C’mon In, The Market’s Fine!

8 Willow Lane, Old Greenwich, asked $1,150,000, sells for $1,225,000.
List: Cynthia De Riemer
Sell: Julie Lowe

Friends, don’t ask me to explain it, but the Greenwich real estate market is doing just fine. Volume exceeds last year’s and prices are NOT dropping. They’re not rising, but they definitely aren’t falling.

The most astonishing fact? We brokers noticed a pick-up in showings the day after the elections! Buyers heaved a collective sigh and said, “Thank God, we’ll have more Democrats in Hartford, so now the state can really clean up it’s act!” Yeah,no, there is zero possibility that higher taxes, tolls, and new, burdensome regulations on businesses made anyone think Connecticut is now back on track.

In fact, if you want to be thoroughly depressed, read this short little item about poor old, over-taxed, deeply indebted Westchester, because this is exactly where we are headed: Westchester County Loses Triple A Rating.

No, Connecticut is surely continuing its steady trip down the drain, no doubt hastened by Governor-elect Ned Lament, therefore the Greenwich real estate market has ground to a halt…except it hasn’t.

P.S.  8 Willow Lane (seen above) makes an interesting case study: it came on September 18th for what, in my opinion, was a slightly elevated price, but I was sure it would sell for at least $950,000.

Instead, it goes $75,000 over ask, in an apparent bidding war! What’s so good about Willow Lane? It is a quiet little cul-de-sac off Sound Beach Avenue, located just past Old Greenwich Elementary School, walkable to train, beach, stores and restaurants. This house is a modest little bungalow, located at the very end of the street, perfect for pets, children, you-name-it.

And the most amazing fact of all, the contract was signed November 9th, three days past election day. This buyer said, “I don’t care, I STILL want Connecticut!”, to which I say HOORAY!

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Bidding Wars: Who Doesn’t Love ‘Em?

14 Druid Lane, Riverside, 1950’s colonial nicely updated 2006. Asked $2.195M, went to bidding war…            List: Cynthia De Riemer

You (exceedingly patient) long-time readers know that I approve of bidding wars for a number of reasons, first and foremost of which is that they indicate extreme market enthusiasm. Another positive feature is that they create a “spin-off” effect: all the participants who didn’t get the house are now really, really primed to get the next one! They’ve now learned their lesson, that if you really want a house, don’t be hesitant, be bold. Raise your price, drop your contingencies.

Of course, they’re also ticked off and may well blame their broker for losing the house, so the trick for the broker is to hold on to them through the (bidding war) process and then, sell them something else.

So far this year there have been far too few bidding wars (that I’m aware of), but here are two properties that went “several hundred thousand” over their asking price. When they close, I’ll post an update.

17 Welwyn Road, Riverside, very impressive Ken Bacco-built 2006 (w/2017 updating) shingle-style. Asked $4.1M, went to bidding war…   List: Krissy Blake    Sell: Jane Basham

 

P.S. These happen to be Riverside examples, but I’m happy to say, mid-country Greenwich is also selling well lately.

 

 

 

Finally! The Market Heats Up

6 Ford Lane, Old Greenwich, waterfront house w/extra lot, asked $7.5M, one week later, DEAL.
list: Steve Archino
sell: Dena Zarra

Long before the Greenwich MLS publishes reports of deals under contract, there is “scuttlebutt” among us brokers. Are you busy? Are you showing lots of stuff? What happened last weekend, how many people did you take out?

Until very recently, the usual answer was zip, zero, nada, but now, suddenly, I am getting reliable reports of genuine…dare I say it?…busy-ness among my compañeros (at various firms). And it’s not because of this warm weather, the deals I’m hearing about clearly started in the last two weeks.

Here are two very fresh examples: 6 Ford Lane, Old Greenwich waterfront, $7,500,000. 1986 house with some updating, land size .71 acres, which includes an adjacent vacant parcel of .29 acres. Part of the house is in the flood-zone (oh no!), but the first-floor’s at 20 feet, so gimmie a break… if that worries you, you need to undergo years of analysis. Anyway, perpetual market-worrier Archino puts this baby on Feb. 13th and had a done deal in SEVEN DAYS. Hot enough for ya?

Second example:

8 Mayo Avenue, Greenwich, $2,695,000. In the heart of Belle Haven, but….not in Association. Nevertheless, instant deal with multiple bids.
list: Kristy De La Sierra
sell: Blake Delany

8 Mayo Avenue* , Belle Haven section of Greenwich, but not in Belle Haven Association (oh no!),  $2,695,000. Great old 1944 brick colonial, some updating, .57 acres, got a deal in about a week, three bidders!

By the way, that’s .57 acres in the R-1 zone, meaning a paltry FAR of just 3,352 square feet, but wait! FAR was further restricted by the adjacent right-of-way to a rear property. Total FAR, therefore, is a mere 2,780 sq.ft. Did the bidders give a hoot? They did not!

Market heating up. If you’ve been watching some place, waiting for the price to drop again, make your move now.

  • For several years, financier Louis Bacon lived across the street from this one. I’ve always liked that combo, “bacon on mayo”, but no one else found it amusing (interestingly, Bacon moved to Rye, and sold his Mayo house to Mr. Lettice, I swear!)

When “The Market” Speaks, Will You Listen?

9 Sabine Farm Road, off Greenwich’s Round Hill Road, reports a deal. Last sold for $23M in 2004. Present ask $31.5M.

In the case of Greenwich real estate, “the market” is a collection of un-related, wealthy individuals who make independent decisions about what they will pay for a particular property. Human nature can cause those of us who regularly observe this market to accept or reject sales examples based on whether or not they re-enforce existing beliefs. Certain sales, especially high-priced ones, will often be dismissed as “flukes” by know-it-all brokers and bloggers.

