How’s The Market?

9 Manor Road, Old Greenwich closes today at $2,772,500, new street record. Note: non-MLS sale, only one photo available.
List: Allen Vetrosky
Sell: Lindsay Sheehy

2018 is a mere three days old, but there are already signs of a promising market. When you see new street price records being set, that is surely a positive sign, no?

Exactly. I was thrilled, therefore, to see 51 Glen Avon, asking price $15,900,000, get signed up in December. The previous record for Glen Avon/Club Road area was $9,500,000 and this new record price is reportedly in the $15Ms (closes in a few weeks).

51 Glen Avon, Riverside. Asked $15,900,000.

2018 RECORD BREAKERS:

9 Manor Road, Old Greenwich (top picture) just closed at $2,772,500. Previous street record was $1,385,000 !

12 Nimitz Place, Old Greenwich just went to contract. Ask is $2,195,000. Previous record for Nimitz? $1,775,000.

12 Nimitz Place, Old Greenwich. Asked $2.195M (builder paid $812K for tear-down)

Despite all of Connecticut’s problems, people still insist on living here. Say Hallelujah!

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Ogilvy Does It Again!

 

25 Lower Cross Road, Greenwich: mansion, outbuildings, 80 acres; the “jewel” of Conyers Farm.
Last Ask: $29M
Sold: $21M
List: David Ogilvy
Sell: David Ogilvy

Broker David Ogilvy has sold his own listing for $21,000,000. The historians among you will quickly recall he did the same thing with this property in 2004! Back then, in a better market for Greenwich’s “Conyers Farm”, 25 Lower Cross fetched $45,000,000. 13 years later and a loss of a paltry $24M, the deal has been done again.

One of the un-heralded skills of brokering is the ability to get your seller to throw in the towel and just let the property sell. In this case, the seller waited two years, which, in the current market, is the mere blink of an eye. There are presently a dozen or two high-end properties (almost all w-a-a-y back country) passing their 10th year on the market, so I’m impressed with what happened here.

But what else happened here? Why is this spectacular place, which the current owner made even more spectacular during his time of ownership, selling for such an enormous loss? It’s not as though market punishment is being spread evenly. No, Conyers Farm for some reason bears the brunt. Other parts of town, particularly waterfront, but even mid-country, have owners showing handsome profits after 10+ years of ownership. For the nonce, Conyers takes the hit, but I truly believe it will rise again.

2017: What A Year!

Here’s a review of this year’s super high-end sales, so far:

  • 9 Sabine Farm: $25M
  • 460 North Street: $22M
  • 25 Lower Cross Rd: $21M
  • 116 Oneida Drive: $20.377M
  • 60 Oneida Drive: $19.250M
  • 7 Cobb Island Drive: $15.250M
  • 200 Guards Road: $13.5M
  • 6 Meadowcroft Lane: $13.065M

Absolutely amazing.

 

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!

 

 

 

$2,000,000 Over The Asking Price

460 North Street, just closed at $22M. Five owners over twenty years, none did better than this one! List: Helene Barre. Sell: Fran Ehrlich.

As I mentioned earlier, way back in June, 1997, I sold this place for the pocket-change amount of $4,700,000. Besides the 2.5% sell-side commission, listing broker Ogilvy had arranged for a selling bonus of $40,000, so I celebrate that June 16th closing date each year with a fine cigar.

Twenty years, and five owners later, 460 North Street has closed again, this time for the somewhat more impressive price of $22,000,000. The ask was $20M, so was there a bidding war? My guess is no. I think that extra $2M was for furnishings, possibly even a few pieces of art (see photos)?

Each of the previous owners of 460 North Street put their “stamp” on it, lavishing millions in renovations, decorations, and expansions. Some made money, some did not. This most recent owner paid $7,987,250 in 2012, so I suspect money was made this time.

107 Meadow Road: Bargain Of The Century?

107 Meadow Road, Riverside. Started at $6.995M, just closed at $3.7M. List: Monie Sullivan. Sell: Ann Simpson. Note: if the damned Houlihan link doesn’t show photos, try this one, from (the idiots at) Zillow: https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/107-Meadow-Rd,-Riverside,-CT-06878_rb/?fromHomePage=true&shouldFireSellPageImplicitClaimGA=false&fromHomePageTab=buy

A century’s a long time, a lot can happen in a hundred years, but I’m prepared to bestow the title of “Bargain Of The Century” upon this (heavily deed-restricted*) spectacular house and property right now.

107 Meadow  Road, former home of Mrs. Donna Brace Ogilvy, closed this week for $3,700,000. To give you an idea how cheap that is, consider the sale of 70 Meadow Road, a few doors away, which fetched $6,350,000, back in 2012. For that, you got a, um, imposing, classic old Tudor mansion on 2.1 acres in the R-20 zone. Naturally, the Tudor was torn down faster than you can say Jack Robinson, and THREE building lots were created. Each now has a spanking-new mansion sitting on it (one sold last month for $6,2000,000).

70 Meadow Road sold in 2012 for $6.350M. It quickly became three building lots.

Beginning to get the picture? That 2.1-acre parcel yielded three building lots. How many lots could you have carved out of Mrs. Ogilvy’s? With 3.21 acres in the R-20 zone, you’re about an inch short of SEVEN BUILDING LOTS, so, to be conservative, let’s say the Town allowed five lots. Properly configured, all of those lots, measuring around 28,000 sq. ft each, would have had great, high-elevation views of Tod’s Point and Long Island beyond.

So what would five 28,000 square foot lots, with beautiful water views, at the end of hyper-valuable Meadow Road be worth? A bare minimum of $2,500,000 each. Would a builder have paid $12,500,000 for the whole thing? Who knows. But surely $10,000,000 would have been a no-brainer. The difference, therefore, between true market value and the value after Mrs. Ogilvy laid down those restrictive covenants was at least $6,300,000!

When you have bought one of the most impressive properties in Riverside, that includes a classic, high-ceilinged mansion, the inside of which you can improve any way you see fit, and you save yourself $6,300,000 in the process, you have gotten a bargain.

 

* The actual deed restrictions run 7+ pages or so, but here’s the gist of it:

“Only the existing residential dwelling, for single family use and occupancy, with all improvements related thereto, shall be maintained upon the Property…”

And here is the entire list of restrictions, if you feel like plowing through it:

https://gideonfountain.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/meadowrdeasement.pdf

 

 

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.