Driving around in the snow today (my theory about mounting snows on my car keeping storms away let me down, this time) I was struck by the number of new houses still under construction, many of which are spec projects (as an aside, my guide to all things real estate related, Frank Farricker, tells me that those two new houses on the Merritt, one on North Street the other on Riversville, are both owner built. How odd.). I understand that, once you’ve started construction you can’t just stop because market conditions have changed but the last thing we need right now are more new houses on more bad lots and most of these are on bad lots.
So what happens to all these houses no one wants? Some are bound to be bought, eventually, by lucky homeowners who will get something originally priced at $5 million for $1.5 million and live there happily. Others will be tied up in litigation for years as lenders, builders and limited partners duke it out and fight over who should take the loss and some will, I think, never sell. Would you pay $1 million for a house if, as an article I read recently suggested, it was going to cost you $500,000 to heat it and maintain the landscaping? I think not, if you have a $1 million house type of income. And those few remaining rich individuals who are undaunted by that size of bill will insist on, and will be able to get, a house on better land. I think a number of these houses are going down, eventually.