Thursday, September 3, 2009

July-August SM sales update

Here are Santa Monica sales closed in July and August, since our July 7 1H update (which included three that closed 7/1-7/2). Listing dates before 2009 and reductions over 10% are in red. Links are to houses featured here (a whole two) and on SM Distress Monitor.

A number of recent listings asked competitive prices and sold quickly, in contrast to a few ancient listings that finally took huge discounts. Three sold above final asking price, an indication of (only) a few multiple-offer situations. Conversely there are examples of no asking price reduction but an offer quickly accepted well below asking.

Address, bed/bath, current price (-% from orig.), orig.list date, sale date, sale price (-% from last list price)

Sunset Park 90405 (south of Pico, east of Lincoln)

2432 21st, 3/1.5, $790K (-4%), 3/28/09, 8/28/09, $810K (+3%)
2329 32nd, 2/1, $819K (-9%), 11/7/08, 6/11/09, $785K (-4%)
1601 Oak, 2/1, $899K, 4/30/09, 7/14/09, $850K (-5%)
2455 Cloverfield, 3/1.5, $949K (-14%), 11/19/08, 8/5/09, $920K (-3%)
2301 Pier, 3/1.75, $1,000K, 6/10/09, 7/16/09, $947K (-5%)
1502 Bay, 4/3, $1,089K, 6/24/09, 8/17/09, $1,088K
2414 Hill, 4/4.5, $1,879K (-2%), 5/11/09, 8/5/09, $1,795K (-4%)
2202 Marine (photo), 4/3.5, $2,295K (-15%), 3/26/09, 8/27/09, $2,000K (-13%)

Ocean Park 90405 (south of Pico, west of Lincoln)

2501 6th, 2/1, $765K (-9%), 4/4/09, 8/24/09, $750K (-2%)
2331 5th, 2/1, $899K, 4/20/09, 7/9/09, $850K (-5%)
709 Bay, 3/1.5, $928K (-7%), 8/6/08, 8/18/09, $879K (-5%)
2442 7th, 2/1.75, $1,050K, 4/15/09, 7/7/09, $1,010K (-4%)
426 Ashland, 2/1.5, $1,249K, 4/17/09, 8/14/09, $1,192K (-5%)

Santa Monica 90404 (Pico-Wilshire)

1242 Chelsea, 2/1.75, $849K (-37%), 5/18/07, 8/24/09, $739K (-13%)

Santa Monica 90403 (Wilshire-Montana)

1129 Yale, 2/1, $1,195K, 4/8/09, 7/13/09, $1,027K (-14%)
954 26th, 3/2, $1,349K (-4%), 3/5/09, 7/31/09, $1,300K (-4%)
846 Stanford, 4/2, $1,350K, 6/30/09, 8/20/09, $1,350K
2112 Washington, 3/2, $1,395K, 7/18/09, 8/25/09, $1,375K (-1%)
1135 Berkeley, 4/3, $1,500K (-39%), 4/21/06, 7/9/09, $1,500K
919 Centinela, 4/3.5, $1,999K, 6/11/09, 7/22/09, $2,050K (+3%)

Santa Monica 90402 (north of Montana)

620 22nd, 3/2, $1,795K (-25%), 10/23/08, 8/19/09, $1,625K (-9%)
636 16th, 2/2, $1,991K (-13%), 4/21/09, 8/21/09, $1,700K (-15%)
409 21st, 2/2, $2,200K, 7/2/09, 8/27/09, $1,800K (-18%)
633 11th, 5/4.5, $2,299K (-29%), 6/14/08, 8/13/09, $2,160K (-6%)
256 24th, 3/2, $2,350K (-6%), 5/18/09, 8/28/09, $2,150K (-9%)
457 24th, 5/4.5, $2,495K (-4%), 3/26/09, 7/21/09, $2,250K (-10%)
634 23rd, 3/2.5, $2,750K, 3/6/09, 7/8/09, $2,400K (-13%)
227 Alta, 4/2, $2,795K, 4/28/09, 7/21/09, $2,500K (-11%)
523 14th, 5/5.5, $2,969K, 5/26/09, 8/7/09, $3,000K (+1%)
403 20th, 5/6.5, $3,195K (-6%), 4/30/09, 8/7/09, $3,050K (-5%)
133 17th, 5/6.5, $3,695K (-23%), 10/30/08, 7/17/09, $3,498K (-5%)
311 10th, 4/4, $3,895K, 4/24/09, 7/27/09, $3,250K (-17%)
315 Palisades, 4/3.5, $5,299K (-12%), 12/9/08, 7/17/09, $4,500K (-15%)


