Unprecedented Sell-Off of Ocean Beach Apartments Over Last 4 Years

by on April 30, 2015 · 11 comments

in Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

OB Look West from hilltop D6According to a review of OB Rag records, there’s been an unprecedented sell-off of apartments in Ocean Beach over the last 4 years.  This has included the transfer of nearly $38 millions and involving nearly 160 units.

OB Santa Monica 5041 +Since the summer of 2011, there’s been nearly 20 of these transactions – the sale and purchase of multiple-unit properties in the OB village.  There’s been at least ten since January 2014 and 3 this year already.

OB Map Sold Props

Rough map of multiple unit properties (n red) sold in OB over last 4 years.

In particular, what’s been called “the War Zone” over the years – northwest Ocean Beach, has been especially busy.

Here’s what we found since August 2011, listing the address, our reporting date, number of units and price:

  • 5029 West Pt Loma; 8/7/12 – 6 units for $1 Million;
  • 5065-69 Santa Monica; 9/10/13 – 3 units for $900K
  • 5073-85 Voltaire St.; 2/13/14 – 7 units for $1.3 Million:
  • 5026-32 Cape May; 3/5/14 – 6 units for $1.2 Million;
  • 5058-72 Cape May; 3/5/14 – 10 units for $2.8 Million;
  • 4960-62 West Pt Loma; 7/18/14 – 3 units for $950K;
  • 5141-53 Muir; 4/16/15 – 9 units and empty lot for $1.3 Million;
OB Map Sold Props Ed

Sales of apartment properties in northwest OB (in orange)- rough estimates – not necessarily to scale.

 These transactions accounted for the transfer of close to $38 millions over this time, and included the sale and buying of 159 units. (No single house sale was counted and only sales of apartments within OB were included.) That’s a lot of moolah and that’s a lot of OB dirt.

(Editor: for more info on individual sales, do a word search by address in our homepage search bar.)

Also, currently for sale are 2 more projects:

For sale:

  • 2051-59 Bacon; 2/10/15 22 units;
  • 5041-3 Santa Monica; 4/21/15 – 22 units;

The scale of the sell-off is staggering when you step back and view the totality. It appears that capital that had languished during the Great Recession has now been released and apartment properties are being gobbled up.

Combine this with the current building frenzy in and around Ocean Beach, you can get a sense of the enormity of the changes that our community is undergoing. And you get a sense of the millions that wealthy folks are making off the sands of Ocean Beach.

Btw dear reader: this information and summary is not available anywhere else except in the OB Rag, as it’s not provided by the mainstream press or even by smaller papers like the Beacon. Isn’t this a darn good reason to sign up as a monthly donor to the OB Rag to ensure that it remains available in the future?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

john April 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm

this is not so surprising when you look at the amount of money that poured into rentals across the country , especially in CA and parts of FL.

wall street has bet big on the fact that so many people lost their homes in the recession, and what I wonder is how much market collusion or manipulation can occur when a hedge fund owns a majority stake in the rental supply for a region?

i suppose the same question can be asked of banks when they hold so many foreclosed properties ..


RB April 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Low interest rates are good for both the buyers and sellers.
And with the high cost to develop new properties (regulation, permits, raw land, etc), I would much rather buy existing properties.


gregg sullivan April 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I think the lot with the liquor store at Abbott and Voltaire sold recently. Can you verify that?


Frank Gormlie April 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm

No we cannot. As far back as Feb 2014 it had not been sold. See http://obrag.org/?p=80704


objamie May 1, 2015 at 10:38 am

So Murfree Construction (located in a one-time mmj dispensary in PB) does not have plans to build three more “Famosa’s” on Voltaire?


Gina April 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Seems clear enough that speculators are betting on O B and buying these properties as “bottom feeders”…noticing that we have a wonderful, friendly, beach front community which they hope will ultimately go totally upscale with rising rents.

Total bummer.


Debra April 30, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Your paypal link isn’t working for me.


Frank Gormlie May 1, 2015 at 9:58 am

Sorry, I checked it, and seems to be okay.


Dave Rice April 30, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Well, I’m not sure that I’d exactly call the sales rate unprecedented – we’re looking at 18 buildings with 5 or more units (which is the dividing line between small buildings that could be potentially owner-occupied and strictly investor properties) sold in a little under 4 years – that’s 4-5 buildings a year.

I went and looked at records for the last 10 years, from January 1, 2005 to date – 60 sales, or an average of 6 per year. That’s only including public sales through a real estate broker, often sales occur without public marketing, so I’m sure I missed a few.

To me, that indicates there are fewer buildings selling around OB than usual…but there are also 3 properties currently up for sale including the two Frank lists and a third building consisting of 8 studio units at 5081 Lotus. Another three are in escrow, we’ll see soon if they close and what they sell for…

The Pat’s Liquor property has been in escrow with an asking price of $1,545,000 since late March – but it doesn’t show as having sold yet.


Frank Gormlie May 1, 2015 at 10:00 am

Thanks Dave for your usual insight and knowledge of the trade. However, viewed another way: 159 units divided by 4 years = almost 40 units per year.

Part of my point is the increase just in the last couple years as the recession has ebbed. Of course if you include those years during the recession that didn’t see many sales, then the ratio goes down. But that partly misses the point.


rchalmers3 May 6, 2015 at 11:26 am

Phillis and Kermit Keen probably held a good portion of the properties that you mention as having being sold over the past few years. If so, I’d say its no biggie: They bought, improved and held properties for decades. Whomever is liquidating the properties is merely releasing properties back to the market.


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