Esther Kang

Manhattan Beach housing market recovering, data shows

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In 2012, 372 homes in Manhattan Beach were sold for $1 million or more. Photo by Ed Pilolla

California’s luxury real estate market is on the mend, and Manhattan Beach is no exception.

According to a recent report from San Diego-based analyst DataQuick, nearly 27,000 homes were sold statewide for $1 million or more last year, the highest record since 2007.

Manhattan Beach logged the second highest sales of such homes in the state at 372, up from the previous year’s 328. It trailed behind Hillsborough, an affluent town in the San Francisco Bay Area, which recorded 422 sales.

Dave Fratello, a local buyer’s agent who runs the popular real estate blog “Manhattan Beach Confidential,” noted several factors that could account for the spike of million-dollar home sales in Manhattan Beach.

“The low end of Manhattan Beach has gotten very expensive—there simply aren’t many under a million left,” Fratello said. “The other thing is, the number of sales last year was the best in five years, almost equaling the sales of the bubble years of 2004 to 2006. We really roared back last year.”

The median price of Manhattan Beach’s single family homes sold last year varies according to the source: Fratello reported a slight increase from the previous year at $1.455 million, while the LA Times reported a 0.4 percent decline at $1.42 million.

“There’s a real difference in the data we get and what we see in practice; the median prices just don’t capture what’s happening for buyers,” Fratello said, adding that prices are trending upward due to demand.

“Any well-priced desirable property seems to draw three to five offers at least, and that drives prices up,” he said.

The number of California homes sold for more than $5 million overrode last year’s all-time high by a margin, jumping from 491 to nearly 700. Manhattan Beach saw a more modest spike, logging 11 sales of $5 million-plus homes—three more than 2010, according to Fratello.

California’s most expensive purchase last year was an 8,930-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 4 ½-bathroom home on nine acres in Woodside of the San Mateo County, sold for nearly $118 million in November. Manhattan Beach’s priciest home last year sold for $10.5 million, according to DataQuick.

Fratello said he thinks the real estate market in Manhattan Beach will continue on its road to recovery this year.

“For better or worse, I predict a crazy spring with higher prices and more bidding wars,” he said. “I don’t see what’s going to stop the momentum in the next few months.”

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