Is $3.5M Such A Bad Price?

390 Round Hill Road, Greenwich. Started at $5.8M, final ask $4.0M. Sells for $3.5M.
List: Sandy Shaw

Much will be made of the fact that baseball star Bobby Bonilla’s former house on Round Hill Road has today closed at $3,500,000, but really, it’s not such a bad price for a 2003 house in Greenwich’s backcountry, walking distance to the Strain family’s country store.

Mr. & Mrs. Bonilla* paid $1,900,000 for a tear-down on the property way back in 1992, built a new mansion, got divorced, and eventually sold it for $5,000,000 in August, 2011.

Since then, the demand for backcountry has undeniably diminished. There are fewer buyers, certainly, but it is completely inaccurate to say “No one wants to live back there”.

Reduced demand means lower prices, as ol’ Adam Smith would say. Add to that the fact that the house is now 15 years old (well maintained, but not substantially updated) and, by gosh, $3.5M is impressive.  In most towns, that’s a %#@&-load of money!

*Bobby Bonilla fun-fact: The Mets send him a check for $1,193,248 every July 1st, through 2035. Why? Because the owners of the team, the Wilpons, believed that the money they “invested” with Bernie Made-Off would earn them 12% per year until the end of time, so they could easily afford such an extravagant contract. 

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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!)

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!

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!