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North of Montana Ave Santa Monica Real Estate Update: Higher Prices, Fewer Days on Market and Low Inventory

Posted by John Hathorn on January 4, 2013
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I am happy to report that the second half of 2012 was in fact, the very best it has been since the recession began in 2006, for residential real estate sales in Santa Monica, North of Montana Ave.

While the first half of the year showed a shot gun race for properties, the second half did not disappoint either. Not surprising is that 9 out of the 106 total sales (excludes SM Canyon homes) were ‘off market’ or private sales (no MLS) with Partners Trust proudly representing a third of them. 

Predictions of a strong Seller’s market have been accurate as the overall real estate market and specifically 90402 have been marked with shorter days on market, higher sale prices, and bidding wars for properties.  As expected, the trends have continued more so in each of the three categories above.

Pence Hathorn Silver brokered several of the most expensive sales in the zip code including  2202 Georgina for $9M and 2515 La Mesa for $9.4M.

There were a whopping 13 sales (includes the SM Canyon) that closed for $5M or more in 2012. In 2011 there were only 6 sales for $5M or more.  And as if the recession never even happened, land value is currently nearly $300 per sq foot for average sized lots – blowing away the pre-recession $250 per foot average. There are way more many Buyers than Sellers for land value properties.

The following is the breakdown for the second half (not included December):

2nd Half PRIVATE SALES  totaled 14 with a Median Sales Price of $3,722,000.

Overall, for single family homes in 90402, we have seen the same amount of homes sold from the first quarter of 2011 and 20% increase compared to 2010. The median sales price saw an increase of 22% compared to the 1st half representing a new median sales price high of $3,435,518.  To give you an idea of how much the market has changed, the 2011 median sales was $2,693,889, and 2010 had an average of $2,441,703. While Median Sales prices are good indicators of market trends, they also average in all home prices in all ranges.

Lastly, private or off the market sales represented the largest percentage of total sales at 26% for the 2nd Half , a percentage not scene as high since the last peak of the market.  If you look at the whole year in the single family home category, private sales represent 23% of the total sales -which can be interpreted as a very high number.

Still growing is the number of buyers. This is most likely due to the strengthening economy, foreign buyers, record low interest rates, and other positive indicators.  Therefore, the multiple offers and bidding wars are more prevalent, pushing prices well above asking prices, especially in the 3 million and under market.  For the properties that are purposely listed at, near or slightly under market value, the strategy is working almost 100% of the time in generating multiple offers.  In fact, when you read or hear that the inventory or number of homes for sale is too low, a large part of the reason is that these days, properties have very little market exposure time. Meaning, as soon a property is listed for sale, it often goes under contract with a Buyer within days, not weeks or months.  If you look at the average number of days on market, the 2nd half went from 55 days to 42. Thus, this quick process does not allow the inventory to build up, supporting an opportunity for Sellers as the only mistake they can make is overpricing their properties – a Seller cannot list his/her property too low since the multiple Buyers bidding for each home is extremely likely to raise the eventual contract sales price to over-valued levels for the Seller.  There are several closed sales that show this is happening.  Properties have closed escrow recently at a list price to sales price ratio of 132%!

Take a look at these recent closed sales that all sold over list price

226 Alta Ave. –   3bd + 2ba.  Listed for $2,275,000 and sold for $3,000,000,  32% over list price, dozens of Buyers competing for it.   Spectacular location – west of 7th St. very close to Ocean and Montana Ave.

336 7th St. –   2bd + 2ba.  Listed for $1,459,000 and sold for $1,550,000,  26 days on market.  Sold with one week of listing. Recently remodeled Mid-Century. Best condo alternative in Santa Monica!  Last sold in May 2011 for $1,278,000.

529 Palisades Ave. –   3bd + 2ba.  Listed for $4,495,000 and sold for $4,700,000,  22 days on market.   West of 7th and north of Montana.  Double lot over 17,000 sq. ft. of lot.

As far as what price points are the most active, the following is a breakdown. The $2-4 million range represented the most sales at 33 total sales in the 2nd half.  The $4-5 million range saw 7 total sales and $5+ million had 4 total sales not including December.  Overall, The largest jump for the 2nd half occurred in the 3 million and up range at 12 total more sales than the 1st half, which is a staggering increase for higher end homes. By comparison, no sales took place in the $5M arena on 9,000 lot properties from 2007 until 2012.

The information provided is intended to show trends of prices and sales in Santa Monica / 90402.  There are pockets within Santa Monica that may not be reflective of the averages in the data provided but the trends can still be applicable.

Here is a recap of some of the trends in the 2nd Half of 2012:

  1. Days on market is significantly shorter, averaging 42 days for single family homes in 90402 meaning homes are selling extremely fast.
  2. Overall in Los Angeles and in a majority of zip codes on the Westside, we are seeing a Seller’s market, multiple offers and low inventory to accommodate the larger than normal pool of Buyers.
  3. Refinances have been very active for the year but expect to slow down since most owners having already taken advantage in the past 2 years of low rates.  With the Fed announcing rates to be tied to unemployment and remain low through 2015, there should be an even bigger future rush of Buyers not wanting to miss out on the low interest rates.

Regardless of mortgage interest deductibility and fiscal cliff concerns, I expect the market to continue to improve for Sellers with price appreciation and high Buyer demand.

Call me @ 310-924-4014 for a free, no obligation comparative market analysis for your property.

Other real estate news:

Coming Soon:

4 move-in condition homes!

  • 3,300 sq ft, 10 years old, 4+4+ pool and spa for $2.9M
  • 337 12th St., Santa Monica-  Beautiful Craftsman built in 1999 with detached guest house, pool & spa.  Please call for price.
  • 111 Homewood Rd., Brentwood- Enormous 20,000+ sq. ft. lot, park-like grounds with a 4+3.5 single level Mediterranean home. List price $2,995,000.

    Please call 310.924.4014 for an appointment to see this home.

  • 550 E. Channel Rd., Santa Monica- Renovated Charming Cape Cod.  New roof, remodeled bathrooms. Move-in condition.  List price $2,749,000.

There were no New Listings this week

There were no New Sales this week

Closed Deals this week

428 Alta Ave. –   5bd + 4ba.  $4,600,000.  Listed for $4,800,000 and sold for $4,600,000,  49 days on market. Designed by Ramirez Design Studio. Unique resort style living with modern amenities.  Great indoor & outdoor flow.  Last sold in August 2000 for $1,482,500.

470 16th St. –   4bd + 3ba.  $2,579,000.  Listed for $2,595,000 and sold for $2,579,000,  72 days on market. Great home with lots of light, nice, corner of Marguerita location. Apx. 2,800+ sq. ft. on an almost 8,000 sq. ft. lot. Last sold in May 1984.

Pence Hathorn Silver Active Properties:

13868 W. Sunset Blvd. – 4bd + 3.75ba – $2,895,000

333 24th St. – 5bd + 2.75ba – $3,295,000

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And please call my mobile phone (310) 924-4014 with any questions.

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