272 Riverside Avenue: Oops, I guess the market hasn’t declined that much.

One or two readers brought up the subject of

272 Riverside Avenue

As it turns out, this property represents still another example of why it remains impossible to definitively declare the exact percentage that Greenwich real estate prices have  declined…

Statistician Harvey Motulsky* wrote, “Outliers make statistical analysis difficult”.

But it’s worse than that; examples such as this are more than mere “outliers”, there are far too many of them.  So if your goal is an accurate market pronouncement, your only hope is to qualify your judgement based on specific sections and neighborhoods.  Anything else is guesswork and hogwash.

Taking all that into account, what can we say about 272 Riverside Avenue?  Well, here are the last two sale prices…

2008:  $3,850,000.

2012:  $3,700,000.

Price difference = $150,000 or  about a 4% decline since 2008. That’s Riverside, that’s new construction.  What about backcountry neighborhoods like the upper Riversville Road area?  Up there you might very well see evidence of as much as a 25% decline from 2007.

The moral of the story is, if you’re buying now, you won’t get very far if your mindset is some town-wide percentage decline. No such number exists.  It depends on where you’re looking.

How much has the market declined? As the saying goes, it’s all over the map.

272 Riverside Avenue (rear view) recently sold for $3,700,000. Good heavens, that’s a 3.89% decline since 2008….the horrors!

*Author and Medical Doctor Harvey Motulsky wrote Intuitive Biostatistics:  A Nonmathematical Guide To Statistical Thinking

22 thoughts on “272 Riverside Avenue: Oops, I guess the market hasn’t declined that much.

  1. I wish someone would elucidate how a putative architect could sit down at his drafting table and render a house so spectacularly ugly as that. Perhaps in response to a challenge or a bet?

    • Anthony Fountain:
      Oh, I should have known you’d object to all that gambrel roof, Palladian windowy, Doric column mish-mash. Truth is though, in real life, the place looks fine. The photo is deceptive.

  2. So is the take-away here that we’d be better off buying in backcountry to find deals, that in the long run, when (if) the economy ever recovers (hint, post Obama), our investment would actually gain value if we started out at houses that have declined 25% since 2007?

    PS: Even that 272 lost “only” 3.8%, I bet actual emotions would differ if it were your home and your loss.

    Have a good weekend.

    • anon2:
      Hmmm, maybe that IS the “take-away”, that if investment return is your objective, buying in the backcountry now (pre-Obama removal and the subsequent economic surge), would be smart.
      We brokers have long noted that during good economic times, ALL parts of Greenwich rise in value, but when things turn down, it’s the backcountry that takes the biggest hit.

      As for that snarky PS, dear reader, I say “Phaw!” I know all to well the feeling of lost value in real estate, my own property being down, in my estimate, by $300,000 or so. My valid point is that a $150,000 loss these days ain’t bad compared to others, capisce?

      • Capisce. It’s very hard for us old folk to accept that one’s most important purchase and likely most valuable asset, depreciates. To quote my granddaughter, it sucks. And maybe the sellers who balk the most about reducing their selling price are in my age bracket (hearing aid and cane) because they were brought up being told to buy a home, pay off the mortgage, then sell it and use the profits (you’ve heard that term, right?) to retire on.

      • anon2:
        Indeed, indeed. But I still think the best course, if possible, is to own the roof over your head. But maybe that’s old-fashioned thinking. I was born long after the Great Depression but my parents’ lives were shaped by it, so their Depression-era thinking influenced me in many ways.

        Financial advisor “Ric Edleman”, who manages 8 billion or so (and can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM, 770 on the AM dial, says this:
        “Live beneath your means, buy less house than you can afford, go ahead and get a big mortgage, pay it off gradually.” I think that’s good advice, regardless of what the market’s doing.

        Having said all that, there’s THIS to consider: There are plenty of places in America (like Vermont, for instance) where the price you paid for your house 25 years ago is what it is worth today!

    • Or, as Bette Davis’s character in “Dark Victory” (1939) says: “Moving to Vermont are you? What do you do there in between yawns?”

      • Great quote!! And one of my favorite movies!!! I could watch Bette Davis movies all day every day and never get bored. All time favorite? Now, Voyager.

  3. How could someone sit down and render a comment on architecture using the words elucidate and putative with a straight face? Do they do so while wearing a black mock turtleneck and sipping darjeerling tea? Or is it whilst sporting tweed jacket with paisley ascot? “Oh luvvee, bring me a crumpet, won’t you?”

      • I think you might want to delete that intemperate response of mine. When I go “big words” the intent is to be humorous but some people obviously don’t get it.

  4. Ah, come on, Gideon. Publish Anthony’s response…get some entertainment and spice going on this blog. I’ll bet it was superbly worded.

  5. As I recall it:

    Anonymous, go f*** yourself. Is that more to your liking? It’s good plain English!

    Now then, off to Mass.

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