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow, 2m for that house in Sunset Park at the end of the SM airport runaway??? Is that a good deal???

Anonymous said...


I think you missed the boat. It really is too hard to live comfortably in Santa Monica without a 150-250K salary....and higher if you want to buy a SFR in Sunset Park.....which used to be for mechanics and gardeners!

Anonymous said...

Speedingpullet - I hate to say it but I am with the last poster.

If you don't pull in 250 thousand in family income, give up on a SFR in Santa Monica.

I wish that my friends and family members with under 250k in income could afford to move here to Santa Monica - I hate having them so far away - but things have changed -

Throw in the towel

Anonymous said...

Um. Wow. I own a SFR in Santa Monica on far less than half that much. I have a kid. Suddenly I feel like some sort of mythic beast.

Anonymous said...

Please tell us how you do it

I mean there are no SFRs under 900k so how do you support the mortgage on a house with your income

help us out

Lots of us want to do what you do

Anonymous said...

In fact there are 12 SFR listings under 900,000 in Santa Monica, the lowest of which is $550,000.

Just because you don't want to live there doesn't mean that they cease to exist.

When I bought, I purchased the cheapest SFR to sell in our neighborhood in Santa Monica in nearly 6 years (this was four years ago). My wife, daughter and I are very happy with this house that nobody else wanted...

Anonymous said...

Yes, its true, you can buy 2 bedrooms/1 bath houses in marginal area areas of Santa Monica under 900K.

No one seems to want that least on this blog. They all want the amazing turn key house on a great street for under 900K. Oh and they want a bigger house for that price too.....

Anonymous said...

Better rent & wait to buy a house until 2014?
"according to Moody's, the unemployment rate won't hit 5% -- -- until 2014"

speedingpullet said...

hey Anon 7.05 - thanks so much for asking my permission to repost something I wrote on another blog....Oh... that's right... you didn't, did you?

Westside Bubble - I'd appreciate it if you could delete the first post - I'm not normally 'precious' about my posts, but I kind of draw the line at this

Westside Bubble said...

How about, for SpeedingPullet, Anon #1 reposts their comment without the citation, then I'll delete the original comment? If nothing happens by Monday night I'll do it.

On the discussion point, I don't expect Santa Monica to become "cheap" again, just to return to pre-bubble prices.

And one can make it (somewhat) more affordable with some combination of old house / small house / less-desired location - as I have.

speedingpullet said...

Thanks - that sounds fine to me, Westide Bubble.

sm_landlord said...

I sorta kinda of agree with the point made by the anonymous poster who reposted Speedingpullet's comment, but that was a breach of blog etiquette IMHO, and should be deleted.

Where I'm coming from: I bought my first apartment building inches south of SM (North Venice) in 1975 for $100K. It was an eight unit building near the Rose Cafe. I didn't really want to be a landlord, but I was being raped by income taxes on my employment income (working in the entertainment biz), and was looking for a tax shelter.

The building was a POS, and my tenants were prostitutes, junkies, seriously poor retired people, and kids just starting out, albeit in a nice location close to the beach. Rents were on the order of a few hundred dollars per month. I sold it as quickly as I could (1979) and moved on to other investments.

