Thursday, January 03, 2008

Manhattan Beach: Home Prices September - December 2000-2007

Third Quarter Home Prices in Manhattan Beach September-December 2000-2007

As 2008 begins there are lots of questions about 2007 home prices compared to prices in the last few years. One camp thinks prices in Manhattan Beach have or will drop drastically with more discounts this year. The other camp believes that prices have held up fairly well and are likely to do the same in the coming year. The truth of the matter is probably somewhere in between...

This is the third installment of my series on price per square foot in Manhattan Beach since 2000. This installment covers the third quarter.. September-December 2000-2007. The numbers are for single family homes. I did not include townhomes. The numbers are only for properties that were listed on the Greater South Bay MLS. I have not included properties that were not part of the MLS.

I will post all of the numbers for 2000-2007 later. I will also give figures for median prices along with days on market for the same period in a later post. There is a lot of debate about which numbers are the best for comparison to get a true picture of the market. Personally I don't believe there is any one perfect figure that will accurately reflect the nuances of a market like ours. Many consumers point to Case-Shiller as though it was some magic figure but the fact is that Case-Shiller is not a very good indicator of overall prices in a market like ours.

Case-Shiller uses sales for the same house over a period of years. Their basic assumption doesn't work very well in the Beach Cities... that is you track the same house... that never changes.. each time it sells over a period of time. They do not track new construction or lot value sales. In our area we have homes that started out as a 2 bedroom 1 bath 800 sqft home that became 3 bedroom 2 bath 1500 sqft home that was torn down and is now a 5 bedroom 5 bath 3800 sqft home. It's impossible to track same home sales on a property when the home is not the same. Case-Shiller works in nice little areas that rarely see any change. Most of our area doesn't meet the standards used by Case-Shiller.

There doesn't seem to be any perfect measurement so you are stuck with either the average sale price, median sale price or price per square foot as a gage of where sales are going... up or down. They all have serious drawbacks. However, I think that if you use the same source over time a pattern does emerge. The problem for many consumers is that they don't like the pattern they find in the Beach Cities and are hoping that there is some number somewhere to justify their opinion.. either as a bear or a bull on the local real estate market.

Manhattan Beach: Home Prices September-December 2000-2007

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