Chris Fountain’s Interview On CNN

Chris Fountain on TV, now he MUST be famous.

Chris Fountain on TV, now he MUST be famous. (CNN’s thrilled! It’s viewership went from 48,756 to 1,305,000* for their early morning show. Maybe they should have Chris on every day)
*Made up numbers!

UPDATE: I changed the link to a direct CNN one.

Were you searching for the perfect phrase to describe Chris Fountain’s vindictive decision to publish the names, addresses, and other biographical details of all staff members of Westchester’s Journal News who contributed to the Journal’s report that featured an interactive map of all gun-permit holders in Westchester County? Search no more!

A Childish 180“. Yep, that’s what blogger John Surico of the Village Voice (cited recently for its child-prostitution ads on the back pages) has termed Chris’s clever turning of the tables.

Me, I like it this sort of table-turning.

Chris Fountain’s interview this morning on CNN Note that it takes four CNN guys to gang-up on poor little Chris. (Starts with bizarre ad for Subaru, press “skip”)

Hendrie Avenue, Riverside, CT: New Record Price

Yep, it’s not just Riverside’s Club Road that shows no effects from the real estate “crash”. Hendrie Avenue, which starts at Riverside Avenue, winds past Eastern Middle School and Riverside Elementary School, and ends at Old Greenwich’s Binney Park, has a new record price of $4,100,000.

Here’s the listing:  16 Hendrie Avenue.

Listed:  Linda Collins

Sold:  Patte Nusbaum

A client of mine bought on Hendrie in 2008 for the then record price of $3.8M.  A few months later, a nearby property sold for $4,050,000.  Recently, that client asked me, “How much am I down?” I told him, forget down, you’re probably up! Ahh, Riverside.

4 highest prices on Hendrie  (one of these has the official address of “1 Bramble Lane”, but it fronts on Hendrie Ave).

House illustration by Gideon Fountain client Kathy Blakemore.

16 Hendrie Avenue sells for $4.1M, new street record.  Did someone mention a real estate crash?

16 Hendrie Avenue sells for $4.1M, new street record. Did someone mention a real estate crash?

That “Riverside Magic” Further Illustrated

78 Doubling Road (link shows before/after) is back on the market today for $6.50M.  What’s amazing about that is this place fetched $8.6M back in Aug. 2007. Big deal, you say, that’s the story of the market. True, except for the real estate world’s “Bermuda Triangle” known as Riverside, where prices refused to drop.

I’ve even got a splendid example in the exact same price-range:

35 Club Road (link shows before/after)

35 Club fetched $8.675M in the fall of 2008.  This year it sold again, for $8.450M, so the sellers were stung by a whopping 2.5% decline!  Shouldn’t we all have been so lucky.

Two perfectly nice houses, two completely different results. A puzzle.

78 Doubling Road, back on the market at $6.50M.  Last sold for $8.6M in 2007.

78 Doubling Road, back on the market at $6.50M. Last sold for $8.6M in 2007.

Meanwhile, 35 Club Road takes a modest 2.5% haircut, from $8.675M in 2008, to $8.450M in 2012.

Meanwhile, 35 Club Road takes a modest 2.5% haircut, from $8.675M in 2008, to $8.450M in 2012.

101 Indian Head Road (aka “2 Red Top Road”)

Ah! Now here’s a good market test, I like market tests. 1.55 acres (1-acre zone) on a little private lane off Riverside’s Indian Head Road…

Broker David Birkic has just brought it on the market…

101 Indian Head Road

Ask is $2,995,000, which sounds to me like “in the ballpark”. Here’s a couple of comparables, to help us figure it out:

Indian Head Road land sales

But the comparable I really like is this one…

66 Indian Head Road

Why do I like that one? Because it was a tear-down with 1.27 acres that sold for $2,050,000 in May, 2010 BUT…after those owners leveled the lot and had a new septic system installed, they sold it for $2,675,000 in Aug. 2011. Keep in mind, Birkic’s listing has a substantially larger lot and is on a quaint little private lane.

101 Indian Head Road, broker Dave Birkic's latest...

101 Indian Head Road, broker Dave Birkic’s latest…

66 Indian Head, last sold for $2.675M in 2011.  Could this be the comp?

66 Indian Head, last sold for $2.675M in 2011. Could this be the comp?

51 North Stanwich Road

Broker Brad Hvolbeck (the”v” is silent), fresh off his spectacular sale of 23-years-on-the-market-44 Upper Cross Road, is refusing to rest on his laurels* and has just put…

51 North Stanwich Road

on the market.  This has always been one of my favorites, here’s why:  You know that old adage “buy the cheapest house on the most expensive street”? Well, this is the place that adage was written for.