Now to my intermediate point: Even though Venice still sucks horribly, the area has been bid up to the limit and beyond. Because there has been incredible demand for properties near the beach, people have and are paying far more then properties are worth. Venice is headed for a tragic fall, but I was an idiot to sell out in 1979. In retrospect, I should have held on until 2000 or so.

Now to Anonymous's point: Why do people overpay for close-in properties? Because they are close-in. Commuting is hell, even for entertainment folks who work in the armpit of the Valley, Burbank, and enjoy the reverse traffic load on the 405 and 101. The temperature differential of 20+ degrees on a typical day is a strong draw.

If you're fortunate enough to have an entertainment job on the West Side, it's a huge bonus.

But here's the problem: Hollywood is over with. Many of the entertainment jobs have moved or are moving to places where the insanity of California politics have not corrupted the economy. You all know the places: Vancouver, Toronto, Australia, even Michigan, for heaven's sake. Hollywood may end up as a "suit center" like New York is to finance, but the rank and file jobs are leaving. So the West Side may end up like New York, where normal people cannot afford to live unless they are willing to sleep three or four to a room like college kids.

OTOH, the out-migration may eventually relieve the pressure. But then you're back to apartment buildings in Venice selling for inflation-adjusted prices similar to what I paid in 1974. But that's not what I think is going to happen.

More likely, the West Side will moderate out to a filthy static nightmare like Manhattan, where you would not want to live, or especially not raise children. And this is where I agree with Anonymous's point: The way up is out. But here's where I disagree: you can take the business with you, if you're still in entertainment. The production and post-production segment are leaving, and will be gone before too much more time passes. Marketing and "distribution" will still be here, but the studio days are over. It will be similar to what happened to the music business, in the sense that it will rhyme. ;-) This is a bummer for those of us that made our careers here or came here to further our careers. But the future is not looking good for cities. You can expect growing crime, decreasing services, and a lower quality of life, even on the West Side.

For myself, I'm headed out. I still own some apartments in the best part of the West Side, and may not sell out for a while yet. But personally, I wouldn't pay over $500K for a McMansion North of Montana, and since I don't see that happening any time soon, I'm leaving the area.

sm_landlord said...

Heh. While I'm ranting, one more anecdote:

After my parents moved out of Malibu in the late 1970s, they used to ask me why I insisted on living "in the sewer" (referring to the LA area).

I really disagreed with their characterization, did not understand what they were talking about, and I insisted that I needed to stay here to build my career.

Now that I have built my career and done it, I get it.

Anonymous said...

Let me re post this here:

"" If the people who work here can't afford to live here, then what kind of future does L.A have?

to answer you I would ask you to go visit Manhattan or San Francisco - it used to be that normal professional families could buy a family sized home in a safe area of Manhattan. It used to be that normal professional families could buy a normal professional size home in San Francisco.

those days ended a while ago. Talk to your friends in NY and SF - I bet all of them have already thrown in the towel on living there

Young married couples in NY and San Francisco are honest with themselves about their choices

(1) do not have children, and thus be able to live in a small apartment in the safe part of the city

(2) have children and move to a place that is an hour commute from their jobs

That's it.

Why don't you face facts of the situation? Young couples in NY and San Francisco have faced up to this - go look up the birthrates among professionals in those cities?

It is only in Los Angeles where people like you think they should be able to afford kids, afford a family sized house, and still have less than an hour commute to jobs. Sorry, but the numbers just don't work.

In New York and San Francisco people have been threatening to move away from the cities for years due to the high cost of housing. Know what? Millions of people have moved away but both cities are still very vibrant - the grownups who move away have been replaced by kids right out of graduate school who are happy to live crammed in with roommates.