A perfect example of this is the recently reported deal at 9 Sabine Farm Road, asking price $31,500,000. Along with the recent sales of 460 North Street ($22M), 116 Oneida Drive ($20.377M), 60 Oneida Drive ($19.250M), not to mention three other deals in the $13M-$15Ms, the skeptics, the know-it-alls, and the nay-sayers find themselves frustrated and confounded:

“Flukes”!, they cry. “Fools and their money”!, they sneer. Yet, those pesky rich people continue to defy expectations. Sorta reminds me of the way Dr. Seuss’s Who people carried on with their Christmas even after the Grinch stole every Christmas-related thing they had.

No one’s denying that wealth is fleeing the high-tax northeast. This week’s Wall Street Journal published a sad little chart showing just how many multi-millionaires have pulled out of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut The three states have lost a combined $19.7 BILLION dollars worth of income producers over the last few years. And there is no reason to think anything will happen soon to reverse this trend.

And yet… here in Greenwich, we continue to have a decent showing in our ultra-high-end market segment. Notwithstanding the mystery of it all, this fact should not cause you frustration! Obviously, for reasons other than wealth-preservation, a small number of very rich people continue to want to live here. That’s good news, bunky, so go ahead, slap on a happy grin!

12 Huge Sales In Last 48 Days

116 Oneida Drive, central Greenwich waterfront. Sold for $15M in 2002, now sells again, this time for $20.337M. List: David Ogilvy  Sell: Brian Milton

Broker Brian Milton has yet again provided the buyer for a mega-expensive property, this time for a David Ogilvy listing that just closed at $20,377,000 (an odd figure that suggests last-minute ‘adjustments”?). That’s a very big commitment to Greenwich and, more significantly, the State of CT, by this buyer, and he wasn’t alone; in just the last 48 days, we’ve seen 12 deals in the $7M+ range.

Today is Sunday, October 8th, so this is the 281st day of 2017. Since the start of the year, we’ve had 25 $7M+ deals in Greenwich. The fact that almost half of those occurred in the last 48 days tells me we are in an up-swing. But why? Doesn’t the news about CT’s Puerto Rico-style financial mis-management continue to be bad? Doesn’t the State continue to be tied to ruinous state-worker-union contract benefits that eat up almost half of the State’s annual revenue? Won’t taxes, therefore, soon be doubled?

Or is there political change coming which will pull us back from the brink? That’s what these presumably savvy wealthy people appear to be betting on. Even Gideon Fountain, noted real estate sage, joined these “betters” recently by buying additional Greenwich property. Oh, the excitement of it all!

Additional examples of recent mega-sales:

460 North Street fetches the nice, round sum of $22M. List: Helene Barre   Sell: Fran Ehrlich

50 Byram Drive, Belle Haven waterfront, a steal at $12.650M. List: Ginger DeSimone   Sell: Shelly Tretter Lynch

24 Hendrie Drive Extension (off OG’s Edgewater Drive) gets $9M even. List: Sheila Goggin   Sell: Carolyn Petersen.

11 Cove Road, OG waterfront, new-construction, gets $6.9M. List: Mark O’Brien   Sell: Gideon Fountain (yay!)

Note to mobile device users: For now, photos on those links above can only be seen using your desktop computer (you do own one of those don’t you? Over there by your land-line phone?). I will continue to pester (those geniuses at) Houlihan Lawrence World-Headquarters to fix this once ‘n for all!

 

 

 

Greenwich Mansions Selling Again

460 North Street, asking $20M, now has pending deal (historians will note that this was Gideon Fountain’s first “big deal”, way back in June, 1997, when it sold for a paltry $4.7M). This time around, it’s Helene Barre, list, Fran Ehrlich sell.

116 Oneida Drive, waterfront off Bruce Park (kinda/sorta) asked $25M, now has pending deal. List: David Ogilvy. Sell: Brian Milton.

If you’re a poor schlub selling Greenwich real estate in, say, the $3M’s, you would have to sell around 7 houses just to reach what brokers Brian Milton and David Ogilvy, Helene Barre and Fran Ehrlich achieved in a single sale! That’s 7 contracts, 7 building inspections, 7 endless discussions about window treatments, in short… 7 months of real estate hell!

But along comes the above named 4 special brokers, and they knock it out in one transaction. Did they tell you in real estate school that things were going to be fair? No, they did not.

Anyway, no matter how ye slice it, padre, these two deals are very big news. Clearly, the State of CT’s diligent efforts to scare away the wealthy are, for the moment, failing. I’m not saying Hartford idiots won’t spit on their collective hands and really buckle down to work doubling taxes and regulations in the coming year, but so far, well, things are muddling along ok.

Note, I did not say things are booming. Truth is, sales volume’s down this year, and there continue to be odd little pockets of slow/or no activity. Certainly no one in the way-back country, well north of the Merritt Parkway, is satisfied with either the number of sales or the sales prices achieved.

And here’s a weird factoid: In 2014, formerly bullet-proof Old Greenwich had a great year in the $6M+ range. A total of 7 properties sold between $6,100,000 and $13,050,000. So what happened the following year? Nothing. Not one Old Greenwich sale reached $6M. 2016? Same thing, not one sale.

2017 went all the way to July before Old Greenwich finally got back above $6M, when two waterfront tear-downs closed in the $6M’s. So what happened? What was so special about 2014 that then turned bad for the next two and one half years? I am interested in your theory.

 

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.