A Bay Area house that burned to the studs sold for $1 million in less than a week

·2 min read
254 Tamarisk Drive
Melinda Byrne/Key Realty
  • A four-bedroom home in Walnut Creek, California, just closed for $1 million, two weeks after it hit the market.

  • That's well below the median list price for the ZIP code, but the house was nearly destroyed by fire.

  • "Bring your contractor, architect, and designer: this is more than a fixer," the listing said.

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The Bay Area real estate market may be hot, but one property was especially so.

In spite of being "stripped to the studs" because of a two-alarm fire last year, a four-bedroom, two-bath house in Walnut Creek, California, closed for $1 million, just two weeks after it was listed for $850,000, Realtor Melinda Byrne of Key Realty told Insider.

"This one is ready to start fresh," the listing said. "Opportunities like this are rare to make dramatic changes to a home and floor plan."

Read more: The 7 best suburbs worth moving to right now, where people earn more money and homes are cheaper

"Great neighborhood, large lot, and close to shopping and conveniences," it continued. "Bring your contractor, architect, and designer: this is more than a fixer."

Byrne said she had thirteen offers before she could mark the listing "pending," and that was still getting requests from buyers who wanted a spot on the backup list. The property is no longer available.

254 Tamarisk Drive
A Google Street View of the the house in 2014. Google

The median list price in Walnut Creek - about 28 miles east of San Francisco - is $1.2 million, according to Redfin, but Byrne said houses routinely go for $2.1 million, depending on size and condition.

As the daughter of a contractor, Byrne said the property is actually a better bargain than it might first appear, due to the location and the fact that the mid-century floor-plan is in need of a significant update.

"Fixer-uppers usually have walls," she said. "In the case of this property, it's literally transparent."

With a good school system, lots of local shops, access to recreational trails, and an hour's drive to San Francisco, suburbs like Walnut Creek are seeing extraordinary demand over the past year.

Byrne said listings are now down 50% compared with 2020, and that there is effectively zero available inventory in her market - the one house for sale already has three offers.

Previously in June, a heavily vandalized "house from hell" in Colorado Springs was listed for $590,000 and got 72 offers in five days. Both are signs that buyers are willing to look past severe defects in order to get their hands on a promising property in an unprecedentedly tight market.

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