Market Restraint?

23 Smith Road, Greenwich, First ask $39.5M. Sells for $29.9M. Looks idyllic, no? Even better in real life! Reportedly bought by a neighbor, will be torn down. Either way, the price makes sense. List: Sally Maloney. Sell: Tamar Lurie

All great economic catastrophes are caused by government bungling, intrusion, or, in the case of communist takeovers, outright attack. So what’s going to cause the next great disaster in the US economy? It’s happening right now, before your wondering eyes! It’s the printing and dumping of trillions and trillions of dollars into an already surging economy.

Businesses, desperate to get back to normal, are discovering there’s no one to hire because the massive distribution of checks, sent to citizens (and non-citizens) all across the country, has literally stopped employment in its tracks. Millions of people, officially “unemployed” are paid by Washington to stay home and remain unemployed.

The economy-distorting effects are everywhere: help-wanted signs in front of retail shops go unanswered, factories can’t produce goods and trucking companies can’t deliver goods that do somehow manage to get made. Lumber mills, paper producers,oil drillers,farmers, landscapers, everyone is in search of labor and can’t find it.

This is good news for wages, they are rising, at least temporarily, but for small businesses, finally emerging from the covid-19 nightmare? This will be the end. They can’t afford to pay $25+/hour for labor. The winners will be, who else? Big businesses!

Anyway, while we wait for the economy to return to Jimmy Carter-style 1970’s level inflation, unemployment, and high interest rates, Greenwich real estate continues to chug along nicely! Asset bubble? What asset bubble? Here are some examples of what I would call “market restraint” and, to me, they are proof that, in Greenwich, at least, things are not quite out of control, not yet.

59 Mooreland Road, Greenwich. First ask $11.5M. Sells for $8.5M. Owner paid $9.495M in 2004, added millions in improvements, a truly great deal for the buyers, who are moving from Riverside. List: Brian Milton. Sell: Kim Ferraro Arguimbau.
549 North Street, Greenwich. First ask $12.5M. Sells for $6.975M. Great house, great property, for some reason, the seller kept it on the market for 16 years, possibly turning down better offers along the way? Oh, well. List: Shelly Tretter Lynch Sell: Christine Danforth.
65 Clapboard Ridge, Greenwich. First ask $12.495M. Sells for $7.495M. This one only took 6 years, and yeah, likely turned down better offers. A helluva lot of house for the money! List: Ellen Mosher Sell: BK Bates.

The Greenwich market is very strong right now, we still have bidding wars breaking out here and there, but the four examples above, plus plenty of others, show that you don’t necessarily have to overpay. Buy smart!

Movie Review: The Empty Man

EmptyMan2Scene from The Empty Man…..Saw it last night at Stamford’s Majestic Theater on Summer Street. The restaurant night-life around the theater was nearly as lively as always, despite all the &%@#-ing covid-19 restrictions, but very few people were entering the theater! That’s a shame. So put on your &%#@-ing mask and GO! It’s still the best way to watch movies.

The sneaky thing about this film is that it leaves so much to your imagination. In classic Hitchcock/Spielberg fashion, the director* makes you wait a while before you actually see what the hell is chasing the protagonist. Even when you do sort of see it, it’s not really menacing and then SUDDENLY! Whoa! Run! Get the hell outta there! But then, nothing…. was it really there? Spooky, scary, creepy.

And it never lets up. There are no moments in the movie where you are allowed to relax. Not because of non-stop, frenzied action, although there’s plenty of that, but even the quiet moments manage to keep you on edge: something is about to happen, you’re sure of it, and the accompanying sounds and music heighten that sense.

As for the acting, there are NO bad performances here, every actor in this film, no matter how small the part, is masterful. As a result, The Empty Man is riveting, thought-provoking and, most importantly, hugely entertaining. That’s everything you can ask of a movie.


*The Director, David Prior, is my nephew. If I hadn’t liked this film, I would not have written about it all, so I’m truly thrilled I CAN write about it, it’s a masterpiece. Could it be a s’midge shorter? Sure, but saying so reminds me of that scene in Amadeus where the King tells Mozart his work was brilliant but contained “too many notes”.

Must Modern Mean Ugly?

Welcome to my warm & cozy living room!
340 Stanwich Road, Greenwich, $9.499M, now pending.
Listing agent: Michael Ferraro of Compass.

Brings new meaning to the phrase “home office”, does it not?
The Modern, 125 Field Point Road, Greenwich, priced in the $3Ms. Web-site:
Listing agent: Tamar Lurie & Jen Danzi of Coldwell Banker.
(Caucasian guy on the right there is CGI, no royalties paid)

Some of these new dwellings appearing in Greenwich lately strike me as cold, stark, and maybe even ugly. They have all the warmth and ambiance of some Silicon Valley corporate headquarters, or perhaps a brand new airport waiting area. In short, they don’t feel “livable”.

Does the market agree with me? Hell no! 340 Stanwich Road went “pending” in about 50 days and the Richard Granoff condos known as “The Modern” have already sold 9 of the 12 units available. So I’m wrong and the architects are right…. fine.

Both of these places are undeniably cool and daring but to actually live in them full time? No, no, and no (but I will attend parties there, if invited).

Link to MLS listings:

340 Stanwich Road, Greenwich, CT

125 Field Point Road, unit B-1, Greenwich, CT





What’s Selling RIGHT NOW in Greenwich

15 contracts in the last 7 days, and 36 properties went from contracts to “pending”. Considering the current situation, that’s an astounding level of activity. And it’s not just fleeing New Yorkers, although those numbers are way up, of course. It’s also just the normal demand coming from within the town, people wanting larger quarters, people scaling down, or just moving from one neighborhood to another.

