Of all the data the Greenwich Association of Realtors collects, those for “days on market” and “Sales Price to Listing Price ratio” are the most misleading. Not intentionally, of course, but because of how these numbers are calculated. The actual sales price is solid – we are required by the Association rules to accurately report this sum and I’m unaware of any incident of over or under reporting here. But days on market is a figure subject to gaming and a lot of that goes on. If a house is way over-priced and lingers on the market, it is perceived, accurately, as a stale listing and, often inaccurately, as a house to be shunned. So deleting the listing and bringing it back on serves the home seller’s interest, as well as improving the listing broker’s record for how quickly his listings sell. But I can recite many, many instances of houses that sat for years before selling and, when they did, showed up in the statistical calculations as being on the market for just a matter of days, because they’d just been re-listed. Similarly, don’t be mislead by the statistic that shows that the average house sells for 96% of its asking price. That’s actually 96% of the last asking price, which is a self-fulfilling number. A lot of over-priced houses suffer a death by a thousand cuts as their prices are slashed, again and again, until, finally, they find a buyer (whereupon they are hurriedly re-listed and show up as selling after just days on the market, as described above). Of course they sell for 96% of the asking price – but that only reflects that, finally, they found a buyer. Again, I know of many houses that sold for 60%, even 50% of their original asking price and it’s that statistic I’d like to see my Realtor board publish. It would be educational for all of us and might damage a few reputations, which is why it won’t happen.
Riverside Lane Houses
Strazza Construction is building a number (six?) of new houses on the former Finney property next to Hay Day on Riverside Lane. I haven’t been inside them but I’m impressed by their exteriors. The architect has taken the care to reflect, if not mirror exactly, the original Finney house (which is also being renovated) so that the entire complex looks related, in a very nice sense. As nice as the original meadow? Probably not, but I’ve long since abandoned hope for preserving large pieces of land in Riverside and, if they have to be developed, this is not a bad way to go. When I spoke with Mr. Stazza last spring, he told me that he was planning to bring these on in the $2.1- 2.3 million range. If he can stick to that, I think these will be good buys.
Other Developments in Riverside
A reader emailed me to alert me that the Howard Johnson’s motel has been sold to commercial developers. If so, we can probably expect something new going up. I have never joined those residents who oppose every new business on the Post Road – it seems to me that that’s exactly where commercial operations belong – but I do hope our P&Z will be watching this one closely.
If you thought that the week before Christmas was quiet, you’re wrong. Bidding wars broke out all over town. Bramble Lane, asking $1.495 went to sealed bids, as did 4 Park Avenue ($1.195) in Old Greenwich, 1 Grove Lane, in Greenwich, and 33 Club Road ($4.0 million). Of all of these, 33 Club Road, my brother Gideon’s listing, perhaps best illustrates the changes in the market. When Gideon last had the listing (he was the third broker) it sat from June, 1994 until July, 1997, when it finally sold for $1.300. Eight years later, it went for well over $4,000,000. I lost the bidding war, by the way but fortunately learned this in time to exchange Gideon’s intended Christmas present for a big lump of coal.
10 Copper Beech
Lyn Stevens finally came up with a buyer for this great house. Greenwich real estate is a funny business; houses that you’d think should sell in a heartbeat sometimes linger, unwanted while inferior houses go in a flash. This was one of those – it sat for 287 days – and neither I, nor other agents I discussed it with, could understand why. The single story house was near town but far enough off North Street for quiet, on more than two acres of beautiful rolling lawn. I’d have moved into the place as is, but if someone had wanted to update it a bit, that would be justified financially. Anyway, too late now, it’s gone. You missed a good one.