Finally, An End To Waterfront Hegemony!

41 Meadow Wood Drive, Belle Haven, ask $9,000,000 (started at $29M seven years ago, by golly!)

Yes friends, it’s happened at last! Finally, finally, finally…a truly big sale (ask was $9,000,000) has occurred and it’s not on the water!

Wait..what? It is?? Oh, crap.

Truth is, I just wanted to use the word “hegemony” in a sentence, but of course this is waterfront, that’s all that’s selling in the $6M+ category. Will this situation ever change?

Bad Golfers Unite!

The green jacket at last! Do we forgive him for pairing it with a green shirt? Yes, we do.

Ahh, the dawning of a fresh golf season! The Masters tournament leads us into it as surely as Thanksgiving brings us Christmas.

It is around this time of year that I’m reminded how much luckier we bad golfers are than you good ones. The fact is, we get more pleasure from the game. The golf gods are capricious, they bestow miracles unevenly, unfairly. Bad golfers get their share, but we appreciate them so much more!

A group of us was sitting around last weekend sharing memories of great golf moments. My friend Jimmy, as usual, recounted the time he hit that perfect drive: “Out it sailed, perfectly straight, landing a full one hundred yards down the fairway, then rolled twenty more yards! Eight more strokes and I was in the hole, saved my 9”, he exclaimed.

Not to be outdone, another friend piped up, “Oh yeah? What about the time I used my 9-iron to land within 3 feet of the hole, and then ONE-PUTTED, what about that day, my friends”? We all nodded reverently.

We are, after all, the type of golfers who can be 30 feet from the hole and still be 5 strokes out. To understand how we view a one-put, you have only to imagine how better golfers feel after hitting a hole-in-one. Yes, for us, the one-put is a mystical thing, heard of but never experienced.

Getting back to the 2017 Masters, was it the best ever? Many say so. The competition between Garcia and Rose was absolutely the best. Going in, Sergio had a career 74 starts without a single major win. To finally get that win at the most important golf event of the year was just…perfect (very Phil Mickelson-esque, you might say). It really was almost as good as bad golf.

 

Tragedy At Water Company Drought Office

All that remains of Aquarion Water’s Drought Headquarters building after a tidal wave swept over it.


Greenwich Gazette, April 3, 2017. Tragedy struck Saturday morning at Aquarion Water Company’s newly opened Drought Monitoring building at the company’s Dekraft Road Putnam Lake location, off Butternut Hollow. The reservoir, swollen by recent torrential rains, received an additional 3 inches more rainfall during Friday evening’s major storm, pushing it past the bursting point. Without warning, at 3:15 am Saturday morning, the newly built structure was mostly washed away by a monstrous wave of wind-driven water.

Missing and presumed dead were three life-like robots, installed recently at great expense, to monitor and record falling water levels and general drought conditions.

“Certainly the irony of this is not lost upon us”, said Aquarion bookkeeper, Marad Fogwogger, “here we are calling this a drought, yet our building and loyal employees get washed down the river by a tidal wave of fresh water. It’s weird!”

Fogwogger took the opportunity to remind Greenwich residents that outdoor watering remains prohibited, “as long as this terrible drought continues”.

Aquarion executive Marad Fogwogger (left), overseeing the release of billions of gallons of fresh water in order to make room in the reservoir for “anticipated future rain storms”.

What A Week!

16 Chimney Corner Lane, Greenwich, just closed at $8.5M. List: David Ogilvy. Sell: Lindsay Sheehy. Note: These links don’t show pictures on your mobile device. I intend to fix this problem tomorrow!

I’ve said it before, we salesmen live for “comps”. If no one’s buying, how do we convince others to buy? This past week provided a bunch (23 total) of fresh comps so we’re all happy. I should also mention, there are reports of bidding-wars breaking out all over, which, though perfectly normal for this time of year, still comes as a bit of a surprise because of the widely perceived “slow market”.

My favorite sale of the week has to be Lindsay Sheehy’s sale of David Ogilvy’s listing at 16 Chimney Corner Lane, for $8,500,000. I like to see big numbers, of course, and this one is way up there in the high-zone, that’s the good news. My only molecule of concern is that, like almost everything else selling in the upper range, it’s waterfront. Does it always have to be waterfront? Is that still the only big stuff selling these days?

Second favorite sale of the week: my own sale, for $5,600,000, of Rob Johnson’s listing at 25 Willowmere Circle, Riverside. And yes, of course it was waterfront.

Next up, Joe Barbieri, with the help of Barbara O’Shea, has unloaded 30 Northway, Old Greenwich, a waterfront tear-down, for $6,250,000.

46 Grahampton Lane, Greenwich, fetched $4,162,500. List: Leslie McElwreath. Sell: Bryan Tunney. Waterfront, did you ask?  Of course!