It’s a cute little fieldstone cottage (comes with another cute little cottage) on 1 acre, on a street almost entirely made up of mansions on multi-acre lots.  Get the picture?

*Ever rested on laurels?  Don’t, they’re spiky.

Christmas Bargains: Why The End Of The Year Is The Best Time To Buy

Ok, so Greenwich is never, ever a “bargain”, too many people continue to want to live here for anything to sell at a bargain price. But…it is exactly this time of year that the wise purchaser can scoop up a relative bargain.

Why? Because all that remains on the market at the moment are left-overs that were over-priced months and months and months ago. The sellers, beaten down and discouraged, are finally ready to let the place go. Great news for buyers, and a poignant lesson for sellers: Don’t over-price.

111 Patterson Avenue, Greenwich (NOT one of my listings), now officially a bargain at $1.850M.  Drawback: You get to live next door to ME.

111 Patterson Avenue, Greenwich (Not my listing!) Now, officially a bargain at $1.850M. Additional attractions: proximity to Brunswick School and…. Gideon Fountain’s new cedar roof.

How Does This Year Compare To Others?

Note what happened to real estate when the government decided that banks should lend to anyone and everyone....

This chart stops mid-2009, and we’ve recovered more since then, but it’s useful to see what happened to real estate sales when the government decided (in 1977 and, more forcefully,  in 1995) to force banks to lend to anyone and everyone….

GREENWICH SALES YEAR-TO-YEAR (single-family houses and condos)

2006:  813

2007:  814

2008:  521

2009:  425

2010:  641

2011:  654

2012: 648 (so far)

Sales-To-Date This Year: 518 (Last Year: 525)


Ok, the figures I reported below reflected single-family sales which had contracts signed in 2012.  It turns out, it is more sensible to simply tabulate the number of properties that have sold this year, rather than concern ourselves with when the actual contract was signed…get it? (Me, neither)

That said, so far this year we’ve had 518 closings of single-family homes.

Want to see all 518 sales? Here they are:

518 sales from Jan. 1, 2012- Dec. 10, 2012

In addition, there are exactly 99 properties under contract (not including condos, multi-families, and land), so perhaps we’ll finish out the year at around, what, 525 sales? That would compare to 2011’s 508 sales, so we should end up ahead of last year, maybe way ahead.

But are we beggaring our future here? Are we front-loading what would have been some of next year’s sales, as people RUSH to get it done this year, in order to avoid the massive tax increases that were built into those 2,000 pages of ObamaCare? Yes, that is exactly what is happening.


158 Indian Head Road, last ask $12.5M. It’s one of 99 properties presently under contract.

Is 23 Years On The Market Too Long?

Some might say so. But this seller no doubt insisted he was just “waiting for the right buyer”, or perhaps he dipped further into that old classic, The Real Estate Seller’s Book Of Common Phrases And Excuses (available on Amazon, $6.99) and reassured each of his six different listing agents that “all it takes is ONE!” *

Anyway, it is over; the long, long, tiresome journey has come to its end, and it turned out to be an $8,000,000 end, not bad!

44 Upper Cross Road

In every struggle such as this there are heroes, fallen and un-fallen. I wish to take this time to commend the two that remained standing:

Kathryn Clauss, listing agent

Brad Hvolbeck, selling agent

There is a popular saying among brokers, “Better to be the first son, the second wife, or the third listing agent”, but Kathryn Claus saw the folly in this, determining that, for 44 Upper Cross Road, the winning position would be that of the sixth listing agent. She guessed correctly.

Brad Hvolbeck (the “v” is silent), a Greenwich broker for 35+ years, had no way of knowing, back on that frosty October day in 1999, when this listing first appeared, that he would one day sell it and collect a 4% (you heard right) commission of $320,000, but, as the saying goes, “Some are born to greatness, others have it thrust upon them”.

*”All it takes is one” is a common sellers’ exhortation to their (weary) broker that the last 50 unsuccessful showings don’t prove anything because….. that one happy-to-over-pay buyer may still be out there!


44 Upper Cross Road sold this week for $8M after 23 years on the market. It comes with 23 acres, so that’s 1 year per acre.