Thursday, February 17, 2011

The last spec house in Madison Park?

About 18 months ago we reported on the decline of speculative building in Madison Park, noting that several single-residence developers then active in our market, including Chaffee Homes and Blueline Developers, had decided to stop building new houses here.  Other developers were scaling down operations or just finishing off their properties then under construction.   

This shift was a big change from the previous ten years or so, when it became the norm in the Park for any cottage that was sold to be replaced by a giant house, often one built on speculation rather than by somebody actually intending to live there.  

But those days are gone.  In fact, we may be witnessing the end of spec-house development in Madison Park for some time.  There are only two spec houses currently nearing completion, and the several real estate agents we’ve questioned on the subject are unaware of any new speculative construction about to get underway.

Shown above is the second of two houses we covered last month in our report on short plats.  As we noted then, the house on the street side of this double-lot development sold before it was completed. This is the second house, now nearing completion, located at 2328 42nd Avenue E. With about 1,300 sq. ft., it will be priced in the $750,000 range and will probably be the last spec house to come on the market in Madison Park for the foreseeable future.

Another developer, M2K, is completing two houses (shown below), just to the south of McGilvra School.  With 5,870 square feet and priced at $2,875,000, the corner house at 3719 E. Garfield St. is one of three M2K houses constructed on adjoining properties over the past two years, one of which was No. 2 on the list of The 10 Most Expensive Madison Park Homes Sold in 2010, according to  That house, located at 1523 38th Ave. E., sold for $2.7 million.

But M2K, the last of the major Madison Park developers, is still sitting on an inventory of three houses, including one (pictured below) that was almost--but not quite--sold last year.  This house at 1406 38th Ave. E., just down the street and across E. Madison from M2K’s three-lot development, is proving a difficult sell.  Priced at $1,995,000, the 4,800 sq. ft. contemporary has been on the market for 645 days, according to Redfin.

Two other high-end spec houses in the neighborhood are also having their marketing challenges.   One of these, developed by a local realtor, is this 6,890 sq. ft. Washington Park view home located at 1217 39th Avenue E.:  

When originally offered for sale in 2009 it was priced at $4,290,000, but there was a price drop to $3,600,000 when the house was recently re-listed. The second unsold high-end spec house in Washington Park is one we profiled last year (“New Meaning for the Term Spec House”).  Located at 821 34th Avenue E., this “Old World Elegance” Megahouse, was a $5,650,00 structure when we posted our story. Today, its 5,498 square feet are a more affordable $4,900,000.

By our count, then, there are exactly six spec houses currently for sale in Madison Park, three to the north and three to the south of E. Madison Street.   We are also aware of two other spec houses that remain unsold here in the Park.  But in those two cases, the developers have elected to rent the houses and await a better market.   

Good luck on that!

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