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.

 

 

 

 

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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”.

What A Week!

16 Chimney Corner Lane, Greenwich, just closed at $8.5M. List: David Ogilvy. Sell: Lindsay Sheehy. Note: These links don’t show pictures on your mobile device. I intend to fix this problem tomorrow!

I’ve said it before, we salesmen live for “comps”. If no one’s buying, how do we convince others to buy? This past week provided a bunch (23 total) of fresh comps so we’re all happy. I should also mention, there are reports of bidding-wars breaking out all over, which, though perfectly normal for this time of year, still comes as a bit of a surprise because of the widely perceived “slow market”.

My favorite sale of the week has to be Lindsay Sheehy’s sale of David Ogilvy’s listing at 16 Chimney Corner Lane, for $8,500,000. I like to see big numbers, of course, and this one is way up there in the high-zone, that’s the good news. My only molecule of concern is that, like almost everything else selling in the upper range, it’s waterfront. Does it always have to be waterfront? Is that still the only big stuff selling these days?

Second favorite sale of the week: my own sale, for $5,600,000, of Rob Johnson’s listing at 25 Willowmere Circle, Riverside. And yes, of course it was waterfront.

Next up, Joe Barbieri, with the help of Barbara O’Shea, has unloaded 30 Northway, Old Greenwich, a waterfront tear-down, for $6,250,000.

46 Grahampton Lane, Greenwich, fetched $4,162,500. List: Leslie McElwreath. Sell: Bryan Tunney. Waterfront, did you ask?  Of course!

So the first four are waterfront, but there were six more of note, all non-waterfront, here they are…

33 Hendrie Avenue, Riverside: $2,710,000.

15 Beechcroft Road, Greenwich: $2,326,000 (ask was $2,195,000)

151 Shore Road, Old Greenwich: $2,283,000.

38 Birch Lane, Greenwich: $2,150,000 (ask was $1,995,000)

320 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich: $1,989,000 (mistakenly shows as “rented”)

139 North Street: $1,900,000.

Add thirteen more, priced below that last one above, to make 23 closings in one week? That’s a good week for Greenwich real estate.

 

 

 

Will The High-End Drag Down Everyone Else?

If no one buys this Bugatti Chiron for $2,998,000, will that hurt the sales of $90,000 Mercedes Benzes? Gideon says no.

I was belly-aching about the lack of high-end ($7M+) sales the other day to my friend* Chuck Royce, who certainly knows things, and he said “We lost 300,000 financial jobs and those buyers just aren’t there anymore”.

I won’t argue with the Voice of Royce, certainly the government-caused melt down of the housing industry, followed by the near collapse of the financial sector, took a terrible toll on jobs in the investment business.  But I still think there’s more to this. After all, there are now PLENTY of young couples out there getting into bidding wars over $2M tear-downs, particularly in Riverside and Old Greenwich. It’s one of our busiest segments, and consider the money being spent: they’ll pay anywhere from $2M to $4M+, just for the land, then spend $2M-3M to build the dream house.

Take the folks who just paid $4,325,000 for the right to tear down 206 Shore Road, Old Greenwich: they will be all-in for around $7M when they’re done building. Does that sound like a weak market?

No, what’s going on here besides Royce’s observation of 300,000 eliminated jobs is that young buyers, more than ever, want brand new. That means if you dumped millions into a property 15 years ago, you may not get that money back. Maybe your $12,000,000 house is now only worth $7,000,000, but the buyers are there. Their tastes have changed, but they do exist!

We notice this loss of value most in our extreme high-end properties, but will that erosion inevitably drag all the other prices down? I say no. It’s like the Bugatti example above. Prices in the rarefied categories, whether it be art, property, or automobiles, don’t really have much influence on the rest of us.

 

*You qualify as my “friend” if you can reliably pick me out of a police line-up.