So the first four are waterfront, but there were six more of note, all non-waterfront, here they are…

33 Hendrie Avenue, Riverside: $2,710,000.

15 Beechcroft Road, Greenwich: $2,326,000 (ask was $2,195,000)

151 Shore Road, Old Greenwich: $2,283,000.

38 Birch Lane, Greenwich: $2,150,000 (ask was $1,995,000)

320 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich: $1,989,000 (mistakenly shows as “rented”)

139 North Street: $1,900,000.

Add thirteen more, priced below that last one above, to make 23 closings in one week? That’s a good week for Greenwich real estate.

 

 

 

Will The High-End Drag Down Everyone Else?

If no one buys this Bugatti Chiron for $2,998,000, will that hurt the sales of $90,000 Mercedes Benzes? Gideon says no.

I was belly-aching about the lack of high-end ($7M+) sales the other day to my friend* Chuck Royce, who certainly knows things, and he said “We lost 300,000 financial jobs and those buyers just aren’t there anymore”.

I won’t argue with the Voice of Royce, certainly the government-caused melt down of the housing industry, followed by the near collapse of the financial sector, took a terrible toll on jobs in the investment business.  But I still think there’s more to this. After all, there are now PLENTY of young couples out there getting into bidding wars over $2M tear-downs, particularly in Riverside and Old Greenwich. It’s one of our busiest segments, and consider the money being spent: they’ll pay anywhere from $2M to $4M+, just for the land, then spend $2M-3M to build the dream house.

Take the folks who just paid $4,325,000 for the right to tear down 206 Shore Road, Old Greenwich: they will be all-in for around $7M when they’re done building. Does that sound like a weak market?

No, what’s going on here besides Royce’s observation of 300,000 eliminated jobs is that young buyers, more than ever, want brand new. That means if you dumped millions into a property 15 years ago, you may not get that money back. Maybe your $12,000,000 house is now only worth $7,000,000, but the buyers are there. Their tastes have changed, but they do exist!

We notice this loss of value most in our extreme high-end properties, but will that erosion inevitably drag all the other prices down? I say no. It’s like the Bugatti example above. Prices in the rarefied categories, whether it be art, property, or automobiles, don’t really have much influence on the rest of us.

 

*You qualify as my “friend” if you can reliably pick me out of a police line-up.

Greenwich’s Wettest Drought II

Greenwich Gazette reporter, Wanda Round, seen leaving Aquarion World headquarters, Monroe, CT, earlier today.

Speaking to a gaggle of skeptical* reporters, a visibly irritated Marad Fogwogger,  Aquarion Water Company’s Vice-President insisted, “The drought will go on as long as I say it goes on!”. When pressed for more, he added that the public becomes “confused” when massive rainfalls appear to have no effect on the drought declaration.

Here is his full statement:

“This is too complicated to fully explain, but I will say that the whole thing can be attributed to global warming”, Mr. Fogwogger explained. “Warm air in the upper atmosphere causes warm rainfall, you see, and this warmer rain, well, it evaporates much more quickly. Yes, and it, um, warms the existing water in the reservoirs, so that water evaporates quicker, too! So, to sum up, the more rain we get, the lower the reservoirs drop, got it?”

 

 

*don’t you wish

Hanging Wit Da Brokahs OR… My Trip To Florida

The legendary, but still hip, Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami, Florida

Like me, you can think of nothing more fun and exciting than going to a Realtor’s convention and hanging out with a gaggle of Realtors. It’s “gaggle”, isn’t it? Pride of lions, pod of whales, eye of newt, gaggle of Realtors?

So down to Florida I jet, staying at the fabulous Fontainebleau, which I hadn’t seen since watching James Bond saunter by the pool in the movie “Goldfinger“. See those pictures on the website of wonderful ocean views? My view was more parking lot and some sort of inland canal, but still, over all, very nice room.

So NOT my view…

This chap talked about international real estate markets, actually interesting, I swear!

Hangin’ by the pool…(there were eight or nine different ones)

One of two iguanas that lived in the palm trees next to this pool. Note to iguana fans: have you ever seen a better set of caudal spines in your life?

Almost all of my time was spent in various “seminars” but it wasn’t as bad as that sounds. Years ago, I went into NYC to attend some Coldwell Banker broker thing, and the whole time was spent listening to lectures on sales technique, how to ask “tie down” questions, and generally how to steer hapless customers towards a sale.

This was anything but. The brokers I met with are all dominating their local markets and all of them are NOT working for national firms. There entire focus was on “building their brand”, which every broker needs to do, regardless of who you work for.

Still awake? Ok, so besides real estate, they also had interesting speakers like thriller-writer Brad Meltzer, who talked about extraordinary individuals like the cops who started the Make A Wish Foundation, and how maybe you’re not going to do anything that big, but you can still find a way to improve the lives of others (can you imagine such poppy-cock?). But seriously, I liked Meltzer’s speech the best.

I wonder if anyone here suspects I’m a white guy from CT!

 

Come on, who wouldn’t want to pose with a camel!

That building had the views…

Great spot to sit around and smoke a thoughtful cigar…