Daily Archives: May 23, 2008

More Market Blues, or, Apples to Apples
1 Brookside Park in Greenwich came on the market in May 2006 asking $4,895,000 and sold in November for $4,250,000. Whether because of buyer’s remorse or a change in circumstances it was returned to the market by the new buyers in February, 2007, for $4,650,000 (nothing having been added or changed), lingered for 408 days and finally sold this past May 12th for $3,800,000. Rumor has it that the owners turned down an offer that would have brought them close to break-even and then ended up sitting on the place for another year. True or not, in this market, it probably pays to keep would-be-buyers talking.

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We’re back!
Just spent time in northern California attending my daughter Kate’s graduation from Humbolt State University. Lots of redwoods, ocean breezes and aging hippies from my generation. Wonderful people, so long as you avoid talking politics, which I did. When I complete my fatherly duties and pay for all my kids’ educations, I may very well retire out there, assuming they’ll accept a Ronald reagan/libertarian – heck, I’m tired of arguing anyway.

State of the market –
Nothing encouraging. 217 Riverside Avenue came on nine months ago for $1,965,000. It closed yesterday for $1,588,000. Now, the owners bought it for a song a long time ago (I believe my daughter Sarah, now 21, was 3 then, and a friend of the owners’ daughter) so no one lost money here, but that’s still a big drop from hoped for to reality. Similarly, 808 North Street, purchased for $11,300,000 in 2000, has been returned to the market and, after a few price reductions,is now asking $11,750,000, 8 years later. We’re in a flat market, folks, or even, God forbid, a declining one. I recently gave a price opinion on a house that I thought should be below $2,000,000, but when I pulled the town tax card, I saw that Greenwich is taxing it as though it’s worth over $2,500,000. Tough to tell an owner that his house is worth half a million less than the town is taxing him, so, coward that I am, I didn’t. But I anticipate a tough sell (and,whether I’m the broker or not, I suspect it will sell for less than $2,000,000).
Column News
I was in negotiations with my former publisher, Greenwich Post, about returning as a paying advertiser, rather than a paid columnist. They wanted far more (5X) what they paid me for my column and, frankly, I couldn’t see why I should invest in what is essentially a dying business. I can pay a smart young college kid I know a fraction of that fee to design and maintain a website, with links, photos, etc, and make this a better column, so that’s what I’ve decided to do. Check back in soon and see what we’ve done.

Simmons Lane
In one of my last printed columns, I mentioned this monstrosity and suggested that it seemed a tad large for the neighborhood. A number of writers told me that I’d understated its size: 35,000 sq.ft above ground, yes, but the Russian owners were also planning an additional 25,000 sq.ft of underground rooms. Considering that these Russians tend to dissappear to Siberia, thanks to Putin, leaving projects half-done, it was gratifying to lean that our P&Z turned the plans down. We’ll see what they come back with, if they come back at all.

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