About Gideon Fountain

I've been selling real estate in Greenwich for 30 years (but not while wearing a bathing suit). During this time I've learned that brokers owe a fiduciary duty to their selling clients, their buying clients, even to people who merely happen to approach them with a real estate question. So there's my method: honest answers, no sleazy tricks, it's worked out well! P.S. Any business that gets a plug in this blog gets it for free, I accept no payments, reduced-price-of-service, nothing, nada, zilch.

Very Good News For Greenwich Real Estate

6 Plow Lane, Greenwich (off Old Church Rd) closes at $5,155,000, one of 17 such closings in this price category so far this year.
List: Joan Epand
Sell: Bryan Tunney

Let’s consider the price category of $5,000,000 to $6,000,000, shall we? Last year, on this date, we’d had 7 closings. So far this year, it’s 13. You mathematicians will instantly see we’ve almost doubled last year’s result.

For the entire year of 2016, 17 properties priced between $5M and $6M closed. For this year, I predict 30+.

So things are looking good, and yes, I know there are endless reasons why they shouldn’t be, but perhaps, as with the stock market, real estate climbs on a wall of worry? Who knows.

Correcting Gideon’s Stats

Every once in a while, people make mistakes…

CurrentStats

All bloggers like to have readers, I am no exception. The only annoying part is when some of those readers question the Great One’s statistics. Just such a case has now presented itself.

You’ll recall that I recently compared the 2016 numbers to 2017’s using the Greenwich Board o’ Realtors site that all brokers use, something called “FlexMLS”. On that site I entered this criteria: “single-family Greenwich closings with contract dates between Jan. 1, 2016 and June 5, 2016”. That produced a figure of 89 sales.

Ask that same question, but change the year to 2017 and what do you get? 169 sales, almost a 90% increase! (I’ve just tried it again, and this time, I got slightly different numbers, yeesh!)

That number is apparently inaccurate, so I guess I cannot rely on the search method I’m using, not because the actual MLS numbers are wrong, but possibly because the search program mysteriously retains sales from the previous search that don’t belong in the new, changed search? I don’t know, I don’t care.

From now on, I’ll rely on Houlihan Lawrence’s excellent statistics. They’re clearly presented, easy to understand, and never wrong.

The long and short: Greenwich sales figures are indeed up this year over last, but not 90%, sadly, instead a more modest 6.9%. Sigh.

Click on that link below the picture to see an excellent year-by-year comparison.

What’s Selling Well In Greenwich Right Now

75 Rock Maple, Greenwich (off Stanwich Road), $5,695,000. Came on May 24th, already has a deal! This was a very smart asking price. We’ll have to wait for the closing, but I won’t be surprised if it had a little bidding war.
List: Helene Barre
Sell: Max Wiesen

You want the truth? You can handle the truth, so here it is: houses priced $5,000,000-6,000,000 are trading quite nicely, thank you. How many? So far this year, we’re up to 11 closings, with 6 more pending. For all of 2016, we had a total of 12, so there, my friends, is another clear indicator of that “zippy” market I talked about..

There is a theory among brokers that these $5M-6M buyers are “yesterday’s $10M buyers” who are now spending less not because they don’t have the dough, but more out of a sense of caution. This could be true, I’m not sure, but as I wrote yesterday, I’m certain some percentage of $10M buyers just aren’t here anymore. They’ve stayed in Manhattan or they’ve gone to places like Florida.

Now consider this: If all the Greenwich property owners with houses on the market for $10M+ (there are 41 of them) suddenly decided they needed to sell RIGHT NOW, they would need to slash their asking prices by millions. That would quickly drive down the price of all these houses presently selling in the 5’s and 6’s.

But guess what? High-end Greenwich property owners almost never really “need” to sell. That’s why we have so many on the market celebrating their 5th anniversary, 6th, 7th, all the way up to a few that have been on for FOURTEEN YEARS. So all you sellers in the $5M+’s? Relax, your market value is safe.

 

 

 

 

Is This A Zippy Market?

1 Bramble Lane, Riverside, asking $4.295M, now has deal, my guess, closes around $4.150M. Back in June, 2008, the builder unloaded it for $4,050,000, probably thinking he’d made a narrow escape, but Riverside hung in there!. Can any other part of Town promise that kind of hold on value? List: Russ Pruner  Sell: Barbara Wells

Those who know me well, know that I don’t throw words like “zippy” around lightly. No, I understand the significance of the word, and only use it when absolutely justified. Therefore, let me state for the record that we are experiencing a ZIPPY market!

Am I aware that the dominant political party in Hartford has taken us down the road-to-ruin, to the point where our finances now resemble pathetic Puerto Rico and Illinois? Yes, I am aware. If you actually add up all the (un-payable) billions and billions and billions we owe to the municipal-union pension funds, the State of CT is already effectively bankrupt. Not pretty.

And yet… people clearly still want to live in Fairfield County. Why is this? Are they unaware of the impending doom? Do they think a (Republican) savior will emerge?

Who knows. What I do know is that last year, as of this date, we’d had 89 closings. This year, same time period, we’re up to 169 (plus another 73 pending). That’s serious improvement.

The fly-in-the-ointment *? Of course, it’s the super high-end, just 3 sales this year for $8M+. 3 sales! Now we only have to get rid of the other 68 sitting on the market and we’re home free!

So why do Greenwich sales start to dwindle down when you pass the $6M mark? The reason stated above, certainly, but added to our miserable State financial picture, there’s the State’s continuing “war on the rich”, and the very, very rich don’t have to take it. If you’re a poor schlub barely making enough to spend $5,000,000 on a home, your work probably still ties you to the New York area. But I guarantee you that the $20,000,000 buyer is not tied to the New York area. And for now, that’s who’s leaving. You might think of them as canaries in the coal mine…

 

*how often is this a problem?

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”.