Those cities are now known as the place for ambitious professionals to move to right out of grad school, live for a few yearsa all cramped in, and then for those professionals who won't have kids, those professionals settle in to a small apartment for life. Those that do want kids move to the distant suburbs

So, if and when you move to another city, there will be dozens of other people whose skills are only a little weaker than yours who will move to the west side to take your place. That is the natural evolution of the best cities - people who want kids move out and people who are happy to live with no kids move in.


the West Side may end up like New York, where normal people cannot afford to live unless they are willing to sleep three or four to a room like college kids.





sm_landlord said...

At risk of belaboring my last point, how long do you really want to live in the sewer?

As I said previously, after spending almost all of my life living here (Santa Monica), I have finally come to understand what my parents were talking about after they left Malibu for parts unspecified. "Why do you want to live in the the sewer?"

I don't any more. I finally get it. I do understand why people want or need to live here while building their careers. OTOH, I don't understand why people want to raise children here.

And I'm not talking my own book - after all, I'm still in the business of renting units to people who *do* want to live here! Some of my tenants are paying to live here because of the schools. Great!

But I want out, and soon.

Anonymous said...

SM landlord, you are 100% correct

However, you seem to be suggesting that people can "live in SM while building their careers"

and then move somewhere else to "raise the children"

What you don't recognize is that there is a biological clock - people can't wait until they hit all their career objectives before having kids - If they wait, they may find they are too old to physically have kids at the time that they hit that magical career milestone

For some people, the magical crucial years for their career are also the years of childbearing

Westside Bubble said...

Thanks for the re-comment, Anon #1, and I've deleted the original one.

For those of you planning to leave L.A., where will you go? I've looked at lots of places, and all have their positives and negatives.

Anonymous said...

Westside Bubble

you should google "affordable family formation"

read up - it explains a lot about Santa Monica

Basically, the theory is that some places in america have none of the amenities that attract sophisticated cultured cutting edge people - but they DO have great environments for business and they do have really nice houses for one quarter the cost of Santa Monica. The theory is that those people whose first priority is raising a family move there

Then there are the places like Santa Monica that attract the sophisticated, cultured, cutting-edge people. Places like Santa Monica get exceptionally attractive, and it becomes too expensive for most people to raise a family there

The bottom line is, the places lacking santa monica's amenities allow you to easily raise two or three kids there

the places with santa monica's amenities are expensive and hard to raise two or three kids in

Net result - average young person that Starts out in Santa Monica, if they stay in Santa Monica, has fewer kids than they would if they moved to another location.

There is no right or wrong to this, it is just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

SM Landlord:

You clearly don't have kids...

I am raising two kids in Santa Monica, and we absolutely love it. Wouldn't live anywhere else. What a life they have here in this paradise.

They bike to their friends house, walk to the beach, walk with their friends to get pizza slices, walk to school, walk home from their soccer practices. Walk with the family to church before walking to the farmer's market. The cashiers at Bob's market know them, the neighbors keep tabs on them, and their teachers are caring intellectual support figures. I am serious, even as I type this, I can't believe the good fortune we have raising our children in Santa Monica.

The city is really set up well for children. The buses are safe, the schools are good (not amazing, but good for a public school system), the park system in incredible (we live in the park populated south Santa Monica). Even the beaches are relatively safe. The kids check in with the lifeguard at tower 26 and they usually see all their friends down at the beach in the summer.

I grew up in a great safe city (Seattle). But these kids have it even better.

Anonymous said...

SM Landlord - you are 100% right.

Anonymous said...

1) I grew up here and it was great for kids back then.


2) It's actually was better today. Far cleaner, far fewer homeless, better bus service, better parks department, better amenities (Promenade, better pier attractions, aquarium, and so forth).

There are plenty of reasons why SM ranks so high for families with kids and the schools are only a small part of the story.

I love the fact that people feel like they should be able to covet homes in the city, and talk down the market at the same time.

Anonymous said...

That should be "way" better, but I'm trying to type this with contributions from my four year old before we head out to the park, then bike down to the beach to watch the sun set.

It's just so terrible I can hardly stand it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:42
thanks for being honest.

