener and instant hot water at the kitchen tap. There is also a landscaped rear yard.




Listed by Pier to Pier Brokers. MLS SB14157344. $1,049,999.