2 Knoll Street, Riverside, $1.995M hit the market and… gone! 20 showings, fast deal.
Listing agent: Lindsey Sheehy.

If it’s this busy now, it’s going to be a truly awesome Spring market that will extend an extra month, through July. Let’s see if Gid, Wizard of Real Estate, is proved right. And for additional blather on this exciting topic, tune in weekly to my radio show, “Your Greenwich House”, Wednesdays, 10:00 AM at 1490 WGCH and, you will be entertained.

“Gosh, the market must be dead!”

Actually, it’s not dead, I’m amazingly busy and so are loads of other brokers.. It seems there are plenty of people out there who think this covid-19 stuff is going to end fairly soon. Maybe they’re right! A friend of mine tells me his friend, a top doc at Manhattan’s Colombia Presbyterian Hospital, says the only covid-19 number to watch is hospital admissions, and he predicts that number will peak in a few days. After that, things start to get better.

We shall see, shan’t we!

17 Willowmere Circle, Riverside, $2.695M, currently my busiest listing, averaging about two showings per day (all composed of property-walks).
1 Rogers Road, Shippan Point, Stamford, $4.495M and for rent, furnished. This is currently my second busiest listing, getting about one showing every day.

Besides this blog, you can learn a lot about what’s going on RIGHT NOW with Greenwich real estate on my radio show, every Wednesday morning, 10:00 AM. The show’s main goal is to make you laugh, but we do sneak in some truly useful real estate info, so listen on your car radio or on your mobile device, would’ja? or 1490 AM on your damned radio! (that’s me on the right, broker Jon Wilcox on the left)

Hate When This Happens!

156 Stanwich Road, Greenwich, CT. Asking $2,875,000., already has deal.
Listing agent:Roberta Jurik
Selling agent: NOT Gideon Fountain, dammit.

A client just asked me about 156 Stanwich Road, a great old 1936 colonial overlooking Greenwich Country Club. Sold in 2009 for $2,450,000, came back on December 12th for $2,875,000, now under contract! %#@&!!

Current owners made all sorts of improvements (click “documents” on listing link), including a great new pool/guest house and beautiful master bathroom suite. As you will see from the photos, the furnishings are a bit… a little….er.. what’s the polite word for “dowdy”? But who cares? It apparently made no difference to the buyer.

The lesson? Once again a smart asking price proves that, even in a “slow” market, you can unload a Greenwich property immediately if you really want to.

Example of the furnishings… quaint, how about quaint? That’s nicer than “dowdy”.

A Market Test

247 Riverside Avenue, Riverside, CT, back on the market for $5,795,000.

Broker Ann Simpson has put 247 Riverside Avenue back on the market. She sold it to the current owners for $5,300,000 in 2011. There are plenty of parts of town where the price you paid in 2011 is no longer a possibility but I wonder if this one will prove just how well Riverside prices are holding up…

(The listing link may show MY happy little face, but this is Ms. Simpson’s listing)

Buy A Boat On The Riverside

Turner Franco and Josh Lewis, standing by (whilst seated), ready to talk boats. They both are hugely knowledgeable about the inventory and you can try before you buy, a relative rarity in the kayak business!
(Gideon Fountain received no compensation of any kind for this free plug)

For my entire life, “Ole’s Boat Yard”, 350 Riverside Avenue, Riverside, CT, was mostly a decrepit old dump of an establishment. Boats were theoretically sold and serviced there, but the amount of business done seemed pretty meager.

Now it’s been bought and restored by the same couple who spear-headed the restoration of many of the old Tod’s Point buildings, Chris and Rachel Franco. It’s safe to say that no other buyer in this town would have gone to the trouble of restoring this building. It was destined for the dumpster and would have been replaced by a nice, big & ugly spec house, and one more little Greenwich landmark would have disappeared , a loss for all of us.

Instead, the building now looks brand-new: there’s an art gallery, a luxury waterfront apartment upstairs, offices in back, a deck, and sandy “beach”, all quite amazing.

In addition, the Franco’s son has re-started the boat-selling business offering kayaks, paddle boards, etc. All this takes place dockside, so if the tide’s up, you can try before you buy. That alone makes this place unique, so go take advantage. High tide today, Saturday, Memorial Day weekend, is around 5:15 PM. That means, by 4:00, there should be sufficient water. Go buy a boat!

In case no one’s home, call or e-mail young Franco and he’ll scurry down and open up the store…

Should You Buy An Investment Property?

33 Valley Road, Cos Cob, CT. Asking price $1,650,000. Now has deal (sold immediately).
List: Denise Rosato of Coldwell Banker
Sell: Lisa McGinn of Berkshire Hathaway

Today’s Wall Street Journal declares California has become a one-party state. As a result, it has the highest everything: highest taxes, highest regulations, highest illegal alien population, highest number of people on welfare, and, to top it all off, mediocre public schools! Oh ,and the roads are in terrible shape, and getting worse.

Can all this happen in Connecticut? Yes, by gosh, it’s happening right now! So, is it time to get out? That, old chum, is YOUR decision. In the meantime, you might as well invest in some income property, what say?

Here’s a damn good example: 33 Valley Road is a four-family dwelling, with rental income of $8,800 per month, $105,600 per year. Taxes are low (for now), only $9,783 per year. All in all, a good investment in a central location that is near everything and will always be easy to rent.

Unfortunately, it just got snapped up, so forget about this one. But there are still eight more on the market (click link below) so go out tomorrow and buy one!

Current inventory of multi-family homes.