Daily Archives: August 25, 2006

High End Downtown Condos
One can’t drive down Milbank Avenue these days and not notice the huge number of new condominiums going up, all at huge prices. I wonder whether the market is deep enough to support all these projects. Not counting those still under construction and not yet offered for sale, there are twenty-five condos currently offered at $2,495,000 and up. In the history of Greenwich, twenty-eight such units have sold. Total. Now admittedly, this is a relatively new price category so we’re certainly not looking at a lifetime’s supply and as a matter of fact, one of those twenty-eight sales occurred just last week, in a bidding war at that But when I add up all the yet-to-be-completed units, those currently for sale and the thirty-four former Fareri projects on Idar Court and East Elm, I conclude that Mr. Fareri knew exactly what he was doing when he sold out to an investment group. Some famous Wall Street contrarian explained how he got rich by saying, “I bought when others wanted to sell and I bought when others wanted to sell.” Exactly.
38 Parsonage
When this house was built in April, 2002 it was originally priced at $9,950,000. That was a reach, apparently, because it didn’t sell until January, 2004, for $6,650,000. Two years later, the new owners but it back on for that same $9,950,000 and this time they got it, in just thirteen days. Lessons here are two: (a) don’t overprice your house if you want to sell it and (b) we’ve had some significant appreciation in the past two years. It’s not quite apples to apples; the house was improved during that period, but still.

Price it, Sell it
I angered a builder a year or so ago by suggesting that there were other new houses comparable to his that I liked more, at half the price. I’m no genius and the builder has been hugely successful in town so who am I to opine on value? Nonetheless, I thought to check on his progress the other day and discovered that his creation has been marked down almost 50% and remains unsold. Oops.

9 Indian Head
This property, listed by Ginny Hamilton for $2,200,000, currently holds a legally non-conforming two-family house. You could build a new two-family, each unit around 4,500 sq. ft., or build a very large single family on its 0.79 acres. Personally, I’m dubious about the prospects for a two-family in this neighborhood but if you’ve been looking for a large lot in Riverside to accommodate your mansion dreams, this is one of the few remaining.

Best Value in Old Greenwich?
Probably Barbie Jackson’s (Cleveland, Duble & Arnold) listing at 23 Tomac Avenue. It’s a very nice house with not too much of a yard but this is, after all, Old Greenwich. Started in 1988, finished in 1994 (the original builder got a bit over-extended during our last slowdown and took a flyer, so to speak, to Europe) and it needs some freshening up by way of paint, wallpaper and, if you cared to go to the expense, some updated kitchen countertops. I’d skip that last step as unnecessary but your call. The point is that, at $2,325,000, I think it compares favorably with other Old Greenwich houses asking $300,000 – $400,000 more, meaning you could spend away here to your heart’s content and still come out ahead.

And in Riverside
Don’t miss John Cooke’s (Prudential) listing at 23 Willowmere Avenue. This was originally priced (not by John) at $3,595,000 and, not surprisingly, it’s now owned by a relocation company and has been lowered to $2,750,000. I think that’s about right. Its builder went cheap on cosmetics like trim (plain) and interior doors (flimsy plastic) but, while it’s astonishing to think that you could pay this much for the output of a vacuum plastic machine, this location makes an interior upgrade well worth it. Deeded water rights and views, five bedrooms, nice yard, good deal.

Did you see that poll showing that 1/3 of all American adults think that our government brought down the World Trade Center towers? I realize that the same proportion also believes that Elvis is alive and living on Mars but, when coupled with another poll showing that 70% of Americans can identify at least two of Snow White’s seven dwarfs but only 21% two of the nine Supreme Court Justices, 73% all Three Stooges vs. 42% the three branches of government, it makes me wonder about the usefulness of the “get out the vote” campaigns run biannually. Do we really want Larry, Curly and Moe running our government? Then again, would we notice?

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