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Far Fewer Manhattan Beach Homes Sold in First Half of 2023

Jul 11, 2023 10:57AM ● By Mb News Staff
With the limited number of homes available on the market in Manhattan Beach all year, sales totals have fallen steeply, according to local real estate blog Manhattan Beach Confidential.

Only 117 home sales closed in the first half of the year, the lowest total for any first half for the past 16 years. Significantly more homes sold in Manhattan Beach in the same period in 2008 and 2009, even as the housing market wobbled and crashed.

Meanwhile, the types of homes available to buyers remain very limited. A large share of the homes coming to market these days consists of "fixers and lot sales," according to another MB Confidential analysis. 

As of last week, out of 56 homes on the market, 24 were counted by MB Confidential as "either obviously, or subjectively, major fixers, lot sales or at least homes that will need a lot of reworking."

The relative lack of new or remodeled homes may be a challenge for buyers, many of whom prefer to be able to buy a home, get the keys and move right in.

The low number of sales in the first half of the year was a steep drop of 37.8% below the average of 188 sales, established over 16 years. No prior year going back to 2008 had seen such a deep decline in sales, with recession-impacted 2009 coming in at 19.1% below average. 

Manhattan Beach sales were lower in 2023 than the South Bay in general (-27.3%) and LA County in total (-27.8%), according to Fratello's analysis.

A look at several other SoCal counties similarly found Manhattan Beach slower by comparison, with only San Bernardino County (-35.7%) close to the city's slump below average. Orange County was down 29.1%, Ventura County was down 32.9%, and Riverside County was the least impacted at 27.1% below average.

COVID and Fiscal Policy Spurred 'Wild Wobble' in Market

Looking at the newest charts from MB Confidential, it's clear that the years 2020-23 have been unusually volatile, with steep drops and rises in sales, which MB Confidential author Dave Fratello labeled a "wild wobble." (Local real estate broker Dave Fratello is the founder of Edge Real Estate Agency and publisher, with Jeanne Fratello, of MB News.)

After real estate was more or less shut down for the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, buying activity increased dramatically for nearly two full years, into spring 2022. Sales in the first half of 2021 reached 248, more than double this year's total.

Fratello wrote, "2021 had some unique dynamics that generated a tsunami of real estate activity locally. Ultra-low interest rates, COVID-inspired remote-work options and limitations on travel got lots of people chasing Manhattan Beach real estate."

However, the return of mortgage rates to more normal levels, may have had a cooling effect on current homeowners' desire to enter the market by selling and buying, Fratello observed.

Because fewer people are simply choosing to sell, the proportion of homes for sale in dated or rough condition is higher.

Many of those are being sold upon death of an owner, Fratello observed. "Major life changes (death, divorce, job transfer) are perennial reasons for homes to be sold, but they're more common among the crop of homes for sale when there are fewer 'discretionary' sellers, like people just looking to upgrade."

However, Fratello added, "One thing is apparent in the local market statistics: Manhattan Beach always bounces back."

Manhattan Beach's Most Complete Real Estate Resource

MBConfidential, MB News's sister publication, offers the most detailed resource available for Manhattan Beach real estate data.

For the latest pending/sold reports and massive amounts of additional local real estate data, visit MB Confidential's data page. For an up-to-the-minute scorecard on new listings, new escrows, new closed deals, and new price cuts, visit the Manhattan Beach Confidential Dashboard.

Additionally, for more insights into the market, to inquire about buying or selling properties, or to learn more about off-market inventory, contact MB Confidential author and Edge Real Estate Agency broker Dave Fratello by email, or call (310) 243-6299.

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