Sherman Oaks' New Market Reality

From the tony sixties-era ranch homes and contemporary updates draped across the hillsides south of Ventura Boulevard, to the aging post-war boxes that march along the modest streets to the north, to the brash McMansions that muscle their way in between, Sherman Oaks’ housing market seems to be going through a difficult “period of adjustment” to the new pricing realities.

But adjusting it is.  Inevitably. Incrementally. And sometimes dramatically.

A gracious and finely maintained 3+2 traditional with polished hardwood floors, French doors and two fireplaces, plantation shutters and crown moldings, has come on the market in a splendid strolling neighborhood just a short block-and-a-half south of prime Ventura Blvd.  Three years ago few eyebrows would have been raised had it entered the market upwards of $900,000.house pinch

It was listed at $739,900 less than three weeks ago.  Buying through Redfin will shave almost $15,000 more off of that.  This tasteful home merits a serious look.  Only the smallish 5,500 sq. ft. lot detracts from its appeal, but the serene and secluded patio and gardens may silence any objections.  There are no outward indications of distress to this listing.

4421 NOBLE AVE. 
Listed for: $739,900 (2/16/08)
Sq ft: 1,385

With a history of price reductions longer than Obama’s donor list, this unabashed faux-Mediterranean McMansion is squeezed in among more modest dwellings in the “flats” along the northern edge of Sherman Oaks.  Since being listed last August at $1,265,000 it has seen seven cumulative price cuts of more than $365,000 to its current asking $899,000 (I could have sworn I saw it posted on Craigslist at $849,000 for a nanosecond, but no trace of it persists in my browser cache or on CL).  Its 2,896 square feet spill over two levels of gated and vaulted living space. 

At $310 per sq. ft., by historical standards the price is not unattractive.  It’s the buyer’s call whether or not the house itself is.  Redfin passes along the MLS notation that it “MAY BE SHORT SALE – LENDER IS AWARE.”  Property records show it was sold in July 2005 for $1,069,000.  There could be value here if this property is to your taste.

15232 HARTSOOK AVE. 
Listed for: $899,000 (211 days on market)
Sq ft: 2,896

Clinging to a narrow winding street in the hills above Valley Vista Blvd., this spacious contemporary offers panoramic views and an opportunity to build sweat equity.  The tenacious Kate of May 5th and Everything After first brought it to my attention in her blog which chronicles her ongoing, epic pursuit of a home in the Valley.  Kate points out that at $248 a sq. ft. and a list price of $799,000, “You never would’ve seen anything selling in this price range last year.”  Sold in January 2007 for $1,450,000, this represents a colossal reduction (loss) of 45%!  Evidently, the bait has been taken:  the status is currently showing as Backup Offers Accepted.  If this castle in the sky appeals to you, I wouldn’t be too discouraged by that.  Go ahead and submit a well-considered offer.  In today’s credit-starved environment, few deals can be deemed a slam-dunk until they close.

4062 WITZEL DR. 
Listed for: $799,000 (Backup Offers Accepted)
Sq ft: 3,220