Price It, Sell It
Doug Fainelli’s listing at 25 Shore Acre Drive, which I wrote about last week, had an accepted offer within days. Why did this house sell while yours hasn’t? It was priced right – yours isn’t.
Not a huge amount of activity recently but we have seen some notable houses go to contract; notable because of their high prices. 147 Round Hill, $12,000,000 (Jean Ruggerio found the buyer), 140 Indian Head Road (my brother Gideon’s listing) $6,500,000 15 Stillman Lane, $5,525,000 (Jan Milligan had the buyer), and 67 Club Road (Jan Milligan’s listing, Barbara Cioffari’s buyer) $4,595,000. And, defying conventional wisdom, a beautiful contemporary at 33 Sherwood, priced at $3,750,000, went to contract in twenty-one days. Contemporaries usually take far longer but I suppose in this case, the right buyers showed up early. Cate Keeney found them. So all this is encouraging, but read on for what I consider to be some daunting news on inventory.
Selling it by the Pound
Or by the square foot, actually. I recently looked at the selling price of all twenty-nine new houses that have sold this year and, dividing that price by the square footage, determined what they sold for per square foot. Tossing out the lowest (Byram, $287) and the highest (Round Hill Road, $1,005) I reached an average of $591. I then looked at the sixty-three newly-built houses that have not sold this year and, because I’m lazy, picked thirty-six at random. Again tossing out the lowest (Sawmill Lane, $433) and the highest (Khakum Wood, $1,030 – when it was originally put on the market it was priced at $1,667 per square foot, and its builder was angered when I suggested that that was a stupid price), and calculated an average asking price of $668. Is that enough of a difference to explain why these houses haven’t sold? I don’t know but, if I had a new house to sell, I might want to calculate its price by square foot and, if the result is wildly out of line with the $591 average, either reduce the price or come up with an excellent explanation for why my product is different. Of course, like all statistics, you should take these with a grain of salt. Doug Fainelli’s listing, mentioned above, was priced at $837 per square foot. Ah, Old Greenwich! The most expensive real estate, per square inch, in town.
What a Difference a Day Makes
In running those numbers I stumbled upon one house that, in July, sold for $629 per square foot. The buyer placed it back on the market three months later priced at $670 per foot. That seems a steep premium to pay for the honor of her brief ownership, but ….
Mega Price Tags
Of the sixty-three new houses built this year that haven’t sold, twenty are priced at over $6,000,000, compared to nine in the $5-5,999,999 range, nine in the $4’s, thirteen in the 3’s and six in the $1-2,999 range. If you add in houses that were built in 2004 and remain unsold, the $6,000,000+ total is increased to twenty-three. So just about half of the un-sold, new house inventory is priced above $5,000,000. I wonder if the bankers are nervous?
If you buy property near a noise generator like the Merritt Parkway the time to plant trees, shrubs and the like as a noise barrier is when you buy the place, not twenty years later when you are getting ready to sell. It seems, from viewing a number of houses along highways, that the owners quickly grow used to the noise and ignore it. But buyers aren’t used to it, and an effective wall of shrubbery and mature trees will mitigate that perceived drawback.
What Not to Write in a Listing
While reading the “Sold” catalogue for the past quarter I was struck by one listing that proclaimed, “a house that others will clamor for”. It must have been a very faint clamor, because the house took nearly six months to sell. Oops.
Speaking of Noise
If the state proceeds with its plan to replace the Indian Field Road bridge with a bigger better brighter one, the perfect time to sell your house on that street to an unsuspecting out-of-towner is while the bridge is closed. Without the steady flow of I-95 commuters rushing down the street, Indian Field will appear to be a bucolic country lane. Snicker.
It’s Danielle who is the tireless volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club, not her lazy son Daniel (just kidding, Daniel). Anyway, no thanks to my original mistyping, now you know.