Yes, there are plenty of people on this board who bad mouth SM with one breath and with the next breath hope and pray that they can buy a house in the best neighborhood for a pittance

Westside Bubble said...

you should google "affordable family formation"

But you didn't answer, where will you go? Real places that we can discuss.

I agree with Anon 10:21 that Santa Monica has been a good place to raise kids, just difficult for many to afford.

Anonymous said...


I don't want to suggest specific places. There are plenty of places that people move to from Santa Monica. In my opinion none are as nice. But all are less expensive

Anonymous said...


I like LA and don't plan to leave it, unless I get a really great job offer somewhere else, in which case the decision would be more about the job and less about the particular city.

However, if you're looking for ideas, I think Texas, where I grew up, is very under-rated. Many people have a terrible image of Texas, which is undeserved. The major cities of Texas actually have plenty of culture, plenty of smart sophisticated people, and all the same "amenities" as Los Angeles (apart from going to a lake instead of the ocean). The hot summers are the only real strike against it. You should definitely consider Texas, especially given how amazingly cheap housing is there.

Actually now that I think about it, LA also has a terrible image problem. I often meet ignorant people who think everyone in LA is uncultured and shallow, etc.

Anonymous said...

One more thought: Traffic is a dumb reason to want to leave Los Angeles for any other major city.

Every other major city I go to, it seems like traffic is just as bad as it is here. And that's backed up by Census data on commute times:

Anonymous said...

While parts of Texas are nice (Austin, etc.) I don't think its what people are looking for when thinking of an alternative to Santa Monica. We have great restaurant, world class beaches, swanky hotels, an identifiable pier, amazing shopping, good local public transportation, walkable streets....and of course, the best weather in the world for outdoor activities.

Ever tried jogging in Austin in the summer?

Anonymous said...

I think it is fair to say that everyone who posts on this blog loves Santa Monica.

Any place that is posted as an alternative to Santa Monica is going to meet with scorn and derision here

It is easy to slam other places (austin is indeed too hot) can we simply say that for those people with more than enough money to buy their dream house in Santa Monica, it is a no brainer to live in Santa Monica.

And that a person that can not afford their dream house in Santa Monica should consider moving to another city where they can easily afford their dream house OR should settle for either a house in a dirtier neighborhood of Santa Monica or a small condo in the better neighborhoods of Santa Monica?

Life is all about tradeoffs. each of the above options is sub optimal

Some people can afford their dream, most of the rest of us have to either accept one sub optimal thing or the other

Anonymous said...


I agree that Santa Monica has much better weather than Texas, especially in summer. That's an important factor in quality of life, and as I said, it is a real strike against Texas.

However, nothing else that you mention is a fair criticism. The major Texas cities have great restaurants, swanky hotels, amazing shopping. An "identifiable pier"?? Texas has recognizable landmarks, amusement parks, and places to fish, maybe not all in the same place. Public transportation is about the same in Texas and Los Angeles (i.e., mostly bad, with exceptions).

Here in Santa Monica we are paying a hefty premium for great weather and not much else.

If you really believe that Texas is lacking in restaurants or shopping, you have made my point about Texas being very under-rated.

Ok, that's all I have to say about Texas.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have spent plenty of time in Austin, and in the cooler parts of Dallas (near the Crescent and hotel ZaZa)

Both cities have their charms, but the just don't have the same "vibe" the same zeitgeist as Santa Monica.

Lots of people come to santa monica and really feel at home - it isn't that way in Texas

Bottom line, Just about everyone who leaves Santa Monica for Texas feels regretful and wistful in some way.

But for those that can't afford to raise kids in Santa Monica, Texas is a good choice. For those people now living in Santa Monica who have the income to buy a house on La Mesa, I just don't see anyone moving to Texas.

In other words, Texas is a good choice for those that can't afford their dream in Santa Monica, but not worth moving to for people that can afford the best of Santa Monica