Where do new houses go when they die?

634 North Street

634 North Street

A reader has expressed surprise that this house on North Street could dream of getting anything close to its asking price of $8.950 million, notwithstanding its easy proximity to the Merritt Parkway and its exits. EZ ON/EZ OFF certainly works for MacDonalds, so why not for (lots of ) sheetrock?

But convenience to transportation doesn’t always suffice for picky Greenwich buyers, and I fear for the future of some of the twenty-one spec houses currently for sale in town at $7.5 million and up. Forty-five Meadow Drive, for instance, enjoys direct tidal waterfront in Belle Haven but also has I-95 as a neighbor in its backyard. The fact that one could hop onto a  trucktop and tour New England, free, so far hasn’t proved enough of a draw to attract a buyer, and the place sits vacant despite dropping its price from $17.9 million to a post-Madoff bargain price of $16.7.

2 Deer Park, 16,000 sf of house on bucolic Lake Avenue also provides an opportunity for car spotting, at all hours, but it won’t sell, even though its builder/seller has violated Mad Monkey’s rule and dropped its price below $1,000 sf. Give the man credit: he tried to move this stone collection at $16,250,000 but couldn’t do it, and has lowered his sights a tad to $14,750,000. It’s possible that Mad Monkey will grant him absolution because of this first attempt or even forgive him entirely because the shoulder of Lake Avenue is not the “truly prime” location that MM has now defined as his area of expertise.

Jordan Saper is moving his house somewhere in the sevens (maybe), but at the rate we’re going this year, these builders are looking at ten years of inventory. We all hope the market will improve a bit within ten years, but if not, the houses may still be around but their prices, and their builders, will not. Hmmm.

19 Comments

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19 responses to “Where do new houses go when they die?

  1. Stanwich

    So if David is the king of over-pricing. Mdme. Lurie is the queen. I actually find this style very nice, I think it is regal and grand, but not sure it fits very well on the off ramp to the Merritt. It needs it’s own space with sweeping lawns, etc. Could you link the listing?

    • christopherfountain

      I would, Stanwich, but it’s just floor plans right now – boring. Of course, if you’re thinking of buying it, dump Herb Ehrlich and give me a call and we’ll tour it together – Herb might give you great service but I’ll toss in a pair of free ear muffs!

  2. Kidding Really??

    I named this house “The Top”…. About as ugly as it gets, terrible location and will sell for half of initial list price. How embarrassing for the builder when he stands in front watching cars drive by with people laughing. Arson looks like a viable plan B.

  3. InfoDiva

    My God–is there a name for that “style”?

    • christopherfountain

      I quoted a real estate agent in my prescient tome, “The New Millionaire’s Handbook” (McMeel Millan, 2000) on this sorry subject who described her builder’s style as “that eclectic look”. Who could disagree?

  4. pulled up in OG

    Shrek and Fiona would feel right at home.

  5. I am surprised that 634 North street has not sold yet. In your opinion, what do you think is a good price for it?

  6. Mad Monkey

    Hold steady boys! Hold that line!

    The bottom fishing scum suckers will return to their sense in due time. By 2012, they’ll be crawling on hands and knees begging to pay $1,000sft. Laugh all you want CF, I’ll have the last laugh.

    There any many sellers out their (builders excluded) who aren’t really in the market but have their homes listed. If they get their price they might sell (same as the Hamptons). They don’t have to sell. I think it’s smart to have many homes listed above market (the more the merrier). This creates a nice frame of reference and provides some artificial support level at the high end range while at the same time providing those sellers who must sell with the opportunity to slightly under price and give the appearance of a deal. In this case, some inventory moves but doesn’t drive down the rest of the market with it.

    The spec houses are another issue. Most builders bought land in less than desirable areas and erected large McMansions that are surrounded by mediocre ranch homes. How retarded. Who the hell would spend $8mm for a mini estate just to be surrounded by a bunch of low income families? I can just see the first barbecue/cookout when friends and family drive up to your new house – arrgggghhhh….the embarrassment!!

  7. Mad Monkey

    CF, nice plug but surely you can get more than $3.50 a pop for this book. No? It’s basically free. Must suck. According to Amazon.com, customers who bought your book also purchased “My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir” by Clarence Thomas. What the fuck?!? Is there something you want to share with us?

    I’m going to order a copy of this book this evening so you can stop shilling for the poor and disenfranchised. Okay?

  8. Stanwich

    Dump Herb? NEVER! We’re practically family. Although I could barely get him to return my calls today….success can can change people so quickly.

    As for this house, why is everyone so negative?? The lot is wrong but in the correct setting the house would be stunning. By the way, does anyone else find her listing descriptions ridiculously over the top?

  9. christopherfountain

    Thanks, MM – while you’re on Amazon, don’t forget to buy a copy of my “Greenwich Mean Time” which tells the story of a mean lawyer who brings a bunch of down-and-out black guys posing as Siwanoy Indians to Tods Point, which they claim and proceed to build a casino on. Lots of fun, even if Clarence Thomas doesn’t make an appearance. Chris Dodd does, though.

  10. Cos Cobber

    Shrek and Fiona…perfect description. I think this home was crafted with a 11 year old girl’s sense of princess fantasy.

  11. Mad Monkey

    Done. Sounds interesting! LOL!.

  12. fred

    Paint it black and it would be home for the Addams Family.

  13. Jane

    Can you give us the prices/addresses of all the spec houses on the market for over $7.5? Dying to do a little drive-by tour.

    Any action on the one at Meadowcroft/Grahampton?

  14. Anonymous

    mad monkey- keep paying your mortgage doesn’t look like you’ll be selling anytime soon

  15. Jane

    Can you please put this back on top tomorrow? I am sure that there are plenty of readers who would like to weigh in/comment on the current state of affairs.

  16. PoeticJustic

    I understand there is a sign going up at 634 North Street in order to make it look and feel like an old money estate for the new money trash that will undoubtedly be attracted to such a house..:.. “Merritt View Manor”.

  17. anonymous

    What’s up with 435 Lake Avenue? It’s not listed any more – did it sell or did the listing expire??