Carmel Point is located south of Santa Lucia Avenue on the southern border of the small community known as Carmel-By-The-Sea. The “Point” is bounded on the west and south by Carmel Bay and Stewart’s Cove and on the east by the Mission Ranch and the historic Carmel Mission founded by Father Junipero Serra in the summer of 1771. This area was once characterized as an unforgiving, windswept and craggy piece of land, hardly worth anything “cause you couldn’t grow nothin but scrub grass.”
In 1856, John Martin and his family ended their long voyage and docked in Monterey. It is said they disembarked to eat a wonderful lunch under a massive oak tree. Years later this historic family purchased property that stretched from the Carmel Mission west to encompass all of what is now known as Carmel Point. One of the earliest dairies in California was built on this site and many of the buildings still exist including the original homestead residence pictured above . We now know this property as Mission Ranch, owned by local Carmel citizen, Clint Eastwood.
Carmel Point was also the site of the earliest ocean front golf course in the Carmel, Pebble Beach area. Pebble Beach was built in 1919, but how many people know that a decade earlier the rocky, windswept shore at Carmel Point was home to a few lucky golfers. But it wasn’t meant to be. Pebble Beach is a world reknown shrine to golf, and the only remaining evidence of the Carmel Point Golf Course is a plaque on the wall of what was then the caddie shack for this historic setting.
For years Carmel Point has been a good leading indicator of the health of the Carmel area wide marketplace. Historically the Point has been the marketplace of greatest demand and highest real estate values as measured by per sq ft sales costs. As shown on the sales graph , units of sale appear to have bottomed out in 2009 with only 8 sales, with unit sales of 20 in 2010 returning to a pre 2005 range .
Sales of Carmel Point residences demonstrated a marked improvement in 2010 over the previous year. As in previous real estate cycles, Carmel Point has tended to improve much earlier than areas such as Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley. Although this current cycle is unlike any other over the past 35 years, early indications appear to be confirming the past trends.
Two notable Carmel Point sales in 2010 give us a look at what has happened to area values since the peak in 2005. The first sale is located at 2632 Walker Avenue. This property has sold three times during the downturn. The first sale took place in November, 2004, for $2,100,000. As the market began adjusting, a sale took place in April, 2007 for $2,080,000. Following the August 2008 freeze of credit surrounding Bear Stearns and the failure of Lehman Brothers, the markets started to accelerate in a downward price movement. A final sale took place in December of 2010 for $1,610,000 representing a reduction of 23% in value.
The second sale was located at 26102 Carmelo Street. The original sale was in April, 2006 for $2,000,000. This property recently closed escrow in November of 2010 for $1,200,000 representing a decrease of 40%. The property started at $2,100,000 and experienced 4 price reductions and was on the market for 435 days before effecting the sale. It must be noted that this sale represents the extreme in value loss, and it appears to be similar to the stock market when sellers finally capitulate at the bottom of the market.
So what does this portend for the future health of our local markets? As with all predictions, we look thru a glass darkly. However it does appear that for Carmel Point, the worst may be over and we are near or at the end of the cycle. Many factors will determine if this is correct, the health of the overall economy and consumer sentiment. If past trends are meaningful, we may be looking forward to better signs of health in the surrouning areas of Carmel Valley and Pebble Beach. All eyes will be following closely.