19 Shannon Lane
Ellen Mosher (Coldwell Banker/Curtis) has just listed this house for $1,395,000. If that’s your price range, hurry over and buy it because I don’t think there’s a better house available. Unprepossessing on the outside, the inside is really nice – tastefully renovated with a lot of useful space. I am not fond of driving Cognewaugh and Shannon is off of that street, but this property directly abuts the Mianus River Park; I’ll trade a little inconvenience for the ability to walk out my backdoor and go hiking. If I owned it I might work on making the exterior a little more interesting but that’s a quibble; this is in move-in condition and, again, a great value for this price.

20 Maher Avenue
One of my favorite in-town streets, this is a very nice family house. It’s an older home updated with a new kitchen/family room, wrap-around porches, six bedrooms and a decent backyard. Lynn Stevens has priced it at $3,250,000, which I think is about right. Of course, what I is irrelevant – the market decides these things, so I’ll be watching with curiosity. Whatever price it fetches, someone will have a great family house on a great street.

Finney Knoll
That’s Riverside Lane to most of us, overlooking Hay Days. Regardless, this new, seven home complex looks like a terrific value. I wrote about its great exterior architecture (by Mark Strazza, brother of the builder, Ralph) a few weeks ago; last week I saw the interior of the first one and was just as impressed. Russ Pruner, principal of the listing broker, Shore & Country, told me that Stazza essential put a $3,000,000 finish into a $1,990,000 house, and it shows. This is a smart move, because the location is not ideal, and you’re going to need some incentive to move in. I don’t believe there’s a house this nice anywhere in town at this price range and, when all seven houses are finished, they will comprise a nice little micro-neighborhood on their own. This particular house is a loss leader, in a way, because the developer intends to raise prices on the others. If you’re in this range of the market, I’d go snap this up.

14 Nawthorne
Lauren Muse’s own house, asking $3,375,000. That’s a fantastic price for this house. So fantastic, in fact, that by the time your read this it is probably already gone in a bidding war. If not, go get it.

The Numbers are Here
Year end sales statistics are out, and they tell an interesting tale. I’m proud to announce that I listed and sold the cheapest house in town last year, 3 West End Court, $475,000 (someone had to do it so I’m glad it was me). I doubt we’ll see another house under $500,000 again. Carolyn Sarsen sold the most expensive, 18 Simmons Lane, for $18,500,000. Hey Carolyn, let’s switch places this year, just for fun! For the full year, almost every category: single family, condo, etc. was up about 11%. Average sales price for single family homes was $2,470,000, median was $1,750,000, compared with 2004’s figures of $2,221,312 and $1,550,000 respectively. Condos, 2005: $812,169 and $675,000; 2004:$733,664 and $606,250. Land didn’t do so well, though. Average was $2,801,625, median was $2,000,000, compared to 2004’s figures of $2,303,573 and $1,945,125.

Of particular interest, perhaps, is to compare the last quarters of the two years, to see where we started and where we ended up. In 2005’s last quarter, 181 single family houses sold with the average and median prices of $2,912,952 and $2,070,000. In 2004, 215 houses sold, at $2,344,949 and $1,495,000. On average (the figure varies wildly from neighborhood to neighborhood), single families sold for 2.16 of their assessment this past quarter, compared to 2.1 in the same quarter in 2004. For the full year of 2005, that same factor was 2.24 this year, 2.09 last.

In 2005’s last quarter, 25 houses sold in the $3 – $4 million range, compared to 19 in 2004. $2 – $3 million, the numbers are identical: 33 in each quarter. Greater than $5 million, 21 this past quarter, 19 in 2004.

So the price appreciation is reassuring; the 15% drop in the number of single families sold (12% drop for the year, 865 vs. 978) is probably not ominous because 2004 saw the largest number of homes sold in town, ever. We’re probably just regressing to the norm, but it’s obvious (or seems to be) that, as the prices increase, fewer families can afford them. I’ll be watching this year’s quarterly reports to see if this trend continues or whether Wall Street continues to generate new young billionaires (bless their little hearts) to take the place of normal folks.

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