Teardowns and New Construction Homes in Manhattan Beach CA

Manhattan Beach WalkStreet Ocean View
If you've been following my various Real Estate blog sites such as www.90278realestate.com, www.90254realestate.com, or www.ellisposner.com, you already know that I have been tracking new construction homes at the beach for quite a while. Other than I like new construction - and who doesn't love the smell of fresh paint and carpet, new homes are what defines the market in terms of price because why would anyone pay more for a comparable resale if you can buy new.

In Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach, CA, buildable lots are at a premium. Last year I sold a buildable R2 lot in North Redondo Beach with multiple cash offers from builders before it even hot the MLS. Why? There just aren't that many lots left to build on that can be acquired at a workable margin. So, while many builders have been sitting on lots, "banking" them in real estate lingo, we are simply running out of lots to build on.

Manhattan Beach New COnstruction Living Room

A recent article in the LA Times had this to say about teardowns and new construction in Manhattan Beach CA:

"Tear-downs have long stirred controversy, especially in beach communities — once-funky towns that have seen property values skyrocket over the years amid an influx of wealthy residents, chic boutiques and cafes. Many who grew up in the area have moved out, unable to afford a house with an ocean breeze. Many who did own homes couldn't resist cashing in.
Death often precedes a tear-down. For example, when an elderly homeowner passes away and children choose to sell rather than live in the property. The competition for what developers call lots — because the land is more valuable than the house — is fierce.

Manhattan Beach Teardown
The front-end loader swung to the right and took a bite out of the shingled roof of the quaint cottage. The roar of the engine and crackle of buckling lumber carried down Elm Avenue in Manhattan Beach.


Within 40 minutes, a demolition crew reduced the 1950s one-story to rubble. The 782-square-foot house would be replaced by a 3,300-square-foot Cape Cod.
"It feels exactly like the good old days," said the property's developer, Mike Leonard.

Those days of booming demolition and construction came during last decade's housing bubble. Now, tear-downs are again on the rise in Southern California's affluent communities, as a rebounding housing market triggers a residential reconstruction boom.
With little vacant land left, developers and wealthier buyers are snapping up small, older houses in sought-after locales, then leveling them to build modern mansions.

Manhattan Beach Walkstreet Home

The wave of demolition has revived criticism that the new homes tower over those next door and clash with neighborhood character. Residents complain that their once-quiet streets have become perpetual construction zones.

The upscale South Bay town of Manhattan Beach exemplifies the trend. Builders in the city pulled permits to demolish 84 residential units from July 2012 to June 2013, the latest available data. That's nearlydouble the number pulled for the same period a year earlier. In August, one Manhattan Beach City Council member described the ongoing construction as a tsunami.

Prominent Manhattan Beach builder Matt Morris recalled a lot he purchased in the spring.
"I overpaid, in my mind, by $250,000," he said.

The day after he went into escrow, Morris said, another developer offered to pay $150,000 more for the property. He declined the offer. There are simply too few lots available. And Morris believes he stands to make more upon selling the newly built house.

Manhattan Beach New Construction Rendering

Manhattan Beach, which long ago morphed from a quaint beach town to ritzy burb, has recently been debating tightening its anti-mansionization ordinance, which aims to reduce the visual bulk of new homes and preserve older ones.

Leonard, the developer who demolished the Manhattan Beach cottage in October, said he is "ambivalent" about the new restrictions under consideration.

"As long as it satisfies the residents," said Leonard, who has constructed many Cape Cod-style houses throughout the city. "If the city and residents want small, I build small. If they want bigger, I build bigger."

Other local developers, however, have criticized the proposed changes. After the push-back, the City Council voted in November to send the proposals to the Planning Commission for further study."

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