Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Venice Market Round-Up -- February 2009

Venice (Area 11) – The Venice market – a sizzling hotbed of development and innovation in design and architecture – has slowed markedly and recorded only four home sales in February 2009.

Venice California House

2464 Walnut Avenue

Only one of the sales was over $1 million. 2464 Walnut Avenue, a “new” Craftsman with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bath and 3,150 sq ft of living area, was originally listed for $2,050,000 and sold 123 days later for $1,692,000. This home, like other sales of this month, are all located East of Lincoln Boulevard.

Venice California House
1023 Marco Place

The two lowest priced sales were a bank-owned property – 1023 Marco Place, 1,848 sq ft house on a 4,000 sq ft lot just east of Lincoln Boulevard that sold for $739,000 – and a short sale, 2320 Glyndon Avenue -- 1,850 sq ft on a 4,680 sq ft lot, that sold for $775,000.

In this fragile real estate environment, even the blistering Venice market has cooled. The four sales of February 2009 is a big drop-off from the number of sales in February in the four previous years: 6 (2008), 12 (2007), 16 (2006) and 11 (2005).

Only two condos sold in Venice in February, for $680,000 and $725,000.
Venice California House
418 Westminster Avenue

As of today’s writing, there are 93 houses on the market in Venice priced $1 – 2 million, 23 priced $2 – 3 million, and 7 houses priced over $3 million, including an “architectural icon” at 418 Westminster Avenue that tips the scales at $6.9 million. It would literally take years – perhaps a decade – to sell off this inventory at the current sales rate.

Venice California Home Prices Increase
What is remarkable is the increase in median sale price of a single family home in Venice, which rose from $247,000 to $1,150,000 between 1996 and 2008 – a whopping 365% rise over 13 years. This is the prime example of how a “fringe” neighborhood becomes a mainstream neighborhood and sees stratospheric increases in pricing.

Savvy real estate investors today should tune into which neighborhoods have the potential to be the Venice of tomorrow. Hefty returns will follow. (This Broker bets on East Hollywood and Echo Park – but check in with me about this in 2022.)

Venice, like in the old world, has proven itself to be a city of gold. For those buyers coveting a toe-hold in Venice, 2009 is proving the year when the under $1 million home is a reality.